I sense a theme, Willis
Uh huh. Yeah I’m lost…..for now that is.
Do I have explain this all over again?
Okay, strangely enough now after reading it again, I understand it.
that guy has a goofy eyebrow in panel 3, and @ that much trouble for characters, they should just skim tvtropes
Nothing to do with a certain incredibly annoying poster on the DOA comments, naturally.
Nah, this one has more roots in Twitter. A thing that’s my brain’s been picking at for years, but Twitter stuff focused me.
Are you sure you’re not talking about Duke Nukem Forever? ^_^
Of all arguments, I doubt anyone could narrow this one down to any one annoying poster.
It’s only slightly less common than “okay maybe that person was racist, but in POINTING OUT that racism, aren’t YOU being racist?”
There’s also that lovely argument that blacks can’t be racist against white people, which requires suddenly using the sociological definition of racism (systemic, society wide prejudice) and not the practical one (prejudice based on race).
And then there’s the person who thinks that they’re allowed be be a jerk when they’re speaking out against racism, sexism, or any other -ism, but the people they’re talking to shouldn’t be able to say something similar.
For some reason, there are a lot of these folks on Livejournal.
Who the hell is still on livejournal? Is it the blacks?
That’s why I left Livejournal. They were crawling EVERYWHERE. They couldn’t be reasoned with because of the hivemind mentality was the only right mentality. And it wasn’t fun anymore.
I even got one person who was so offended by my insensitive nature (by stating the above), they kept sending notes to me about how they were going to kill me. ;-;
Yeah, but the NICE thing about Livejournal? You don’t have to go anywhere near where they are. I just choose my friends and communities carefully, and drop any that start showing signs of asshattitude.
Where the hell were you going on LJ? I view my Friends list, and the only drama I see is what they create, a la “I hate my spouse SO MUCH now that s/he stopped putting out so I’ll whine publicly on LJ about it” =p
Granted, I basically skim and my comment:post ratio is rather low.
Words have multiple meanings? “Racism” against the privileged group is different from racism against oppressed groups? No, fuck that shit. Jonn is here to lay down the law.
There are particular differences and implications between the two overall BECAUSE of the past (and hence of course as a white person I am generally more privliged than someone who isn’t) that overall the racism could be seen as less serious- and less embedded in wider society. For instance I was always a bit more likely to get a better education or job (bar the fact I’m not a dude) when it comes to race also our ancestors were of course slave owners and the like and oppressed various minorities whereas others have generally not been in a position to do so and abuse power like this (though of of course white slavery still happens- it’s illegal though but generally it wouldn’t have been any different if say any other race had been in the same position). So overall it’s more serious to be racist to a minority than a white person. There’s no denying that, because of the history.
But an asshole is still an asshole and I will tell them as such if I’m so inclined. Also bigotry is still bigotry no matter who does it.
But is is exactly 100% the same with the same implications? Not exactly.
Or are these guys drunk on the Japanese drink?
So… Shortpacked! is getting another new character? This could be fun.
I dun geddit.
There are people who complain when you make a female character, especially if you add her to a story full of males. Apparently it’s either sexist to balance out genders your story, or you’re ‘not serving the story’ by diversifying your character’s backgrounds.
Or worse, you’re making things ‘unrealistic’ by adding more females where in real life there apparently are usually not.
As a writer, I actually relate to this really well. It can be hard to write certain kinds of characters because you don’t know that you’re representing the group they’re a part of well.
You should put them in your stories, write them poorly, get criticized for it, and learn to write them better.
I like this. Usually the advice I see people given is “if you’re going to get things wrong, you shouldn’t be writing them at all.”
You could also try asking someone who belongs to that group to A) give you some advice on how the character would (re)act and/or B) proof read for you.
I suggest this:
Write all your characters as white men.
After all is said and done, randomly pick roughly half of your main characters and make them female. Change names and pronouns appropriately.
Pick roughly half your characters and make them something other than white. Consider changing names to culturally appropriate ones, but don’t stress too much over it.
Congratulations, you’ve written human beings.
You might be surprised at how well it works.
I should start a web comic with an entirely white male cast. I’ll make it about something stereotypically male dominated, like video game fandom. After I build an audience over time, the characters will all start to make out with each other.
I expect the hate mail to flow like raging rivers…
A: Did you see this crap about the Playstation 4?
B: I assume you will be about to inform me.
A: It won’t support brain implants? What the crap is this crap?
B: Is this a problem? You never got an implant because you were raised as a zombie before the aliens attacked!
A: Yeah, but…
Yes! If I weren’t lazy I would totally actually do this. :p
Star Trek did this for the Deanna-Troi-disguised-as-a-Romulan episode. (The ship commander was written as a male Sean Connery type.)
They cast a woman and didn’t change a single line of dialog. Worked fab.
It’s truly amazing how many people fret over their inability to write the opposite sex or another race “accurately” – by which they mean differently from the way they write their own gender and race – and meanwhile, they’re friends with plenty of totally normal people of different races and genders who would be considered “inaccurate” by their own definition of reality.
But what if they put in a wiseass black chick?
You fool! Black chicks can only come in Sassy flavor!
Not enough. make her a 4’3″ lesbian with aspergers, and we’re getting somewhere.
See, the real trick of tokenism is to stuff as many “minority” traits into the same character as you can, so that way your black-midget-lesbian-deaf-cancer patient with AIDs can go run off in the corner and you can continue to tell your story about how aryan dudes are the BEST.
I would read the crap out of a comic about a badass wiseass 4’3” black lesbian with aspergers.
Yeah, all I’ve heard is a superficial description of a character and I’m already hooked.
Oops, I accidentally a female character.
So, Thirteen then?
a wiseass -bald- black chick.
But then, come ot think of it, the Black Midget Lesbian demographic is sorely underrepresented in fiction.
You had to think about that?
When did I become RHJunior?
“You can’t be president if your father wasn’t American! Elvis di’n do no drugs!”
Use the Hasbro method and make Ethan into a black woman.
How often does Hasbro turn people into black women?
Is that a service they’re offering now? Is there a number I can call?
It’s the perfect gift idea for all your white male friends.
…Everyone wants to be a black woman right? That’s not just me.
Lois Lane was having a yard sale.
This just made me laugh harder than any comment I’ve ever seen on this site. Thank you.
They turned Overdrive into a woman. Er, that’s the best I can do. Unless BlackArachnia’s protoform was originally called WhiteManAnimal.
Heh, actually, Cartoon Network was the entity responsible for wanting Override to be a girl. They wanted more girls.
And you know what? It was fantastic. Override is one of the best female characters Transformers has ever had, mostly because she wasn’t characterized as “the girl.”
It’s a bit of a shame that the only way TF fiction can make a female who isn’t defined by her gender is by taking a man and redubbing it.
I mean, even Beast Wars (glorious, glorious Beast Wars) put both it’s female characters in relationships, because GIRLS need BOYS.
Hmm. Does Sari count?
They only “changed” one into a woman (Dail Tone). The one that is now a black woman is a replacement for Doc (who died), and she’s his neice. She just took up her uncle’s code name. Either way, it’s a standard teeny tiny detail that toy fans latched on to and won’t let go.
Being that she is related to the original Doc, the new female Doc is accepted by G.I. Joe fans. I doubt that anyone would care even if she wasn’t related to the original Doc, since that first character was killed off in the Marvel comics.
Well, it’s more of a G.I. Joe fan joke. Ripcord was turned into a black man for the G.I. Joe movie and Dial Tone was turned into a white woman for the Resolute cartoon, a TRU exclusive pack of movie figures and the IDW comics.
Yeah, but reading Warren Ellis’s blog, he originally never named her Dial Tone. She was just ‘unnamed communications officer’. Cartoon Network, reading the script, noticed she had a lot of lines for a background character and suggested the Dial Tone name for her. (Hmm. Does this count as accidentally a female character?)
Who has flames on her shirt, and therefore can be safely assumed to eat babies and not act anything like the one true Ethan?
The last two lines in the comic make me think of Lando.
I looked at the character designs and thought for a moment that you and Jeph Jacques might be making a comic together. Then I realized that Jeph Jacques saying you can’t haphazardly add tons of female characters to a story is silly.
Haha SO TRUE!
Okay, I mostly get the ‘joke’, but, my question is: WHO the heck are these 2 guys supposed to BE??
They’re these guys.
Uhh, webcomic creators?
One is Steve Napierski, artist for DC. He did Isn’t Standy, a really awesome hacker series. Seriously, his depiction of hacking is brilliant and you should check it out.
The one on the right is writer Dave Lewison, who did this really stupid comic called Longshoved. Do not read it, it sucks.
Can you give a link? I can’t find “Isn’t Standy” anywhere in google
This Steve Napierski?
I assumed movie writers, because I am aware this is how a lot of movies get written these days. Screw story, throw a bunch of characters at the wall and see what set pieces we can build.
I admit that I have added a guy to my story to replace a female because it was an all female cast. Though for some reason, I think this would be more accepted than the other way around lol.
I’m sure there are guys like the two in the comics working on books somewhere, but hopefully not too many. Maybe I’m missing the point but the characters in use at DC and Marvel seem like a pretty diverse lot these days.
Sure the most popular characters are still white guys in their 30′s but at least there is a lot less of the tokenism that we seemed to get in the 70′s and 80′s. There is certainly room for improvement but first they have to address the fact that sales dipped below 100K on even the most popular books.
Hang on, are you saying it’s a good thing that DC have replaced a lot of the ethnic minority characters introduced in the last couple of decades with white guys, because that is less “tokenism”?
Where is the gay guy? If there are 10 characters then 1 should be gay since 10% of people identify themselves as gay. (though more are still closeted, so that percent is likely higher)
And where is the chubby/obese guy for comic relief. It’s always funny to see a fat guy fall down.
I’m assuming this doesn’t pass the reverse Bechedel test, though in actuality they aren’t exactly talking about a certain lady. And that last panel kind of saves it. KIND OF.
In the technical sense of sexism as gender prejudice, creating a character whose initial brief is “To Be Female” is sexism. Even if she grows into a multifaceted, fully-realised complex person who has conversations with other women about things that are not men, there’s that initial predetermination that she should be female.
I never said it was bad sexism, I was more arguing semantics than intent.
And yes, creating a wise-ass just to have a wise-ass would be wise-ass-ism. (Or, well, attitudism. Personalityism. Something like that.)
And, yes, I’ve worried about adding certain characters to the cast of my own comic because I was aware that I added them in the name of diversity. The danger is that you don’t evolve them beyond that initial point of creation, or – since you only added them to fill a quota, rather than a narrative requirement – you have no real idea what to do with them and they just fade into the background. I’m constantly second-guessing my own motivations for building characters. But then, Willis is a better writer than me.
So what you’re demanding is that every new character has to spring fully-formed from your brain, with all virtues and vices and backstory and hair color and pet peeves, fully grown from Thought One, or else they are forever and ever doomed to being nothing more than the initial trait that spawned the character, regardless of any secondary traits that fleshed out the character subsequently.
If that amazing scenario were true, then claims of sexism and/or wise-assism are pretty damn meaningless. And so then who cares? Don’t worry about it, since all characters ever in the history of fiction are Forever Marked from their conception anyhow.
Sorry, did I make a demand? I didn’t mean to, I’m just talking about the definition of a word.
To expand on my statement above – “I never said it was bad sexism” – IMO it’s only bad sexism if she never grows beyond the initial “let’s add a girl” concept, and becomes “The Smurfette”. It’s not something I’ve ever seen in any of your characters, and I don’t think there’s any danger of it happening any time soon, as you’re too good of a writer for that. It’s the difference between diversity and tokenism. Maybe a better phrase would be “sex discrimination” – in particular, positive discrimination – as “sexism” is an emotionally-charged word with negative connotations. On a purely technical level, though, it’s accurate.
But wouldn’t it be so much better if every female character were Athena?
The thing is, why are you arguing semantics? What purpose does it serve?
Semantics are language. Without meaning, words have no purpose.
And, at the risk of belabouring the point, I’m using “argue” here to mean “rational discussion” rather than “raised voices”.
Yeah, but you haven’t really added anything to the discussion. You might as well have posted ‘Most people think they have five fingers on each hand, but technically they only have four.’
I guess all I’m doing is laying out my perception of the issue – if it sounds like self-evident truths to you, then that suggests your perception of the issue is somewhat in line with mine. I can see that not everyone would agree with labelling gender diversity as sexism (because of he aforementioned negative connotations of the word), I’m just trying to defend my original stance of, “Well, technically it is,” while simultaneously explaining that wasn’t meant as an attack or an insult. Just a comment on the meaning of words.
“creating a character whose initial brief is “To Be Female” is sexism.”
No, that’s called “bad writing”
Yeah, you’re at a comic where a character LITERALLY exists because another character needed a Lesbian. And who has become an integral and multifaceted part of the cast.
This topics is actually more difficult than the way you portrait it.
The reason why there is this implicit rule of “not forcing a token character into a series” is because there are A LOT of shallow token character in many media.
It’s common sense suggesting people that they should first stablish a character as a whole, and avoid creating him/her just for the sake of being “the black guy”, “the chick” or “the blond guy”.
Of course, since common sense is no that common, there are people who just don’t get what this suggestion is about, and take it extremelly literal.
Sure you shouldn’t just create token people, but dropping to the basics of how to describe someone is gender, race, age, body type. Our brains are hardwired to categorize the people we see. Girl, guy, old lady, japanese girl, black guy, douchey white dude, etc. As a visual artist, I recognize the power of the first impression based on sight. It comes off very amateurish to make a person act completely opposite of how they choose portray themselves on a day to day basis.
The danger of tokenism is that how often do you really see a perfectly diverse group of people hanging out? It makes sense in workplaces and classrooms because they aren’t a collection of friends but people who gathered at the same place from other backgrounds. Superheros, cop dramas, fantasy, blah blah blah… all fine. A group of friends hanging out together going on and on about some niche pop culture topic? I’ve had many friends through the years but at no point did I have a “Glee” cast of regulars in my circle. I didn’t NOT become friends with someone just because on the most basic levels we were the same. Oh sorry, white guy my age, but I’m really looking for a Japanese girl to fill the hyperactive otaku role in my collective here.
Basically, don’t do it just to do it. Let it grow naturally or else you are forcing it.
Yeah, that is really the problem with tokenism. There is no reason to have a wise-ass in a group of serious individuals; it is diverse, sure, but it makes no sense. They wouldn’t get along, why would they be together?
Racial diversity also doesn’t necessarily make sense. If a particular group is a minority, they are statistically less likely to meet and form friendships with any given individual. Therefore, a group that consists of every possible racial group in a given location is highly unlikely. Especially without duplicates. The odds of one white male making friends with an evenly divided group of men and women, with one member each who are black, Hispanic, native, east Asian, middle eastern, etc, is ridiculous. Under what odd circumstances did that occur?
In a population that is mostly white, the odds of any given group of people that is sufficiently random (friends are close enough; common interests are not a racial trait) being mostly white is very high.
Having a story about a group of all white individuals is less racist, in my perspective, than one of a tremendously unlikely mix of races that seems only to represent all ethnicities.
The problem I have with that argument is that questions of realism seem redundant when you’re talking about, say, Power Rangers. Or Justice League. Or hell, even House.
The other problem is that I have, in my life, had diverse groups of friends.
The other other problem is that I really like watching stories about people with unusual-at-first-glance friendships.
So YOU are the reason they keep making those buddy cop movies!
AND buddy cop shows. I apologise only for the movies.
Statistically less likely how do you mean? What stats are you using? Depending on what the show/comic/whatever is about, they could be extremely likely to meet. In many areas of America, the chance that you WON’T ever come into contact with a non-white person is very close to zero. And the justification for meeting the new person is pretty easy to work into your story. If the story is about a workplace, that person gets hired. If it’s about a superhero or adventurer team, that person has the required trait or skillset that would make them useful. etc etc
South Park made fun of tokenism best when they named their only black kid “Token Black”.
“I didn’t NOT become friends with someone just because on the most basic levels we were the same. Oh sorry, white guy my age, but I’m really looking for a Japanese girl to fill the hyperactive otaku role in my collective here.”
I’m assuming you wouldn’t NOT become friends with a Japanese girl with whom you had stuff in common, so that doesn’t work at all.
I’d really like to hear more about this “danger of tokenism.” What is the danger, exactly, in not having an all-white, male cast just because we choose not to? Can you tell me what that harms? Who is threatened? What do we lose?
From what I can see, we have two choices. We make groups perhaps a bit to earnestly multi-ethnic, multi-gender and multi-sexual, or we only have groups of straight white men.
While the former might not be as ideal as writing people as proper characters, it’s still better than the latter and doing a “Midsummer Murders” (topical British TV reference!)
Tokenism has it’s place in a few things like Star Trek red shirts and random people killed in slayer stories. Do I realy need the SS# and birth certificate of the 5 year old girl ate by a passing vampire? I am worried about Conquest becoming a ‘Smurfette’ with her only charactor issue so far being her father expecting her to sleep with things to get pregnant.
A “Smurfette” is when there’s usually only one female in a series, who’s “the girl,” who’s often just a feminized version of a male character.
I am pretty damn sure Conquest isn’t a Smurfette.
Sorry. Was going with what I thought andy’s version was. I ment a charactor added with only one plot goal then assigned a sex. With Galasso’s ignorance you could have pulled same jokes with a son if it were not for your story line involving Ethan’s issues on being gay. That kept her from being token female in IMO but she has fallen into another token slot i’m afraid. You managed to give Joe meaning beyond being a horn dog; is this a possablity for Conquest too?
I still don’t think you know what words mean. Conquest can’t be “the token female” when there’s already several other girls. Furthermore, I wouldn’t have to justify her being a girl because *half of the people on the planet are women.*
I was mostly talking about regular cast members, rather than background extras or collateral damage. Though, sure, equal opportunities for neck erupture victims, yay.
i recall this strip! i made a grammar correction to it in june of 2012! good times.
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