Representation is a funny thing.
People seem to think it materializes out of thin air. They assume, that in our day and age, that it’s simply a given. Representation is taken for granted. Many artists and content creators just assume it will happen. That they are entitled to not care.
This is a dangerous line of thought.
The reality of it is, representation is something that is fought for. It is achieved through a concerted effort from folks that are willing to take risks. We get there by people caring, and making it a point to do something about it. The conscious decision to add a female, a homosexual, a person of colour, a transgender character. That’s where representation starts.
Whenever you make an argument that representation is bad, in whatever media, for whatever reason, you are actively undermining representation as a whole. You are actively making the world a worse place, for a lot of people. It doesn’t matter what your specific counter argument is.
"Well you shouldn’t just go down a checklist"
It doesn’t matter.
"Your story has too many of X"
It doesn’t matter.
"I don’t think this fits"
It doesn’t matter.
None of those things matter on their own. They’re excuses to not be representative. If for some reason a narrative doesn’t hold together because of the characters in it, then it’s a badly written narrative. That is a completely seperate discussion.
Cut away all the attempts at coming across as sophisticated and hiding behind an artistic license and you’re left with the basic argument:
"X story would be better if X character were instead a straight, white, male."
Is that really the argument you want to be making?
If you fancy yourself a progressive thinker, but ever make the argument that representation isn’t important. I’ve got news for you. You’re a hypocrite, and should be ashamed.
If you want to actually make the world a better place and be a better person, then consider this. It doesn’t matter if representation is important to you, it is important to the people being represented. That should be protected.
When you target a character that represents a group, you’re endangering that group’s representation. It doesn’t matter if you think it makes the story better. You’d better be considering the cost of what you’re doing, and weighing that against whatever gain you perceive there to be.
today is dangerscissor's birthday HAPPY BIRTHDAY DANGERSCISSOR.
have a good one, yo
I gained a few new followers after skepticArcher posted her most recent piece, so I thought I’d take a moment to talk about the series the characters are from.
Dragonoak is a world I’ve been thinking about for a long time and have actively been working on for the past fifteen months. The main storyline is a trilogy, and the end of the second book is currently in sight. The story follows Rowan Northwood, a young necromancer who finds herself ostracised by the village she spent much of her life serving, under the guise of a healer. When a wandering knight passes through, Rowan sees an opportunity and takes it: she steals away in the night, entirely unaware that Sir Ightham herself is in exile. By the time they’re joined by a pane – a towering, horned-and-clawed race that are the epitome of absolute loveliness – and are busy sneaking across borders, it becomes evident that something’s up.
Dragonoak has a lot of high-fantasy, low-magic elements that I’ve always enjoyed – dragons, knights, kings and queens and their castles – but is primarily a character-driven story. While writing this series, it’s always been incredibly important to me that I create a world without the limitations of this one, or the limitations that cripple so many fantasy and sci-fi world-builds. I’ve done my best to create a place where women can be knights with out anyone remarking that she’s pretty good—for a woman, where nobody bats an eyelid at queer characters, where the cast is diverse and blood-relations aren’t automatically more important than families that have been forged in other ways.
The narrative path I’ve taken focuses on queer women of all sorts. No one’s punished for being gay—I’m not saying that horrible things don’t happen to most of the cast, but it’s definitely not a punishment for ladies smooching each other! This project has come a long way from its early stages (a short story I expected to be over in 30,000 words) and I’ve been helped along at every step by a wonderful group of betas and friends.
For now, please look at these fantastic pictures that have been done, and visit the artists’ blogs!
p.s. there are also pirates.
Was a little more than irritated at the discrepancy between the male and female versions of the Phalanx armor set, so a quick ‘n dirty therapy doodle of a lady Sylvari in the “male” armor was in order.
One of my very few gripes with GW2 is that there is often such an overt disparity between armors. Arena Net continues to do a fantastic job in creating a multitude of diverse, interesting characters inhabiting a marvelously constructed world—among whom are countless women whose creators have proudly imbued with AGENCY and PERSONALITIES beyond ‘helpless damsel’ or ‘hysterical broad’ (holy shit).
This being said, it’s disappointing that such a progressive game would be mired in the casually chauvinistic anachronisms of dressing women up in next to nothing while decking the men out like goddamned battleships.
Granted, compared even to its contemporaries, GW2 is RELATIVELY okay about it some of the time. There are a handfull of sets that are largely androgynous, providing just as much or as little protection between the two (though, with the latter, we enter the issue of male gaze vs. male power fantasy which is a WHOOOLE ‘nother creature). But really, a player should have the option to deck their character out in as much or as little as they choose to—regardless of gender.
Still, Arena Net has done a pretty fantastic job so far and they have some absolutely marvelous staff members, so I’m still comfortable in being cautiously optimistic for what they have in store for future updates.
Bit nippy, eh yrval?
Rowan and Rán, from Sunbreaksdown’s awesome book, Dragonoak.
a quick n dirty sketch from the ever-wonderful sunbreaksdown’s new story 8>
i uh…. kinda love these two. a lot.