Mar. 14th, 2012

  • 10:45 AM
la_vie_noire: (kashira kashira)
Postcolonials Read Comics (And We’re Pissed).

Gail Simone depicted Singapore in Birds of Prey as a crime-riddled, totalitarian state inhabited by decadent drug lords. That’s not as bad as Marvel’s Principality of Madripoor, a parallel Singapore of authoritarianism and corruption eventually salvated by neo-colonial occupation; but that’s still better than in The Authority, where the fictional PRC destroyed the fictional Singapore in a secret nuclear attack.

Another interesting relationship between Singapore and superheroes: Ng Chin Han played the villainous Hong Kong accountant Lau in The Dark Knight.

[...] I want to see a Singaporean superhero genre that can amply offer critique on issues like race and gender politics in Singapore without relying on orientalist tropes or orientalised narratives of Asian political authority. [...] Asian political systems are either failed states or dictatorships, because the Orientals cannot be trusted to govern themselves. – A sign of how deeply we have internalised this discourse is evident in even homegrown criticism of the political system. I trust we can analyse and critique without resorting to such imagery, such portrayals.

Singaporean superheroes? I’ve been dreaming of this for years. If we postcolonials could take steampunk – with its intrinsic Victoriana – and subvert it, can we do the same for the superhero genre?

I could talk about the depiction of every non-western/developing nation in western comics. But I wouldn't end.

Jun. 29th, 2011

  • 12:43 AM
la_vie_noire: (Claymore2 dagger)
Via [personal profile] delux_vivens: A Game of Fail.

The books had a lot of things wrong, but the way the series did it was UBER race fail.

Spoilers here )

Oh man. I'm so in love with this

  • Jun. 4th, 2011 at 9:04 PM
la_vie_noire: (Boscoe Holder)
Via [personal profile] the_future_modernes: Deconstructing Pointy-Eared White Supremacists. There is a reason why I will never touch Tolkien and generally (not always, there are exceptions) stay away from Medieval-like high fantasy.

Another thing elves like to do is that they have a low birthrate, are fiercely jealous of humans for being able to drop litters, and when humans get too many they will sail away to the west, weeping tears of severe butthurt all the way in their pearly swan-boats. You ever heard a particular breed of white folks lamenting how awful it is that all the black people and the Chinese and Hispanics are spawning like bunnies, and that white people are increasingly an endangered species? You ever seen a white family get spooked when their neighborhood becomes just a little colorful, so they move to an all-white suburban area where they can continue to send their kids to school full of other middle-class white kids, attend parent meetings where they’ll never ever be threatened by the sight of someone who isn’t the hue of frog bellies?


So, what we have are essentially white supremacists, except in fantasy their racism is directed at white humans and white dwarves, rendering any deconstruction or criticism of elves’ attitude ultimately pointless.

But sometimes the table is turned. Elves are subjected to racism. Which brings us to an altogether different, but no less asinine, kind of fail.

Elves: A Vehicle for Appropriating POC Experiences

Let’s talk about Lynn Flewelling. For context, Alec is an elf and Yhakobin is a Plenimaran.


What are Plenimarans? They’re like this: dark-skinned, scimitar-wielding, woman-oppressing. Plenimaran women are veiled, require chaperons when going out, and are expected to commit suicide to preserve their husbands’ honor. Throughout Flewelling’s books Plenimarans and Zengati (also brown-skinned) are every single one of them evil: they deal in necromancy, slavery, and most of all they deal in enslaving elves. Alec, during his experience in a Plenimaran household, is subjected to beatings, being kept in chains, threatened with gelding, used as a breeding apparatus; he witnesses other elves being castrated, worked to death, raped, and brutally flogged. Elves are shipped en masse, in chains, cramped into small cabins across the sea to be sold to Plenimarans.

Sounds familiar? I’m sure you will be shocked, just shocked, to learn that Flewelling’s elves are white too!


Jun. 26th, 2010

  • 1:59 AM
la_vie_noire: (Stop with the idiocy)
[ profile] riko writes: excuse me as i'm serious for a moment. (SPOILERS FOR SERIES LIKE HOUSE, SPN, GLEE.)

2) Persons with disabilities are not less because they have disabilities. [...] Repeat after me: Different is not less. Different is not less. Individuals with disabilities may have impairments or restrictions but that does not take away from their full personhood.

3) Persons with disabilities are not tragic, heroic martyrs. They’re people. Unfortunately, in fiction, that's rarely what they're portrayed as. Disability is often used as a narrative tool that's one step away from fridging, meant to convey a lesson, a warning, or a source of inspiration, and it's made worse because usually the message is directed at the able characters in the narrative. [...] A person's life is not a teaching moment for someone else, and pity and charity are the wrong response because, once again, different is not less.

4) The life of a person with disabilities is not tragically unfulfilled because they have a disability. This is a more contentious issue within the disability rights community, which I won't get into unless prompted because it's sort of tangential. But suffice to say that many, many, many people with disabilities do not spend their time dreaming about how grand life would be if they were just "fixed." And yet isn't that the story of just about every single character with a disability on TV at the moment? [...] Different is not less. Disability is not a problem until society makes it one. Learn these lessons, fandom and TV and society. The story of a character with a disability is not how much it sucks to have a disability and how great life is for able people. That's only what able people think it is.

5) For the love of god, just stop removing the agency of people with disabilities, okay? It's not cute or dramatic or touching when the choices of people with disabilities are removed, especially when they are removed by able people who are acting in "their best interest." [...]

6) And with all that said, disabilities are also not things to be picked up and then put down again when it stops being narratively convenient.

Able-bodied people, before crying or complaining when a previously able-bodied character becomes disabled; before saying it would be the worst thing that could happen to them, that you would hate it blahblah!! think that you are devaluating real people's lives, you are saying they are something to be dreaded. Yeah, I know it's such a shock to you that isn't the case.

That, and disabled people don't get the representation you get. So shut up.
la_vie_noire: (Juri-flirt)
[ profile] rawles writes, a quick note

Along this same vein, deciding that you can defeat the misogyny of the source material/relationships in the source material by removing the women and replacing them with/focusing entirely dudes similarly reeks of bullshit. Because obviously the feminist way to deal with a misogynistic narrative is not to balance out relationships or illuminate and explore the female characters, but to ignore them! Riiiight.

The erasure of female characters from a narrative is never feminist. Period. The end.

Dude, seriously. Seriously. Not only that, there is also this shit with bashing female characters claiming they are so "unfeminist and problematic" and then going all starry-eyed and writing about whatever the awesome shit the guys are doing.

(But the "peen" part in that post made me cringe. Cis people, stop with the genitalia thing.)
la_vie_noire: (Anthy flower)
Oh God. I want to marry this post. It's amazing how it really really really really talks about the situations of developing countries. I was so going, "OMG yes!" while reading it. It's a post about a complex socioeconomic situation as well as it is about fiction:

[personal profile] ephemere, No country for strangers

First things first: specific points, based on the aforementioned perspective. Charles Tan talks about the "small but growing awareness of the literature of other cultures" as a "liberty that occurred only because of humanity's continued struggle for 'enlightenment'". I find this exceedingly ironic when taken in light of the past history of the Philippines and of the present state of education in the country. I was very aware of the literary classics of other cultures when I was growing up, and I don't doubt this applies to many members of my generation who had access to the same educational resources I did. Most of my books as a child were simplified versions of books by authors such as Dumas, Stevenson, Alcott, Carroll, and others. In high school we were required to make ourselves familiar with Shakespeare, Hugo, Poe, Marlowe, Steinbeck, etc; our school's reading room was dominated by British, French, and American writers. We were supposed to know the figures of speech and the literary conventions used by these writers -- so where does "small but growing" come from? We, of the upper and middle classes, who had the means to access "superior" educational materials, were immersed in this from childhood. This is not an expression of unalloyed liberty to progress further toward 'enlightenment'. It is part of an educational system that was to a large extent instituted during the American occupation, whose so-called benevolent rule has not been fully extricated from either the public consciousness or our political decisions up to this very day. It is an outgrowth of a dominance that may have been thought to have eased when we were 'granted' our independence, but has in fact never disappeared, only become more subtle in its influence on our psyches.


I also find the parenthetical remark regarding migration to the U.S. as "typically a dream" rather problematic. It is true that many Filipinos migrate to other countries, among them the U.S., for various reasons. However. These patterns are not confined to "poverty-stricken" Filipinos (many of whom are not so much struck with it as trapped in a system that encourages sick, downspiraling cycles of negative feedback from which it is excruciatingly difficult to escape). And to say that migration is a dream, even for these people, is to denigrate, with a casual, offhand remark, the human cost -- in terms of separation from family members and loved ones who can't migrate; in terms of leaving behind all one has ever known; in terms of starting over with very little; in terms, even, of not wanting to leave, except that staying has become untenable and thus going seems like the choice that will offer a better standard of living -- associated with migration. It is to trivialize the weight of the choice. Even with how difficult life is here, especially for the poor classes, leaving is not costless, it is not always a dream, and to typify it as one is insulting both to those who have gone and borne the cost of going and those who have stayed and borne the cost of staying. What is typically a dream? Living a better life. And that is not, by default, going to the U.S.

YES. Make "U.S.," Spain or another European country and you have my country.

In the case of the Philippines as it's portrayed in work written by non-Filipinos, assumptions do dominate and skew these portrayals. It isn't a rare occurrence, and the assumption isn't always so obvious as to be instantly identifiable. One assumption I find particularly galling is the idea that if something works in more developed countries such as the U.S., it should work here, too; thus an array of well-meaning foreigners touting ideas about freedom and justice and showing that if only one person is brave enough to speak out against the system, change will happen. Look, I don't doubt that speaking out is important. I don't want to diminish, in any way, the significance of courage in a society such as this. But you have to consider that the institutions here are very different from those commonly found in more developed countries. The rule of law, the democratic process, the essential functions of government -- these are broken in ways that it is very difficult to communicate to people from developed countries, because they assume that certain defaults apply.


I will not say: no foreigners allowed. That is a rather horrible thing to say considering an overwhelming tendency here to welcome foreigners with open arms and bend over backwards for them, at the cost of discriminating against our fellow Filipinos. It is a statement that assumes we have the power to say such a thing and enforce such a rule when we, well, don't. "No foreigners allowed" is a fantasy -- a short-sighted, narrow-minded, twisted fantasy, but a fantasy nonetheless.

Instead I will say: this is no country for strangers. This is not a people that can be known by observation alone, without the risk of actual engagement. This is no land where you can set yourself apart and then delude yourself with claims that comprehension naturally comes with high-minded goals and noble intentions to enlighten a system whose only fundamental flaw is ignorance of your ways. This is not a place that needs more foreigners coming in to visit, then taking away with them their misconceptions and their privileged judgments -- because we have been misrepresented enough, not just in the international community but also amongst ourselves, and false categorizations and claims about who we are and where we came from and where we should go are unneeded and shouldn't be welcomed.


So (and I address this now to the theoretical audience of those on the other, privileged end of the inequality) if you, as a white person, are afraid of writing about us: then be afraid. Carry in your heart the fear of doing further injustice to a people into whose blood oppression has become so incorporated that our institutions and our media echo with the dual strains of self-loathing and adulation for those who are not us.

Dear God. I just... love it. So much.
la_vie_noire: (Anthy flower)
Willow writes: Not Your Cabana Girl.

Watching television I've come across a code I hadn't really parsed before "They were so WARM & WELCOMING". It's a phrase I hear being used by whites, predominantly white USians, to describe the non-white individuals and how they were treated when they vacationed/honeymooned in a particular place. Given what I've been watching, it's usually them describing why they want to go back, or buy a house there, etc.

But I find myself thinking that 'WARM & WELCOMING' is code. Because it doesn't seem to occur to these individuals that being 'WARM & WELCOMING' to tourists is a JOB. Sometimes it's part of a specific job description as with hotel staff. But sometimes it's a national job description, wherein the job is being a native who's aware of what contributes to the country's GNP.


Charles Tan is essentially saying (and do note I've already made it clear I think he lacks reading comprehension and the ability and resources to be part of conversations I want to have) that people aren't being 'WARM & WELCOMING'toward white writers who make the decision (and effort) to write about something other than cultures that have been embraced as being white (Euro-Celtic-Med Cultures).

Apparently white writers who write about something other than these 'embraced as white 'cultures, should not be criticized, evaluated, analysed and told when they didn't reach the bar. Because they're taking a vacation in that culture and handing out large tips so they have a righteous expectation that reactions be 'WARM & WELCOMING'.
la_vie_noire: (Stop with the idiocy)
Uppity Brown Woman: My mother did not have a choice in having me

As my mother explained to me, I felt a familiar sadness inside of me. She told me that she eventually decided she couldn’t go through with it because it would be too big of a shame on her, and she didn’t want to commit a sin, even though giving birth meant gambling with financial ruin. She had internalized the shaming of women who had abortions that it impeded her own decision-making process. Certainly, she wasn’t forcefully coerced into having an abortion (or coerced out of having one), which I find dominates discussions about abortions, and for good reason. But, the culture of shaming matters too. I don’t want to live in a world like this. If it did not break several laws of the universe, I wish I could have been there to support my mother, comfort her, and tell her that whatever decision she made, to terminate or not to terminate, had to be made for what was best for her, not for what other people thought of her.

Often, you see anti-choicers relaying stories from ‘abortion survivors’, or those whose mothers made the decision to not abort (therefore everyone should). Do they want to hear my story? Unlikely. They don’t want to accept that they forgot about my rights after I was born. Every day, I have to live with the fact that my mother felt shamed out of getting an abortion. This was not a choice. The option was there for her, but she did not take it, even though she wanted to, because of the rhetoric and stigma surrounding abortion – sinful, devilish, shameful. While she says now that she doesn’t regret having me, I cannot be anything but pro-choice. I do not take pride in being the product of a forced pregnancy.


In other issues, wonderful Deepa as always: An Open Letter to Charles Tan

But transcultural traffic is hardly such an egalitarian affair. You say: "That there is a small but growing awareness of the literature of other cultures is, in my opinion, a liberty that only occurred because of humanity's continued struggle for "enlightenment" but this flies in the face of a vast body of historical evidence that cultural currency has been a tool of capitalist trade and colonial enterprise. Furthermore, by whose standards are you defining awareness of such literature "small"? There are many Indians who will tell you about Rustam and Sohrab, about Laila and Majnu--stories not actually from our subcontinent. And as Fatemeh Keshavarz points out, Iran has a long history of translating books into Persian.

[...] I do not understand how you can consider writers to be a proletariat worthy of defending against the elite excesses of their readers. Racefail was primarily about the impact of books on readers and how we saw the world, whether we aspired to write ourselves or not. Critiquing a book's faults because we find it hurtful, offensive, unresearched or otherwise lacking in craftsmanship is something we do in our free time, without payment, out of a sense of community with others who may have struggled against the same issues. To demand that such criticism place the needs of supporting authors above our own needs as readers devalues us.

One last thing - you say in the beginning of your essay that ethnocentrism is "a flaw that a lot of cultures fall prey to (Germany being the primary culprit during World War II)".

I strongly urge you to reconsider this statement. Germany was certainly not the primary culprit of ethnocentrism during World War II, given the glorification of the British Empire and the neo-colonial national pride of the U.S., or indeed, any of the ethnocentric strains within the patriotic anti-colonial movements in large swathes of Asia and Africa. If Germany is to be accused of being the primary culprit of practising anything, it is Anti-Semitism and genocide on an industrialised scale never seen before, though both have happened before and since in many other nations and cultures.

Okay, I blame my reading list for this

  • Apr. 7th, 2010 at 12:16 PM
la_vie_noire: (Clare-killing)
Snarp just talked about this shit here, so I was about to let it go, but then just it popped out again on google when I was looking for "anime news" (yeah, I was looking about Reborn, shut up).

So the fuck, have a piece of privielged white Japanese American man saying that race doesn't matter because who cares if racism exists in the West, and POC are under and badly represented! And you know Japan SO makes manga for white people to appropriate have someone who looks like them.

ETA: First I linked to the wrong article because I can't find it on google anymore. I swear I just read the same shit on other place just now. Or it may be my lack of sleep. Whatever, have to go now.

Heh, it wasn't headdesk-worthy this time

  • Mar. 28th, 2010 at 3:25 PM
la_vie_noire: (leyendo)
[ profile] isiscaughey speaks some truths in Only Men Are Allowed To Be Perfect.

You know, I'm disturbed by how often the male characters who treat people (especially women) like crap are the fandom darlings. They become the woobie who can do no wrong, because he's deep, he has layers, he's had bad things happen to him, he's misunderstood (especially by all those evil female characters). They often have huge communities devoted to them and metric tons of fic describing how wonderful and perfect they are. I'm not trying to criticize people for loving the characters they love. We all have our preferences, and deeply complex characters are interesting, and often feel more real.

What's really bothering me here are the gender politics that go on in fandom, and the double standard between the way female characters are treated versus male characters.

Let's take Tony DiNozzo from NCIS. Yes, I like him too. He is a complex character, he's had some wonderful moments of heroism, and he has struggled with some tough times in his life. But let's be honest: he's rude, he's dismissive, he bullies people, he objectifies women constantly, and he also tends to blame women ("it's always the wife "). Before anyone jumps in to accuse me of misunderstanding poor Tony, let's take a step back and deconstruct things a bit.

Take some time and really, truly, and honestly think about this: if Tony was instead a woman, let's say Tonia, what would you think about her? When she constantly objectified men while simultaneously dismissing and blaming them, how would you feel? When she bullied, belittled, and tormented Tim, would it seem just as funny (because, after all, she really does love Tim like a brother, right)?

Well, it mostly takes into account white cis women vs white cis men (or racially privileged characters inside the show in question), I have to admit the Rose Tyler example made me twitch because all the people I know who dislike Rose do so due to the contrast/opposition the show and the fandom made with Martha. But I admit it, this is due to my circle, I don't doubt Rose is victim to misogyny (comparing her to the Doctor, for example) inside the fandom. (Heck, it's not like I haven't seen it happen in hundreds of other fandoms, the woman who is called a Mary Sue. Analogous male characters? Extremely popular).

The OP also said:

But what does it matter if we bash female characters? They're only fictional, after all. I'll just say this- I don't think it's a good idea to spend a lot of time disparaging and despising women, even if they aren't real, as that's the sort of thing that can become a habit.

And it's a lot more than that. Since the she already made a point how people will perceive a character differently (and will be portrayed differently) due to gender, I think it's pretty safe to say that the "hating women, loving men" reflects (and feedbacks) into gender perceptions. Yeah, gender, race, ability, sexual orientation, in our society those things aren't overlooked. No matter how much "those things don't matter to you," oh special snowflake, they have an impact.

PS: Gente del chan! Ayer mi internet murió. Como que toda la noche! ;;

I just had to quote this

  • Feb. 26th, 2010 at 3:01 AM
la_vie_noire: (Clare-killing)
You see, James Cameron was being an asshat, as always, yadda, yadda, so he openly had to come out and say what he thinks of (yeah, even white) women and non-white people in general.

The good thing is that I can quote this comment by yeloson

"Because this is a movie for human people."

It's always interesting how the fact that how real people consume and interpret media only matters when it comes to CG titties and not so much when people talk about the native tropes w/o the natives - then suddenly media exists in a magical parallel dimension free of human interpretation in creation, delivery or interpretation.

It just describes my fandom life. Pretty accurately.

Feb. 3rd, 2010

  • 6:29 PM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
Things aren't looking great for me, but I'm going to take that exam no matter what. Meanwhile I had to post this because Questioning Transphobia has a fucking amazing post:

Intent! It’s Fucking Magic!

See, the great thing about this thaumaturgy is that it protects anything a privileged asshole says! So it fits in line completely with that glorious sense of entitlement that privilege tends to confer, basically, the idea that you can say anything you want and should never have accountability for what you say! Because you see, all privileged people have this ancient eldritch power called “Intent”. In fact, intent is one of the primary elements of the world (see figure 1). Like fire, water, wood, metal, air and earth, Intent helps make up an important part of the very existence of the universe. So when you invoke its ancient might, its tendrils of ephemeral power shift in the very fabric of the ‘verse, creating a magic so powerful that you can manipulate thousands upon thousands of threads of fate, just to protect the person you just said or did something supremely privileged and horrible to.


Intent is so unbelievably epic that it doesn’t just cover slurs. No, it covers actions as well! Because you see, the very threads of fate are not immune to this otherworldly flow of what you meant to do or say. So if you kick a trans woman out of a homeless shelter into the cold because she didn’t fit your views of what a woman should be and she didn’t want to be put in with the menz (where she faces a risk of rape and murder for her, or at least harassment), your Intent literally changes the tapestry of fate so that instead of freezing to death in the cold, she actually is heated by an unexpected fire, lit by a lightning strike from clear skies, onto a pile of garbage that can’t spread the fire to anything else, right next to where she just happened to fall in exhaustion! I know! Isn’t it awesome?!

Intent is a power that you only have if you believe in it. Because so many marginalized people don’t believe in the power of intent when it comes to their/our marginalizations, few of us are able to call on its supernatural strength. Some rare marginalized folk are able to, but only in given situations and generally only in relation to themselves.


Because you see, Intent is the ultimate alchemy. It doesn’t change lead to gold, it changes harmful, negative or damaging actions into happy, fun, “everyone hugs and no one is oppressed”, magical unicorn actions. It dips its eerie powers into the pools of time and space and counters each and every ripple of fuckery and pain created by the actions of an unthinking douchebag who was too privileged or self absorbed to see that their actions were a problem.

And because [personal profile] parlance made me remember it:

Deepa's I Didn’t Dream of Dragons has been nomitated Best Non-Fiction at the British Science Fiction Association 2009 Awards. Hal Duncan withdrawn in favor to her piece. You go girl, congratulations and, really, so deserve to win.

Nov. 16th, 2009

  • 7:36 PM
la_vie_noire: (Michiko sticking tongue)
Wow. Primero, lo mejor: la grandiosa [ profile] fujurpreux tradujo al español el discurso del video de Chimamanda Adichie. *___*

Well, my exam went.. hm.

Anyway, Tsubasa fandom, you aren't doing things better for me. I know people are young. I know, hell, I am. But my desire to just stop reading my fl was never so great. Seriously, from entitled KF fans, to "oppressed" Syao-Saku fans, with the gem "the Japanese are privileged because only them can see the shippy pics! Poor western us!"

What is with the stupid this week? I'm not going to tell people how to act about their fandom relationships and squees because that's just senseless, but could you, I don't know... get over yourself?

I want chocolate. I miss chocolate, damn it.

okay, one last thing

  • Nov. 9th, 2009 at 11:50 PM
la_vie_noire: (be prepared)
Via everyone.

Listen to this woman, just listen to her, turn on the subtitles if you aren't as a good as English, but listen.

Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story.

Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.

ETA: It reminds how some Spanish women once asked me how things were in Latin America, because they heard people were very poor, or were very rich, and since I had a computer, I must have been very rich. I told them no, I was actually probably as rich as they were, my family has a car, but we were definitely not rich. They were surprised I had the same things they had, not more, not less, and was still called "middle class" here. But then they told me I was an exception or something, or things in other Latin American countries besides mine were like that. Funny how mine is one of the poorest around here.

Zhang Ziyi

  • Oct. 5th, 2009 at 6:44 PM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
Actress and singer, beautiful Zhang is best known for her roles in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Memoirs of a Geisha. She also did House of Flying Daggers and The Banquet.

In 2006 she became the youngest person to participate as a jury in Cannes Festival.

Zhang Ziyi

Zhang Ziyi pics )

Chinese, born in Beijing, IMDb will tell you more about her roles.

The picspam is getting bigger.


Also, in other news, via yeloson at deadbro, here is an study done with popular historical dramas:

Separating historical fact from film fiction.

“We found that when information in the film was consistent with information in the text, watching the film clips increased correct recall by about 50 percent relative to reading the text alone,” explains Andrew Butler, a psychology doctoral student at Washington University in St. Louis.

“In contrast, when information in the film directly contradicted the text, people often falsely recalled the misinformation portrayed in the film, sometimes as much as 50 percent of the time.”

So yeah.


la_vie_noire: (Default)
[personal profile] la_vie_noire

Latest Month

March 2013



RSS Atom
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios
Designed by [personal profile] chasethestars