True to form, the social justice warrior crowd has to over-analyze every square inch of a movie for its faults. Not faults in plot, effects, or structure, mind you. They have to complain about the lack of representation of one group or another in a film.
The Black Panther movie is being touted as a great leap forward in movie history due to its focus on black characters, because clearly, a movie has never starred black characters before. Outlets like Salon attempted to paint Black Panther as the first superhero movie with a black lead, which lead to the site being hit with a deluge of corrections by people who actually pay attention to movies. Idiotic hot takes aside, many social justice and racial groups are touting the movie as one that takes a step in the right direction by making 90 percent of its cast black.
But they couldn’t stay happy long. While it’s apparently great that Black Panther is finally dominated by a black cast, it still doesn’t meet other quotas. According to site io9, it’s the LGBT representation that the movie is lacking.
Quick note: You can’t please unpleasable people, and this is Exhibit A.
According to io9, two female characters in the comics are implied to have a sexual relationship. At some point in the movie, screenwriter Joe Robert Cole carried that implication over, but cut it out due to it feeling kind of a shoved-in moment that didn’t really add much to the movie:
The scene you’re talking about, I don’t remember. I can’t remember the exact exchange you’re talking about, but I think it was really brief. I’m not sure. I know that it was not – there wasn’t some major theme through that we were looking to explore with that in terms of the story. We didn’t like, pull out a full thread of some theme. But your friend quite possibly could be right, or I’m maybe having a brain fart here and just can’t remember.
But to the SJWs at io9, it should have been included anyway, and Marvel needs to catch up with the times:
A romance between Okoye and Ayo is the sort of thing that easily could have been included in Black Panther with something as simple as a longing look and a bit of flirting kiss, but it looks like we’re going to have to wait even longer for the MCU’s films to catch up with the times.
The question for me is: who the hell cares?
I belong to a whole host of groups, such as white, libertarian, male, Christian, tall, bearded, gamer, etc, etc. Just because a movie doesn’t shoehorn in any of these things doesn’t make the movie bad. I don’t suddenly feel better about watching a Medea movie because a token white character showed up. I didn’t watch Barbershop to make sure bearded libertarian guys were represented. Friday wasn’t suddenly a bad movie because I didn’t see gamers properly portrayed.
I’m going to go see Black Panther because it looks like a fun movie with dynamic characters and a story that adds to an epic plot set up by many movies before it. The fact that most of the cast is black is not a deciding factor for my enjoyment of the film. If I don’t see one white character, bearded male, libertarian, or Christian in the movie, it won’t move the enjoyment needle. Is the movie good? That’s all I care about. That’s all you should care about.
For social justice warriors, something can only be good if it covers all the identity bases while making sure all the of the causes are discussed properly. The problem is that movies will never be able to do that without sacrificing plot and entertainment factor. That movie would look more like a TED talk, where the cast reads more like a D&D character roster.
“I’m Hadith, a half-black Palestinian gay Muslim, and this is my companion Juniper, a transgender male to female atheist with a +5 in multiple personality disorder. Together with our friend Ed, a Hispanic DREAMer who currently identifies as a polysexual catkin, we are going talk about anonymously bullying us on the internet.”
Spoiler Alert: The guilty parties are white male Trump voters, who are probably funded by the rich and/or the Russians. Get that Emmy ready.
Point is, you will never enjoy anything if the media your consuming has to meet a diversity quota because that quota will never be enough. As you can see, a black cast is now not good enough. Now there aren’t enough gay characters. Soon it will need more transgender characters. Then there aren’t enough disabled characters. Wait, these characters are here, but why aren’t there discussions about these characters’ lives in these movies? These are just token characters. They need to be central to the plot of this movie that should center around superheroes fighting villains.
Inserting identity politics into movies that don’t focus on it is a surefire way to make your movie horrible. Just ask 2016 Ghostbusters.
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