Media and the Real World – Addendum

This is from a previous post, elaborating on the idea of Utilitarianism in the Media. I’ve stated these ideas many times, but they do need to be repeated and kept in mind, because vigilance against reproducing the dominant narrative is the key to undermining it, not just awareness.

jorj-cardas:

gap-var-ginnunga:

siriustachi:

siriustachi:

silversarcasm:

bloodblonde89:

fluttersheep:

silversarcasm:

the idea of people having to be ‘useful’ is just so gross, like people do not exist to be used

having to produce something and have a use is a capitalist ideal and not an intrinsic part of humanity

just by being alive you are human and you are worth something and you can never be useless

this applies to animals as well

“Having to like DO THINGS is SO OPPRESSIVE. No one had to like DO THINGS before evil capitalism. In ancient times food, water, and shelter just existed and everything was taken care of for me”

Guess what happened to people who didn’t do things before capitalism? They died. Cause if you weren’t hunting, gathering, or useful in some aspect of nature. You were killed, died or starvation, dehydration, or exposure.

Being useful is literally part of our biology. Fucking moron. You pull some idea out of your ass because you literally don’t want to get off your ass.

I’m not saying nobody should ever do things ever, I’m saying people don;t have to produce to an arbitrary standard in order to prove their right to live

And if you really think disabled people deserve to die if we can’t ‘contribute’ or be useful in a way you approve of then congrats youre a fucking monster

actually there’s significant evidence in terms of Neolithic burials that disabled people who would not have been able to hunt for themselves (the archaeological evidence mostly shows mobility disabilities because it’s visible in the bone record) were well fed and cared for by their communities

so the “people like you would have been left to die” argument isn’t just cruel and violently ableist, it’s extremely historically inaccurate and based off of projecting modern prejudice on prehistoric cultures

sources because I’m on my laptop now!

note: in the neolithic era, a person in their 40s or 50s would be considered elderly

12,000-year-old burial of a woman about 45 with mobility disabilities both congenital and acquired

burial of a 40-50 year old Neanderthal man who had survived to old age with a deformed right arm and a long-healed head injury that would have made him blind in one eye

neolithic burial of a man in his 50s who lost the use of his left arm in adolescence

neolithic burial of a man in his 40s with evidence of a significant mobility disability caused by an injured hip and leg, some time in adulthood but long before his death

neolithic Asian burial of a man in his 20s with a congenital disorder which would have made him a quadriplegic around age 14. He survived for 10-15 years after that.

5th century burial of child with Down Syndrome

i read somewhere that you can measure the worth of a society by how it treats it’s helpless, elderly and sick and i think that’s totally on to something. this also ties in with the whole “survival of the fittest” garbage that people (mostly violent machismo men) spew without knowing what it actually means.

the inherent idea of productivity = worth IS a product of a culture based off of industrialization and capitalism, anyone who says otherwise is blinded by bias and needs to read some anthropology.

Animals do this, too. There’s a ten year old orca named Tumbo with severe scoliosis. He’s slower than the rest of his pod, but his mother and brother stay with him and help him hunt. He’s a transient, too, which means he travels great distances daily with his pod, and hunts dangerous prey like seals and sharks. Yet despite his disability, his pod takes care of him, and his pod thrives, even with the care they show him.

As someone said above me, a society can be judged by how it treats the sick, elderly and disabled. If animals can show such compassion, what’s a human’s excuse for lacking the same compassion for a fellow human being?

Source: silversarcasm
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*To elaborate on my contribution to this post: and tie all these posts together. Trust me! There is a theme here and that is “utilitarianism”. The usefulness of other human beings to the narrative. Fandom is nothing more than an extension of ideas given (to them) by Hollywood. Fanfiction, for example, is nothing more than fantasies being written about fantasies, and as a result, all that most Fandom can do, is reiterate the specific dynamics they’ve been taught by Hollywood films, for the past seventy plus years.

The only narratives (and justifications) Hollywood has given the public for having any marginalized person in a movie, is if that person is useful to the white lead characters. This goes for everyone who is not white, straight, cis, and male. For decades most white women could only be in movies unless they served the purposes of the male protagonist.  We even have special words for it: Women in Refrigerators, The Sexy Floor Lamp, The Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Their purpose in a movie is not to affect the plot, but to affect the men, who affect the plot.

The same is true for people with disabilities, most often used as “inspiration porn”, to  make the protagonist of the story, or sometimes even the audience, feel good about themselves. Almost the only time you see people with disabilities get cast at all, is in horror movies, as the monsters, or to inspire the main characters and audience to live better lives.

 The same is true for LGBTQ people, which is how we got the term, “the Gay Best Friend”. Usually, they only exist in the plot to give support, and sympathy to the straight characters, or prop up their love lives somehow. In thrillers and horror movies, they exist to be killed, so as to alert the protagonist that the villains are getting close, or to indicate to the protagonist that they are in a Horror movie.

And PoC, serve all these purposes, The Black Best Friend, The Caddie, The Maid, The Manic Pixie Dream Girl, The Black Guy Dies First. The only narrative that most white people have seen PoC perform for the past seventy years is that of being useful to the main characters, who are white. Yes, there are movies that exist outside that dynamic but most white people don’t, or won’t go see those films.

It’s the reason why fandom can’t see PoC in fantasy narratives that include fantastical creatures like elves and orcs, and why Finn, from Star Wars can never be seen as anything other than Rey’s friend, rather than a possible  love interest. Its the reason people speculate that Michonne should die at Negan’s hands next season, to illustrate Rick’s whitemanpain. It’s the reason white Fandom doesn’t know what to do with T’Challa, other than make him Bucky’s Sugar Daddy,  and the Dore Milaje who challenged their white fave, Black Widow, gets vilified for being a big ol’ meaniepants, when she was merely doing her job of protecting her possible future husband. And its the reason why Nick Fury gets vilified, and Tony Stark gets woobified in fanfiction, for committing much the same types of behavior.

The only narratives most white people have to work from are marginalized people as servants and slaves, counselors, helpers, and  mentors to the white protagonist. And when not cast in  helping roles, then they are infantilized, or erased from their own narratives, so that the White Saviors can look good taking care of whatever problems they can’t solve for themselves.

Hollywood  has insisted on reproducing these  dynamics in film, after film, after film, since its inception. We should not be at all surprised at all the racism and bigotry we have seen  in the Fandom. Is it any wonder that there is a dearth of imagination, and a complete inability to see marginalized people outside of the boxes  in which Hollywood has kept us. They are merely reproducing the only kind of  stories they’ve been given. The fault isn’t entirely on the fandom. A large part of the fault lies with Hollywood.

This also ties into my earlier posts about how insidious racism and bigotry are. You have to remain vigilant and constantly examine what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it, if you don’t want to end up simply reproducing the racist, ableist, homophobic,  and sexist narratives we’ve all been ingesting since we were children. Its even worse when you  reproduce the mainstream narratives, while believing that you’re being progressive.

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Media and the Real World – Addendum

  1. “Its even worse when you reproduce the mainstream narratives, while believing that you’re being progressive”

    This is big, and so true. Too many people don’t understand that you cannot say things like, ‘I’m not racist”, “not homophobic”, “not ableist”, “not prejudiced” unless you are in a constant state of alert, constantly checking yourself, and educating yourself about the things you’re supposed to be checking yourself for, in the first place.

    I do this exercise all the time myself, which is why, I cannot in good conscience say that I’m super progressive. I’m conscious about a lot of things that affect the Black community (I think we left “woke” in 2015?) because I’m a part of it and I’m proud of who I am (you’ll find many self hating Blacks who swear up and down that racism is over. It’s their shame talking. Admitting racism exists reminds them they’re Black while denying it allows them to “blend in” and be the non-threatening kind of Black ‘others’ can embrace).

    I’m also conscious of many of the things that affect women because I’m one and I care about our fate, our suffering around the globe, our constant dismissal by male-dominated society, and the ever creative ways males find to attack and challenge our identity.

    I tend to recognize negative tropes associated to LGB characters because I’m always on the lookout fordehumanizing characterization but I’ll never pretend to know/feel/understand more than an actual member of the community. My duty is to listen, examine my beliefs without being defensive, and do my part not to be yet another instrument of hate towards a fellow human being, especially given my experience as member of an oppressed group.

    I tend to be aware of my own biases and they are numerous. I’m conservative, I’m heterosexist, I abide by a lot of rules that are considered “misogynistic”, I am considered “sex-negative” because I frown upon what the youth calls “the hook up culture” (*shake cane* lmao), and I believe that the fact that I do not believe that transwomen are women places me squarely in what some people consider the transphobic category.

    I’m working on some of my biases. Others I don’t apologize for because I don’t think I’m in the wrong (that would be my contention that Caitlyn Jenner, while having the right to live the life she want to lead free of harassment and harm as any other human cannot say that she and I are the same because identification (a very Western concept to this African girl) and nature are two vastly different things. I’m comfortable with this belief and will never change my mind on it.

    What I am, is open to dialogue, any kind of dialogue. I’m also ready to take a hard look at all my beliefs and not lose sight of how my position of privilege affects my world view. I don’t mind being challenged. I change my ways if I’m proven wrong or feel like I gain awareness about something I was missing. I’m also very comfortable standing firm on the things that matter to me and the Black woman condition is one that I never compromise on. Ain’t enough time in the WORLD for anyone to try to confuse me about the reality of misogynoir lol.

    Like

    1. My biggest thing is that people should always strive to be BETTER people. Just try to be a better person, but in order for someone to do that, they must first acknowledge that they’re not their best self. It requires a degree of humility that some people are unwilling to engage in.

      I can admire anybody who is at least trying to be better.

      I know people can be better than they are. If only other people believed that, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “The same is true for people with disabilities, most often used as “inspiration porn”, to make the protagonist of the story, or sometimes even the audience, feel good about themselves. Almost the only time you see people with disabilities get cast at all, is in horror movies, as the monsters, or to inspire the main characters and audience to live better lives.”

    Something that’s always bothered me about characters in a wheelchair on TV is the proportion of those who fake it for villainous purposes. They used their disability as a cover for nefarious activities and then the moment they get up out of the chair is this huge gasp inducing moment. Something about this has always broken my heart. Sorry, I’m getting emotional all over your page :'(.

    Liked by 1 person

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