In Brightest Day: Teen Wolf’s Erica Reyes and Chronic Illness

Hey all, today marks the beginning of Invisible Illness Awareness Week, and I wanted to draw attention to invisible, chronic illness in pop culture media, if indeed there was any representation. Since I am someone living with a chronic illness, this is very important to me. As you may know by now, Teen Wolf is a show that is near and dear to my heart (i.e. an obsession) and Season 2 introduced the character of Erica Reyes, an epileptic high school student who becomes a werewolf. Despite the fact that lycanthropy acted as a cure for her illness, she still helps paint a picture of some of the issues surrounding those with chronic illness. But how accurate was her portrayal? What was problematic and what was done well?

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Magical Mondays: Artificial Life in Harry Potter

Hogwarts portraits staircaseHogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has no doubt captured the imaginations of thousands upon thousands of fans. Who doesn’t want to go there? It’s got moving staircases, doors that won’t open unless you tickle them, dangerous death traps giant three-headed dogs, and talking pictures.

As someone who really loves drawing and occasionally painting, the idea of a world where pictures could talk and move really appealed to me. After all, it left so many questions. Do pictures drawn by wizards and witches automatically move, or is there a certain spell or series of spells they must undergo first? If it’s the former, when do they start moving? Is it when the picture’s done, or during the drawing process (which would make drawing really hard)?

Regardless of how it happens, looking back, I found that the whole concept of the talking Hogwarts portraits was rich with themes for potential abuse.

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Nobody Expects the… Straight White Dude?: Disappointment in Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age Inquisition CompanionsI’m a girl who, if there’s a chance for a choice-driven romance dictated by the player in a game, will be about 70% more likely to buy said game. Or at least I’m 70% more likely to dedicate my brain-space to the consideration of buying it. I have no shame in saying, then, that one of the huge draws of the Dragon Age series for me are its potential romances. After what feels like like an eternity, one of the last possible love interests for DA: Inquisition has been revealed to the denizens of the internet last Thursday. With fan-favorites Varric (the charming surface dwarf) and Vivienne (an intriguing mage from the court of France-inspired Orlais) at the tip of fans’ tongues for “most wanted love interest”, the reveal of the newest LI—the Grey Warden, Blackwall—left a huge portion of the fandom underwhelmed and even hurt. These feelings stem not from feelings of entitlement, but from a sense that despite the game’s astounding nine romancible characters, this newest installment of the Dragon Age series has taken a step backward for minority representation.

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Oh, My Pop Culture Religion: Fandom as Religion?

Harry Potter Jesus

(picture via nutsandreasons)

Many of you have probably heard old jokes about how some fandom is someone’s religion, or that it’s “bigger than Jesus”. But then I got to thinking: what are the big differences between participating in a fandom and being a member of a religion? Personally, I grew up during the rise of the Harry Potter fandom and hold a couple of degrees in theology. The biggest and most obvious difference between fandom and religion is that (most) religions demand that one believe in the divine. Fandoms, on the other hand, don’t even need to bother with such metaphysical questions of the universe (if they don’t want to). But other than God, just how much is being in a fandom like being a member of a religion?

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Sexualized Saturdays: Loveless and Virginity

loveless ritsuka soubiThe manga series Loveless is… well, it’s a weird one. It’s admittedly terrible, vaguely shounen-ai, and based in a universe where magically linked pairs of fighters battle in duels based on language—but none of that is what I want to talk about today. Rather, I want to talk about one of the stranger details that mangaka Yun Kouga included in the series: namely, virginity as a visible trait.

In Loveless, humans are born with cat ears and a tail—bear with me—and shed them after they lose their virginity. And while this could have made for an interesting discussion of virgin- and slut-shaming and effectively parodied our own society’s obsession with both, I found the actual implementation of the idea disappointing at best.

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Storm Is Blowing Me Away

storm coverWe’ve said much on the topic of diversity in Marvel’s recent additions to its comics lineup. However, more is always better, so today I’m back to tell you about the new Storm ongoing series that premiered in July. Spoiler alert: I’m loving it so far. Continue reading