Dec. 9th, 2010

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Representations of Race and Gender in Misfits on E4

"Also, race is never presented as a key part of how the characters are defined or identified or developed. You know how in Glee, Mercedes is the black girl and Kurt is the gay boy and blah blah blah? In Misfits, they're not like "This is Alisha. She's black and therefore sassy, curvy, and loud. Her primary function is to bring soul and snappy advice to white people, who are the true protagonists." Instead, it's "This is Alisha. Her attributes, problems, complexities, and characteristics are completely unrelated to her ethnicity because she's a human being." On this show, race doesn't enter the equation in terms of the characterization or plot advancement, which I think is fantastic and (unfortunately) not the case on every show/movie. YOU GO, SHOW COCO!

Similarly, Kelly is bigger than the average person that you see on TV and her body is never demeaned, mocked, or the basis for a storyline (i.e. Mercedes' obsession with tater tots on Glee, Stanley trying to lose weight on The Office, etc.) like it would be on other shows -- or, actually, ever referred to as anything but desirable -- because it's just not relevant. And this is with a guy like Nathan in the group, who mercilessly mocks people.

TUTORIAL: Drawing Characters of Colour

"This hits close to home for me as well. I'm ethnically South-Asian and I too live in Canada and I grew up drawing white people based off of white people references. Most of the artwork I looked at (fanart, concept art, illustrations, graphic design, comic books, etc) depicted white characters or subjects. Even my imagination was framed in 'white aka default'; so even when I was just doodling idly in my college notes or drawing for fun, it never even occurred to me to draw anything but 'default' (aka: white) characters. Like so much that surrounded my life, it just seemed like the 'normal' thing to do - white features were the default, interesting, mainstream 'style' to draw.

Only recently did I break out of that feeling that drawing characters of colour took a special sort of niche-interest effort (or even obligation). With that realization, my own personal mentality kind of switched as well. Drawing all the many features/characteristics/personalities of characters of colour suddenly fascinated me in the same way that drawing the features of white characters did.

Helen Mirren thinks her looks are "bloody irrelevant," refuses to worship at the altar of young Hollywood penises

"A reporter said to Mirren: "You’ve won fans as a role model for having sex appeal in your 60s. How does that make you feel?"

And Mirren replied:

A bit cross, actually. We have to let go of this crap. It creates even more pressure on women, and I certainly don’t want to be a part of that. I’m not beautiful; I clean up nice. Why don’t we talk about the fact, for example, that I just did Arthur, and the cinematographer was a woman, the film operator was a woman, the whole camera team were women? That’s where we should be putting our attention. The fact that I look good at the age I am is bloody irrelevant.

During her speech at THR's annual Women in Entertainment breakfast, Mirren also offered up this gem:

I resent in my life the survival of some very mediocre male actors and the professional demise of some very brilliant female ones ... However, with all due respect to you many brilliant and successful women in this room ... really not too much has changed in the canon of Hollywood filmmaking that continues to worship at the altar of the 18 to 25-year-old male and his penis.


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