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    Do stereotypes limit roles for characters of color?

    Explore how common racial stereotypes have inhibited character archetypes for characters of color. For example, Asian women have been stereotyped as hypersexual in Western media, so many Asian writers have avoided this characterization for their Asian characters in order to defy stereotypes. However, this creates a stigma where Asian female characters are not allowed to be sexual without inadvertently fitting a Western stereotype. Is purposefully writing characters that don’t fit stereotypes really progressive, or is it simply another case of racists controlling the narratives that POC can write?

    More specific examples:
    -hyper-sexualization of Black characters
    – "comedic" de-sexualization of Asian male characters
    – Indigenous people as "shamans"

    • Stereotypes do limit the roles of characters, however, you don't need to center their stories on how Western media portrays them. Steer away from viewing them as objects and only catering to the male gaze. – shivzd00 8 months ago

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    Latest Comments

    Interesting article! Emma has been one of my favorite novels for many years, and I enjoyed your analysis. I’ve always liked Emma as a heroine because her faults make her relatable. She’s not trying to be well-liked; she’s just being her flawed self. She’s refreshing compared to the perfect or one-dimensional heroines in many other novels of the time.

    I do find the age gap between Emma and Mr. Knightley uncomfortable – not because he is older than her, but because he knew her since she was a child and it seems his feelings for her started while she was still underage. (It’s not so obvious in the film adaptations because the actors are closer in age, but in the book, it’s quite off-putting). I personally prefer to picture Mr. Knightley as a family friend only a few years older than Emma. That said, a lot of the ideas surrounding their relationship are lovely. Emma spends her whole life studying other people, but she doesn’t really know what she wants for herself (partly because she is so devoted to her overprotective father). I think people often characterize Emma as selfish because she likes being the center of attention and constantly thinks about how situations will affect her own life, but she actually lives a pretty selfless life because she has dedicated her entire life to her father. When she decides to marry Mr. Knightley, she is finally making an important choice as an independent woman. While Knightley isn’t a perfect love interest, I think he respects Emma enough to tell her the truth, whereas Churchill is a smooth-talking liar (in that way, they mirror Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham from Pride and Prejudice). Also, Emma’s decision to marry is completely in her own hands – she’s not forced to wed for money or status. Therefore, I do think Emma is feminist – especially for the time it was written.

    Jane Austen's 'Emma': How Austen Writes an Independent Woman

    This is a really interesting article! I’m not personally a fan of the “brooding mysterious guy” characters, but I think a lot of female writers like to explore this archetype because these characters exist outside of reality. In the real world, the patriarchy puts women at a disadvantage, and bad men are dangerous to women. But the female writer holds all the power to shape the fictional bad boy into whatever she wants him to be. Since she’s the one in charge, she can give him a moral code or manners that a real bad boy wouldn’t have. In a way, it allows women to reclaim power in a patriarchy.

    That said, I don’t think these characters should be romanticized as examples of what women should look for in partners. It’s ok to use literature as a safe way to explore these dynamics, and I do understand why some women find them appealing. But we must maintain a strong line between fantasy and reality.

    Men Written by Women: Dreamboats or Brutes?

    Excellent analysis! I really appreciate your viewpoint and agree with your conclusions. If the POC in a movie are only there for comic relief at their own expense, that’s not true representation and the film industry needs to do better.

    Racist Undertones in "A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding"