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    Latest Articles

    Latest Topics


    What counts as 'representation' in fiction?

    Recently, the producers of ‘Solo’ announced that the character of Lando, played by Donald Glover, is pansexual. However, this is never explicit in the film and certainly, the word ‘pansexual’ is never said. The LGBTIQ community has responded to this with much criticism, arguing that this doesn’t count as proper representation because not everyone who watches this film will pick up on Lando’s queerness and as such, not everyone will be able to relate to him in this way. This is very similar to the controversy surrounding JK Rowling announcing that Dumbledore is gay, even though it is never clear in the Harry Potter books and even though the producers of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them have said that they are going to erase this part of Dumbledore’s character. This then raises the question of what is ‘representation’ and what is good or harmful ‘representation’?

    • I like this topic; it reminds me of the recent stir Charlie Day and Steven DeKnight created when they confirmed that they wanted to play Newt Geiszler and Hermann Gottlieb as a queer couple in Pacific Rim: Uprising (which, of course, did not happen) and the way Korra and Asami's relationship was handled in Avatar: The Legend of Korra. It's a strange phenomenon that's racked up in the last few years, in which queer coding ceases to be subversive (as it was in the early days of film) and is starting to seem like a half-baked courtship of as many demographics as possible (both the queer community and the religious right). On the other side of the spectrum, there are characters like Bojack Horseman's Todd, who came out as explicitly asexual and connected with the ace community in his area, where the basic tenants of asexuality were essentially explained point blank for the benefit of an uninitiated audience. Obviously, we can't expect all forms of media with a queer character to infodump about queerness (nor would I want it to; I think it worked well in Bojack Horseman, but it's a clunky and awkward thing to have to write into a scene), but the trend of silently queer characters only to be "confirmed" in interviews with actors and content creators does feel like empty pandering. – TheCropsey 6 years ago
    • I think this is a really interesting topic! It seems as though these producers want to profit off of the LGBTQ+ community by stating that a character is queer without the backlash of explicitly stating it in the movie/series itself. – ivanavidakovic 6 years ago

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    Latest Comments

    As someone who is only just outside the target age group of YA and who, from time to time, still reads YA, I have a lot of thoughts about this! In my opinion, what a YA novel really needs is relatability. This comes from talking about topics relevant to the lives of teenagers (mental health, romantic and platonic relationships, thinking about the future etc.) and from having an authentic, often 1st-person character voice. Interesting that the author mentions ‘Looking for Alibrandi’: it’s one of my favourite books of all time and one which includes all of the above.

    I completely agree that the tropes of the love triangle and the chosen one are unfailingly infuriating. Not only are they overdone, as the author acknowledges, they are also unrealistic, which is a problem if YA is supposed to be relatable. But cliched plot lines such as death, illness or bullying are important to YA because real-life teenagers do go through these things and may pick up books such as ‘A Fault In Our Stars’ because they can relate to the characters’ stories.

    This is a great article and a very interesting topic. Well done! 🙂

    Has Cliche’ in Young Adult Literature Decreased It’s Appeal to Adult Readers?

    I am aware that this article was written a couple of years ago but I would still like to express how much I enjoyed reading it! I wasn’t expecting it to be anything more than a brief discussion of ‘vampire representation’ in each of the novels the author speaks about, so I was pleasantly surprised. I especially loved the author’s historical analysis of the vampire with relation to gender, race, age, sexuality etc. A unique and intriguing take on a fascinating cultural phenomenon.

    Vampires in Literature: Opera Cloaks, Sparkles, and Prevailing Themes

    I think it’d be interesting to note that all of these antagonists have parallels with real-world phenomena: Dudley, as the author mentions, is the privileged yet somewhat insecure childhood bully; young Tom Riddle is the outcast who controls people in order to feel better about himself; the dementors are, basically, depression; the Triwizard Tournament, if you’re going to classify it as an ‘antagonist’, is that near-death experience or experience of losing somewhere that makes you realise how short life really is; Umbridge is the personification of capitalist institutions who care more about rules and regulations than people’s humanity; the Death Eaters are neo-nazis, some of whom may have been brainwashed into joining them. As for death, well, I can’t say it better than the author: everyone experiences it and everyone is impacted by it, whether it is your own death, the death of someone else or simply the idea that death is the only thing that is inevitable in our lives.

    Harry Potter: The Importance of Antagonists

    In this day and age, no one is likely to say anything along the lines of ‘I don’t like the casting of Jodie Whittaker because I hate women’ but more, as we’ve seen, ‘casting a woman as a lead role is political correctness gone mad.’ From where I’m sitting, this is just the fragile male ego rearing its ugly head at the thought of a woman playing a lead role. Also, as a diehard Whovian, I’ve never thought that The Doctor should have just one gender, so I think it makes completely sense that the BBC are changing it up in this way. I vaguely understand why some people are upset that young boys are losing a role model but actually, they aren’t: they already have twelve, plus many more in many different kinds of media!

    A Female #doctor13: Why the Controversy?