Tag Archives: Media Criticism

Diversity in Television

On the most recent two part episode of Doctor Who there was an interesting choice to make one of the characters deaf. In the episodes “Under the Lake” and “Before the Flood” the second in command is a woman who happens to be deaf. It got me thinking about the overall conversation about diversity in television. When we talk about diversity in television it has to be diversity across all ranges. It cannot just be about race or gender, it should be about the wide range of diversity that we find in the human race. Of all the shows that could pull off and highlight true diversity, Doctor Who is a show that is not bound by the rules of our current society because it can dream about what could be instead of what is.

Everyone is Capable

Part of what is great about what Doctor Who did by having a woman who is second in command and happens to be deaf is that they make it no big deal. She is just one of the crew and while she needs to have an interpreter to help her communicate, it does not mean that she is any less capable than anyone else. They even use the fact that as someone who cannot hear she has developed the ability to read lips, which comes in quite handy during the episode. It sometimes feels like someone who communicates differently would not be seen as someone who is just as capable and could have been used as the joke or the one that has to be propped up – or killed off. Instead of just another person along for the ride. The particularly creepy, scary ride.

Re-Imagining People

I think a lot of times that shows and other media show people who are different as somehow less. Particularly I think that often people who have some type of disability are often used as sob stories or something that needs to be corrected for. I think this is changing, but it is still always good to see when we re-imagine how we see people who are different than us. When most of television seems to be done by white males it is good to see that they can potentially respect the imagining of people who are different than them as people and not just side notes or emotional resonance.

A Long Way to Go

It is great to see increased diversity in shows that I watch, but there is so much more that can be done. This is one example of something really good, but wouldn’t it be great if the character of the Doctor himself showed something a little different? So far he has been a white man and while yes it is nice for them to go back to an older Doctor, there are definitely some great ideas for doing someone of color or to even have a female Doctor. Now this is just talking about one show, but this is true for a lot of shows. Now this is not to say that we should force things into certain situations for diversity’s sake, but maybe we could rethink the story being told to think about how someone else might fit into that situation. We live in a big, colorful world, full of all types of people. Shouldn’t the shows reflect that?

A few thoughts on A-Force

I had been kind of wanting to read one of the Secret Wars titles this summer, but couldn’t really decide which one. There’s certainly one that’s been getting the most press, however, and I decided to give that a read: A-Force by G. Willow Wilson and others. That would be G. Willow Wilson of Ms. Marvel fame.

A-Force Assemble

When I say press, I should mention I’m specifically thinking of an op-ed that ended up in the New Yorker about the comic, and then Wilson’s response. I read these first before A-Force, then again after… It’s enough to make me shake my head. Here, links:

Why Marvel’s Female Superheroes Look Like Porn Stars – The New Yorker

G. Willow Wilson on Tumblr

The A-Force Action Continues

The last is an interview with Wilson about the fact that A-Force is going to be continuing, after Secret Wars. Which is interesting, but I don’t think changes much of the initial conversation about this title. Which is to say, it’s a 5 issue title, as part of a giant crossover event affecting every Marvel comic title, character, and universe… and it’s all functioning as a giant “what if?” So of course, that’s how it was taken, right?

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Being Critics of Media and Culture

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to just sit back and consume media and culture and not think beyond simple enjoyment? But when we do that, do we turn a blind eye to larger problems in the world? Media and culture reflect how a person sees the world. When we create something we are putting our view into what we create. Thus, by examining the media and culture we can explore how others view the world or at least certain aspects of the world.

Now, maybe I should have started this out a little differently. In college I got my degree in Media Studies, which as it turns out is exploring representation and themes in media. I think it is important to think critically about the media that we consume. It is the same as when people think about what they put into their bodies in terms of food. If we do not think critically about what we consume we are nothing better than mindless drones repeating whatever the latest fad is.

Now I know that this is not a popular topic for people to discuss. No one wants to hear that the representation or world view in a game, movie, tv show, etc, is skewed. Look at how vehemently people defend their news outlet of choice, even when they are more than a little skewed at times. The important thing to remember is that thinking critically about something does not mean you cannot still enjoy it – it just means that you are asking questions about how that media / culture is shaping a world view.

What is great is there are a lot of people out there who are taking the time to try and have a conversation about media. They are consuming media, but at the same time thinking critically about the media that they consume. Now at times I have seen some go too far, they decide that their opinion / interpretation is right and that if you disagree with it then you are somehow bad. But many of them are doing good things. Continue reading