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Let's talk about equality...


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#1
Daniel112

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I just found out that the lead character in the new Star Wars film series could be a female...

http://www.comicbook...s/news/?a=72106


It made me really happy (if it's true, I mean. we'll see).

It made me thinking. I realized how happy I am that movies like The Hunger Games and... yes, even Twilight had such an amazing success.

I think that it's because of it that we will start to see a lot more big movies with female leads in them.


But females aren't the only ones in need of representation. We don't have enough black male and female leads, and let's not even start to talk about Asian leads. And what about openly GAY* lead characters?

It seems that in the world of big mainstream Hollywood films gay people do not exist.


But i'm not just talking about big mainstream Hollywood films, but also big mainstream books and comic books and tv shows and video games.


Now, sure. There are more representation of minorities in those other mediums that aren't Hollywood films, but even there it's still not enough and there still aren't many minorities in LEADING roles...



*In Japan for instance there are plenty of big titles with openly gay characters in leading roles. Like Tokyo Babylon, No. 6, and the currently airing From the New World among others. Even in Evangelion the main character Shinji had gay tendencies.

Edited by Daniel112, 04 January 2013 - 05:39 PM.

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#2
Jim Ohara

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Change takes time. It's not fair, but it's the reality. My wife was complaining about the lack of women in congress, where there's now 20 female senators - as if being 30 below where they should be is something to celebrate. But it takes a generation as those senators have on average 40 years experience to get where they are - same as any executive management situation. Considering major equality moves really only started in the 80's, we're now only getting close to them making their way through the work life cycle.

It'll get better every year and that in the next decade or two the entire topic will be irrelevant, so at least it's always improving.
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#3
garjones

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I mentioned in the other thread but it echoes what Jim said. It isn't fair and it is slow but it is happening.

Look before 1980 and you had Sidney Poitier and Richard Pryor as the only two well known black actors.

When it comes to gay characters Hollywood is very behind the times but if you look at something like Philadelphia which is so chaste and avoiding the sexuality question wherever it can and was deemed as groundbreaking and then what we get now there's a significant shift.
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#4
Jim Ohara

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When it comes to gay characters Hollywood is very behind the times but if you look at something like Philadelphia which is so chaste and avoiding the sexuality question wherever it can and was deemed as groundbreaking and then what we get now there's a significant shift.

Plus if you take into account TV then significant progress has been made with gay actors. It's actually really tough to create a Hollywood leading actor - there's not that many of them. Some that make it don't come out as gay because part of what they're selling is sex fantasy to the audiences. Stands to reason they'll try to appeal to the larges demographic (which remains hetrosexual). There's less of that on TV. So you can blame marketing - I'm sure several Hollywood elite actors are gay and just don't reveal it for financial reasons.
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#5
garjones

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I'm sure several Hollywood elite actors are gay and just don't reveal it for financial reasons.


I'm pretty certain. Just looking at basic demographics begs the question. It seems a bit easier for European actors.

Sports are even worse. In soccer only two professional players have ever come out (and one committed suicide), across the world there are tens of thousands. Two are gay? It's less than unlikely and more into the realms of impossible.
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#6
Daniel112

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About openly gay lead characters...

I love how japanese anime shows are handling this subject.

In their shows, there are just two characters of the same sex that happens to be in love with each other. No one ever make a big fuss about the fact that they are two people of the same sex that are in love with each other. The word "Gay" is never heard and everyone just accept it. It just feels natural and it's evolving like any heterosexual affair would. Now THAT'S progressive.

I hate how crappy american shows like Glee are handling it, making a big fuss about it and those characters suffer because of their sexuality. And then they make special episodes just for that topic and preach you about it without any subtlety. If it's okay being gay (and it is) then act like that and don't make a big fuss about it!

Is it more realistic to show gay people suffering? I guess so. But shows/movies should redefine the status quo not act according to it...

Like, did you ever see an epic action sci-fi show with two gay leads?

Like that:



Yeah, the english dub is pretty bad.

This one present the show better:


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#7
Ogul

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I think that would be an interesting milestone, to have a big budget Hollywood blockbuster in which not only is the lead actor gay, but the character he plays is actually (and actively) gay in the film. I think there are plenty of movies with female leads out there, just that a lot of them are rom-coms. There are less of them in action movies, but then most action movies are seen primarily by males (and their girlfriends). Now plenty of women do seek out those movies on their own, but still well less than man, so if you're building a $200,000,000 project with the intent of reaching the largest possible audience, you may want to go with a male lead if you believe that to be what the largest potential audience would want. When making a big budget movie, "maximizing profit potential" comes in miles ahead of "making a political statement."

In their shows, there are just two characters of the same sex that happens to be in love with each other. No one ever make a big fuss about the fact that they are two people of the same sex that are in love with each other. The word "Gay" is never heard and everyone just accept it. It just feels natural and it's evolving like any heterosexual affair would. Now THAT'S progressive.


It's worth noting that in anime explicitly gay romances are extremely uncommon. They happen in manga fairly often, but not as often in animation. Far more common is the implied relationship, situations in which you have attractive m/m or f/f pairings where they seem extremely close, where there seems to be some sexual tension there, but they never actually hug or kiss or otherwise "seal the deal." Often in these cases they even go so far as to make it more clear that one or more of the partners is interested in a member of the opposite sex, but that doesn't stop the shippers from reaching their own conclusions.
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#8
Rory Abel

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Diversity will also continue to increase in the gaming world as the trend towards designing your own character continues to grow.
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#9
Daniel112

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I think that would be an interesting milestone, to have a big budget Hollywood blockbuster in which not only is the lead actor gay, but the character he plays is actually (and actively) gay in the film. I think there are plenty of movies with female leads out there, just that a lot of them are rom-coms. There are less of them in action movies, but then most action movies are seen primarily by males (and their girlfriends). Now plenty of women do seek out those movies on their own, but still well less than man, so if you're building a $200,000,000 project with the intent of reaching the largest possible audience, you may want to go with a male lead if you believe that to be what the largest potential audience would want. When making a big budget movie, "maximizing profit potential" comes in miles ahead of "making a political statement."


Why does it matter if the actor is also gay or not?

The most important thing is to present an openly gay characters in leading roles (and when I say leading roles I mean the MAIN roles).

It's incredibly important because A. It's progressive and It would be an important milestone. And B. I'm sure a lot of young gay people are desperately in need of gay role models to represent them. They need someone to look up to. They need to believe that they too could be heroes, you know?

I'd like to see a team of superheroes with an openly gay leader who may also be black or Asian (and he's also the main character of the piece, obviously). Now THAT would be progressive.

We should be getting to a point where we would see a lot of big movies/shows/comics/books/video games when the two main characters that are in love with each other just happens to be of the same sex, and no one will even blink an eye because of it...





It's worth noting that in anime explicitly gay romances are extremely uncommon. They happen in manga fairly often, but not as often in animation. Far more common is the implied relationship, situations in which you have attractive m/m or f/f pairings where they seem extremely close, where there seems to be some sexual tension there, but they never actually hug or kiss or otherwise "seal the deal." Often in these cases they even go so far as to make it more clear that one or more of the partners is interested in a member of the opposite sex, but that doesn't stop the shippers from reaching their own conclusions.



But I gave examples for shows that make it clear that the main character is gay and there are even kisses between him and his love interest. It's true that those shows aren't the majority, but to even have 10 shows that are like that (and there are more than just that) then it's already far more progressive than anything we ever see in America in terms of representing openly gay characters.

Edited by Daniel112, 04 January 2013 - 07:26 PM.

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#10
Jim Ohara

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I love how japanese anime shows are handling this subject.

I think it's alot easier to have a gay character in a cartoon than have a lead actor be gay. I mean, we're not counting Snagglepuss and C3PO as leaders of the gay movement.
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#11
Johnny Henning

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I think it's alot easier to have a gay character in a cartoon than have a lead actor be gay. I mean, we're not counting Snagglepuss and C3PO as leaders of the gay movement.

Also, in Yaoi anime, novels and manga in Japan, it's usually for a largely female audience, right? More a sub-genre in romance than mainstream.
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#12
Daniel112

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I think it's alot easier to have a gay character in a cartoon than have a lead actor be gay. I mean, we're not counting Snagglepuss and C3PO as leaders of the gay movement.



Huh?!

1. I'm not talking about actors but about characters. I don't care if the actor is actually gay or not.

2. I would say that having a gay main character in a cartoon is even MORE progressive because of the stupid assumption that animation is just for kids.

If kids would grow up on shows with gay leads in them that would be amazing, but those shows that I gave as an example aren't really for kids...


Also, in Yaoi anime, novels and manga in Japan, it's usually for a largely female audience, right? More a sub-genre in romance than mainstream.


And that matters... Why?

I mean, showing a main character that is gay is still progressive even if you do it just for fangirls.

Beside I wasn't even talking about yaoi. I was talking about mainstream anime shows in Japan that just happens to have gay leads in them.

Tokyo Babylon, No. 6, From the New World and Evangelion aren't yaoi at all.

Edited by Daniel112, 04 January 2013 - 07:47 PM.

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#13
Johnny Henning

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There are a lot of gay dramas designed to appeal to a niche audience in the US as well. It's not that progressive when it's for a specific audience compared to gay characters regularly appearing in mainstream films.

Also, who's the gay character in Evangelion? Kowaru, right? He's definitely got that yaoi aspect to him, doesn't he? So he is in some ways as defined by his appeal to that audience as are the sexy teen girl pilots in Evangelion in large part designed to appeal to another specific audience.- basically the "fan service" effect.

I see progressive as mainstream characters who are gay, black, Jewish and so on, but for whom their race or sexual orientation is not a specific defining detail for the character. In this case, which aren't largely influenced by the "gay romance" genre.

Edited by Johnny Henning, 04 January 2013 - 07:51 PM.

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#14
Robert B

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The best adventure movie of all time has a female lead and three gay supporting characters.

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Maybe someday Hollywood will catch up to 1939?
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#15
Ogul

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[quote]
Why does it matter if the actor is also gay or not?[/quote]

It doesn't really, I was thinking more about the role. I don't think it's super likely that we'll see any time soon a male lead with a male love interest in a big budget action movie, but it would be interesting.

[quote]
It's incredibly important because A. It's progressive and It would be an important milestone. And B. I'm sure a lot of young gay people are desperately in need of gay role models to represent them. They need someone to look up to. They need to believe that they too could be heroes, you know?[/quote]

Yeah, but again you're talking about community service. Movie companies don't put $200m into community service, they do it hoping to make much more than that back. Expect for big budget movies to be a lagging indicator of progress, not a leading indicator.

[quote]
But I gave examples for shows that make it clear that the main character is gay and there are even kisses between him and his love interest. It's true that thos shows aren't the majority, but to have even 10 shows that are like that (and there are more than just that) then it's already far more progressive than anything we ever see in America in terms of representing openly gay characters.[/quote]

I think there have been at least ten shows on US tv with openly gay characters.

[quote]
2. I would say that having a gay main character in a cartoon is even MORE progressive because of the stupid assumption that animation is just for kids. [/quote]

That would be true if it were a show produced for an American audience, but for an anime it is made for young adults and adults, and often aired in late night timeslots, so it would be no more progressive than a US show on basic cable that airs at midnight.

[quote]
Tokyo Babylon, No. 6, From the New World and Evangelion aren't yaoi at all.[/quote]

From the New World kinda is, for a couple of episodes in the middle there. Haven't watched the first two. Eva is a big example because it's one of the highest profile anime ever, though the "gay" relationship is a bit ambiguous and strange, not exactly a core romance. One of the two is an inhuman creature, perhaps without any real emotions that is merely trying to mess with the other male character, and Shinji, while seemingly sexually confused, is still generally focused on his two female love interests.

[quote]
The best adventure movie of all time has a female lead and three gay supporting characters.[/quote]

They have:
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#16
Johnny Henning

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From the New World kinda is, for a couple of episodes in the middle there. Haven't watched the first two. Eva is a big example because it's one of the highest profile anime ever, though the "gay" relationship is a bit ambiguous and strange, not exactly a core romance. One of the two is an inhuman creature, perhaps without any real emotions that is merely trying to mess with the other male character, and Shinji, while seemingly sexually confused, is still generally focused on his two female love interests.


Also, as far as Evangelion, it is a little hard to see "progressive values" when the previews for every new episode promise "more fan service". Let's objectify women BUT present gay characters fairly... in that the men are as inexplicably drawn to the passive-agressive, self-centered lead as much as the hot chicks are.

Edited by Johnny Henning, 04 January 2013 - 09:14 PM.

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#17
Daniel112

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Yeah, but again you're talking about community service. Movie companies don't put $200m into community service, they do it hoping to make much more than that back. Expect for big budget movies to be a lagging indicator of progress, not a leading indicator.

I agree. That's why it should be someone with balls who would make it happen...


I think there have been at least ten shows on US tv with openly gay characters.

Yes but not mainstream action shows with the gay character as the MAIN character...
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From the New World kinda is, for a couple of episodes in the middle there. Haven't watched the first two. Eva is a big example because it's one of the highest profile anime ever, though the "gay" relationship is a bit ambiguous and strange, not exactly a core romance. One of the two is an inhuman creature, perhaps without any real emotions that is merely trying to mess with the other male character, and Shinji, while seemingly sexually confused, is still generally focused on his two female love interests.

There is yaoi in From the New World but it isn't a yaoi show...

Strange? Yes. Ambiguous? I'm not so sure about that. I mean Kowaru did tell Shinji that he loves him and later Shinji tells Misato that he loved him too. He was also blushing constantly around Kowaru.


Edited by Daniel112, 04 January 2013 - 09:19 PM.

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#18
Ogul

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There is yaoi in From the New World but it isn't a yaoi show...


True, but the thing is, I watch From the New World, but I'm not the target audience. It isn't a mainstream action show, it isn't aimed at male viewers. It's more in the line of the artsy anime shows, and targeted more at female viewers than male, along the lines of an Utena or Penguin Drum. Chicks dig the metrosexual prettyboys. A better example of something that treads the line would be Zetsuen no Tempest, which is a heavily action-oriented show that has two pretty male leads, perfectly suited for shippers, even though they have both expressed no explicit interest in each other, while definitely expressing interest in supporting female characters, and also has a solid amount of fanservice.

Strange? Yes. Ambiguous? I'm not so sure about that. I mean Kowaru did tell Shinji that he loves him and later Shinji tells Misato that he loved him too. He was also blushing constantly around Kowaru.


Yes, but "love" has a lot of meanings, and it's unclear whether he was being honest or just manipulative. They clearly crossed lines that are not socially acceptable among hetero American bros, but not into full-on gay territory, and Shinji clearly preferred Asuka.
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#19
Todd Gross

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I think it's alot easier to have a gay character in a cartoon than have a lead actor be gay. I mean, we're not counting Snagglepuss and C3PO as leaders of the gay movement.

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#20
David Meadows

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I'd like to see a team of superheroes with an openly gay leader who may also be black or Asian (and he's also the main character of the piece, obviously). Now THAT would be progressive.


Shrinking Violet led the Legion of Super-Heroes, and she was openly gay. That was February 1994 - September 1994 (then the title got rebooted and she was no longer gay in the new continuity... oh well, you win some you lose some :( ).
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