Tag Archives: representation

Harry Potter or how I Should Have Kept my Rose-Tinted Glasses on

Today is a very special day for the Harry Potter fandom. Today Harry’s son Scorpius is sent off to Hogwarts for his first year. Like most people my age, I love this series. This series was a huge part of my childhood; dressing up and going to the book releases, seeing the movies with friends, and talking about theories. It got me back into reading and sparked my creativity. It also helped me through some difficult times and gave me lots of good memories. With the release of the new movie, screenplay, and Pottermore website part of me wishes I could send a warning to 10 year old me and tell her she doesn’t want these.

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Obligatory NY post

The last time I updated was in August? Yikes! :O My New Year’s resolution is to post no less than once a month. I have some ideas on posts about representation, but I’m lacking materials to review. Every year I set a goal to read a certain amount of books by the end of each year. I am displeased to say that I was unable to meet this goal for this year. Mainly, the books I were finding were not doing the job.

Kingdom of Little Wounds: Set in 1500’s Scandinavia, it is about a royal seamstress and a maid as they try to figure out the disease that is killing everyone. According to the author, it’s a fairy tale about syphilis. This is a YA novel, mind you. The book is not sanitized and goes into the sometimes graphic depictions of daily life, including disease and sexual assault. No lush banquets or flowing gowns or star-crossed romance here.

It was an ok (and somewhat unsettling) read until I got to the introduction of an African maid named Midi Norte. For some inexplicable reason, despite everyone around her speaking normally she sounded like a mammy stereotype.  Compared to The Miniaturist, which is set in the same region in the same period and also features an African servant, this book feels like it did not even bother trying. While Midi sounds like a character from a minstrel show (a 19th century invention) the servant in the Miniaturist is every bit as eloquent and well spoken as everyone else. After reading her intro chapter I returned the book. After reading reviews which talk about the graphic and unsettling scenes (including our two teen main characters getting sexually assaulted by adults) (repeatedly) I feel like I dodged a bullet.

Captive Prince #2: I know, I know, you’re probably wondering why I bothered in the first place when I gave the first book a lukewarm review. The first book was a quick read and I figured this would be the same. I only got halfway through before I stopped. The whole nature surrounding same sex couplings reeked of being juvenile. Maybe the whole taboo nature and crass language regarding sex appeals to some but it was groan-worthy at best. What is suppose to be titillating only left a bad taste in my mouth.

Daughter of the Blood: I was excited to read this, seeing many prominent novelists sing its praises. After one chapter I had to stop. Adulterous women, lecherous men assaulting servants, the “chosen one” being a pale blonde blue-eyed girl, they even named one of the few dark skinned characters “Saten de Diablo”. Really?? This book might have been groundbreaking in the late 90’s but nowadays it comes off as stale and terribly cliched.

Needless to say it’s easy to see where I lost motivation to find new books to read. It’s a new year and I’ve started myself off with Dorian Grey. I’m optimistic that I’ll find books that aren’t quite aggravating. My only requirement at this point is that if there are any poc that they’re not walking stereotypes or villains/barbaric/etc.

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FAE Magazine and the Disapearing POC Fairies: A Mystery

The Renaissance Faire was this weekend and I forgot about it so I was unable to attend. 😦 In lieu of that, a personal antidote: Earlier in the year I went through my collection of FAE Magazines for some fairy inspiration. It’s a British faerie lifestyle magazine with news, photo shoots, articles, astrology, all that fun stuff. I was disappointed that in the 6 issues I had there was only two brown faces, one in a screenshot from Game of Thrones and another in a promotional image from a Tinkerbell movie. I was baffled that a magazine from a country as diverse as England had no poc anywhere in their magazine.

After my “discovery” I politely asked them if they had any plans to include non-white models. In essence, they responded that they rely on submissions and don’t plan what skin tones the models have. In other words, they don’t go out their way to be inclusive or seek this material out. If you couldn’t guess it, I was underwhelmed and miffed by this response. I skipped buying that quarter’s issue.

Fast forward to present day, I stumbled upon the FAE Magazine published after I sent my question. Hoping they took what I said into consideration I scan the magazine. In the entire 50+ page magazine, I saw only one black woman with bonus plus-size model (another unrepresented group in the magazine), with three other thin white women. In a standard bikini photoshoot on a beach that wasn’t even fantasy themed. This is unacceptable and felt less than half-assed. Representation isn’t doing the bare minimum, checking it off like something on a to-do list, then moving on, which this felt like.

If women in generic corsets, Hot Topic tutus, and funky dreadfalls can make the cut, they most certainly can feature someone who’s skin is darker than “peach”. If they’re not receiving any poc submissions then they need to ask themselves why a magazine with worldwide circulation can only pull in lily white people, and realize the problem might be with them rather than their audience.

If in 2015 there can be black ballerinas on the cover of dance magazines and poc leads in fantasy media (Galavant, etc), then there most certainly can be a non-white fairy, even one with brown skin. Needless to say, they are no longer getting my $9.99 plus tax until I see some non-white models. If that bikini photoshoot is the best they can do, I’m not going to bother holding my breath.

EDIT: I went through the photos on their facebook account and in all their images I counted less than 10 non-white faces, including crowd scenes. Combined with the fact that Cornwall (the city this magazine is base in) sees tourists from around the world and even has a small poc population, this is disappointing. 10 non-white faces over the course of five years is unimpressive. There have been more posts with poc in the past few months, which is a start.

**Please note, I’m not ragging on the people who submit this type of content or are featured, but rather the magazine staff themselves since they’re the ones who sort through the submissions and approve what gets published.

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