Self-Plug: Privilege Undermines Disney’s ‘Gargoyles’ Attempts to Explore Oppression

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People who regularly read this blog, I have betrayed you. I have written about Gargoyles for a place that is not here.  Fortunately, thanks to the magic of the internet, you too can enjoy this fine post I have written on how privilege undermines Gargoyles‘ attempts to tell its story–a topic that should be familiar to my regular readers–over at the fine site Bitch Flicks. It goes something like this:

Gargoyles is also a fantastic showcase of what can happen when creators possessing privilege write stories about the oppressed without their input. Weisman and his staff had good intentions, and yet that didn’t stop them from writing “Heritage,” a perennial contender for the award of Most Racist Story That Tried Not to Be Racist (Television). In the episode, Elisa essentially tells the chief of a failing First Nation village, whom she’s only just met, that he’s performing his identity wrong, and is proven correct by the narrative. While that episode is an outlier, it is not alone — despite the show’s attempts to be about oppression and about being the Other, it falls down in multiple and consistent ways featuring more than one episode where the message they wish to send is not the message they are actually sending.

Yay me! Once you’re done, there are also many other fine posts by awesome writers about various films and TV shows for you to read, so please give those a look. Thank you!

 

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This Breathing Isle, this Beating Heart: “Avalon” Part One

“Why, it’s me, Tom!  I was but a lad in Castle Wyvern, the night that the vikings destroyed your clan.  But there’s no time to explain now!  We must go: the eggs are in danger!” — Tom

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Written by: Lydia C. Marano
Original Air Date: November 20, 1995
Introduces: Kenneth II, Constantine, Finella, Maol Chalvim, Angela (Unnamed), Gabriel (Unnamed), Boudicca (Unnamed), Avalon
Timeline placement: October 1, 994 – September 28, 995 (The Past); December 27  – December 28, 1995 (The Present)
TMNT episode I could make a forced comparison to: “Legend of the Five Dragons”.

 

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Plug: Two Recent Instances of Ableism In TMNT Worth Discussing

Sorry for the recent lack of updates.  Not only have I been juggling school with work and a brand-new obsession with Nikita, almost all of my writing time has been spent on an essay about ableism in recent TMNT stories.  That essay is now complete, and available at my other blog–specifically, here.

[Content Note: Ableism, ableist slurs, hostility to consent]

April Clone

 

 

With Nick’s TMNT long since having crossed the line from being “occasionally problematic” to “actively immoral and loving it”, I haven’t felt the need to try and dissect the series in any great detail recently.  The problems are the same as they’ve ever been, they’ve been discussed, and there’s really nothing new to say about them.

And then came the April Clone.

In the episode “The Kraang Conspiracy”, the turtles and April discover that series baddie The Kraang, who need April (or more specifically, her genes–because why else would a girl be valuable?) in order to further their plans, have attempted to clone her many times over.  While incapable of furthering their plans, these clones are, with one exception, still perfect reproductions of April…all except for one.  That single clone, which the episode and Michelangelo eventually end up calling April Derp after the most frequent word in her vocabulary,  is set against the turtles, whom she keeps on the ropes until she is eventually, and accidentally, killed by April, whose powers are unleashed by the stress of the situation.

[…]

My perpetually in progress list of Queer, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Trans*, Bisexual, Asexual, Gay and / or Genderqueer characters in the Monsters of New York-verse

Let’s face it: no matter how progressive Gargoyles or TMNT‘s TV incarnations may be in some respects, they are both guilty of establishing universes in which no sexualities besides “straight” exist.  Yes, there are very good reasons why this is the case, and “the creators didn’t want to” is probably not among them; nevertheless, the fact remains that only straight cisgendered people are able to see those aspect of themselves represented on either series, and that remains a problem, regardless of creator intent.

So, since the shows won’t give me QUILTBAG characters, I’ll just have to establish my own.  This is my in-progress list of characters whom I consider Queer, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Trans*, Bisexual, Asexual, Genderqueer and / or Gay .  Some are based on word of god.  Others are based on conclusions drawn from the text.  Others are what they are because felt like it.  It’s still incomplete and far from representative, and it probably displays problematic patterns that I’m unaware of at the moment (for example, there are no asexual non-mutants in the list yet) but this is it so far.

(Note: Yes, I know that Gargoyles, at least, has characters whom we have been told by Word Of God are gay.  However, no confirmation of that assertion exists in the actual text.)

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Looking Back: TMNT (2012) Season 1 (Part 2) : TMNT’s Women Problem

[Content Note:  Rape, Rape Culture, Nice Guys (TM), Sexist Tropes]

When I initially wrote that first post about how the pilot for Nick’s TMNT treatment of April O’Neil was problematic, I did not expect writing about gender to become a regular thing. Given that those first two episodes had somehow managed the unlikely feat of making April an irrelevant part of her own story, it seemed to me that there was nowhere for the show to go but up.

That sort of optimism seems funny to me now.

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