Jul. 29th, 2017

rynling: (Ganondorf)

I'm not super into men or dating sims, so I'm probably never actually going to play Dream Daddies, but I really enjoyed reading an essay titled Angels in America and Log Cabin Republicans: How Dream Daddy’s Joseph Reflects Gay Conservatism. The whole thing is good, but the conclusion is gold.

Which brings us back around to the question of when it’s “okay” to write a character who is both part of marginalized identity and also a terrible person. Joseph’s story isn’t just part of a long storytelling tradition examining the ways in which heteronormativity is imposed on queer men; he’s also one character in a cast full of diverse portrayals of queerness. It’s a simple idea that bears repeating: if you have a character who is the only member of a group in your whole story, they are inevitably made to stand for the author’s thoughts on the whole of that group–because it’s the only example we have to go on; tell a story with many members of a group, and their individual traits are tied to who they are as people, rather than their identity.
This is actually somewhat tangential to the point of the essay, which mainly concerns itself with a close reading of a character within the relevant historical context, but I think this conclusion gets to the heart of why I'm so distressed by what I call "Idris Elba tokenism," which is when a work of fiction has its one character with a minority identity be a terrible person, often in ways that reflect negative stereotypes regarding that minority. Although this is obviously a major problem in big-budget popular media, I've noticed that it's also a tendency in the work of Tumblr-based and other independent creators, who feel pressured to represent a certain minority but don't fully understand what that minority identity entails or what "representation" is supposed to achieve in the first place. 

This is also why I want someone to develop a concept like Magic Mummies, because I am so thirsty for diverse representations of older gay girls that it's kind of gross.


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