If you follow this blog then you know a few things about me. I’m a writer; I’m a little bit nuts; and I’m a geek. These days I don’t know how large of a geek that would be, due to all the brolash that has come up in the last few years about who is “fake” (usually women) and who isn’t (usually the bros makin’ up the rules). Needless to say my creed is good, and while I might not be able to tell someone exact issue and page for whatever comic one might use as a litmus test for pureness, I know I could come back with my own set of questions that would put them right down on their ass.
As such, many of my friends are geeks in various areas, and many of them were watching closely when the cast pictures for the new Star Wars film was released. And the thing that a majority of them noticed right away: one new female actor, one male actor who is black, and a whole lotta white light sabers flashin’ around. Oh, and Andy Serkis to likely motion capture an alien meant to represent whatever racial stereotype the movie is inadvertently mocking, cause yeah, gotta go there.
At this point it’s difficult to say that if you’re doing any sort of story within a “universe”–which, admittedly, is a pretty big place–it’s not going to be easy to explain away why one doesn’t have more women in their stories, or don’t have more people of color wandering about. Particularly in geek entertainment, where even in the middle of the second decade of the 21st Century, a large number of stories have women for one of various reasons: to act as the romantic interests for the male characters, to come off as a bit of fan service for the bros, or to get Fridged and lead one of the male characters into their huge moment of angst. Naturally, the first two reasons are not mutually exclusive from the last, which allows one to hit the trifecta if you’re really wanting to go in that direction.
I was telling a friend the other day that I had someone looking over my current work in progress, and they had a couple of comments. The first was, “You have a lot of women.” And the second was, “And a lot of the characters aren’t Caucasian.” I asked them if that was a good or bad thing, and the response was, “Well, there are a lot of women in the story . . .” And that’s true: it’s pointed out that, in The Foundation, it’s a Lady’s World, with the women outnumbering the men about three-to-one. At the school the ratios are even higher: in the student body the girls outnumber the boys about four-to-one (something that Kerry points out to another student), and as far as staff and instructors go . . . never mind: The Queens Conquer–and have.
As they say, lets look at the cards–literally:
These are just my instructors–the situation is different with the staff. Three out of four positions are held by women, and the director of security is half-Egyptian. And all of the support staff are female–you don’t see them, but I do.
But running across my instructors, we have five men in that group. Fitzsimon Spratt is a black man from Jamaica and Shuthelah Kady is from Turkey. Holoč Semplen is the lone white male coven leader from the Czech Republic. And Mathias and Adric are white guys from Canada and England, there for comic relief–just kidding.
Going across Deanna is Iraqi; Harpreet Bashagwani is Indian; Ramona Chai is Chinese. I haven’t yet worked out Wednesdays full history, but it’s pretty much a given she’s a white girl from New Mexico. Jessica is black; Helena is half-white, half-Māori. Maddy, Vicky, and Erywin are white; Polly Grünbach is half-white, half-Moroccan, Inyx Armanjani is from Azerbaijan, and Tristyn Julin is a black woman from South Africa.
Of the five coven leaders four are women; two are white, one is Iraqi, one is black. One is an Atheist, one is Muslim, two are Wiccans. One is divorced, one is widowed. One has never been married, and one is a lesbian in a relationship with another instructor that’s lasted thirty years. Out of my instructors and staff five are gay/lesbian (sorry: no bi or trans–yet), and all of them are in relationships–two of the couples are right there in the school, though you haven’t seen the second one yet.
I decided when I started this that if I’m going to represent the world, I had to represent. I had to bring in people from everywhere, and try and make things as representative as possible. In time these names will change, new people will arrive–maybe the school will even get more guys. But I will try and keep a world view; I’ll try and keep things representative.
‘Cause, this being the 21st Century an all, you gotta know there’s a whole universe out there in which to play. And it’s a very diverse place.