Here we go again: representation matters! I say this so much I should get it as a tattoo. But I really believe in this mantra. Today I want to talk about one of the more straightforward ways to include representation in video games. I’m referring to player avatars.
If at any point this Wednesday you happened to hear a screech of victory carried on the early autumn air, that was probably me. Sorry if I startled you. As any regular readers will surely know by now, I have been both deeply invested in and deeply dubious of Al Ewing’s claims about Loki’s gender fluidity and the appropriate representation thereof. Over the course of ten issues, I went from cautiously optimistic to staunchly pessimistic to pleasantly surprised, but though the hints and mentions of Loki’s unconventional relationship with gender have been leaning in the right direction, they have heretofore remained simply hints and mentions. Rejoice, happy readers, for the cloud of vagueness has passed, the indistinct hand-waving has coalesced into fact, there shall be no more shrugs and “ehh” noises. As of Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm #5, Loki is expressly and unambiguously stated to be both male and female in nature. Raise a glass.
I was planning to write about how skeevy it is that literally all the clones on Orphan Black are/were in relationships with their monitors (don’t worry, I’ll get to that in a sec), but thinking about this brought me to an unpleasant realization: just how common it is for shows with main female protagonists to have a system of male oversight/regulation above them. If that wasn’t bad enough, we never see an inverse parallel where women oversee/regulate men, nor even situations of matriarchal oversight for female characters. Spoiler alert for Orphan Black and Buffy the Vampire Slayer after the jump.
Take a step back everyone, it’s time for a bombshell: I am finally reasonably convinced that Al Ewing is genuinely and deliberately making an effort to portray Loki as genderfluid (or at least, something other than cisgender). Regular readers will recall that I had some issues with Ewing’s semantics regarding Loki’s gender and sexuality, but this concern and many others have been assuaged by Loki: Agent of Asgard #5, wherein Lorelei utilizes her other talents, Verity saves everyone’s butts, and Loki finally catches up with… Loki.
You’ve seen the movies, you’ve read the books; cross-dressing is a common theme in fiction. It’s in mythology, history, folklore, literature, operas, plays, movies, television, and even music. Most importantly though, it has caught the attention of the alternative and dare I say? nerdy aspects in the pop-culture experience that we call life.
There are a few different kinds of plot points based on cross dressing. A very popular one, especially by those such as Shakespeare is one I like to call: Girls in Caps and Trousers. Women dressing as men have been both a cultural and historical phenomena. Some are trying to find their lost loves, some to fight in a war, and some just want the same privileges and opportunities their brothers get. Since there are many of examples of this particular trope (Japanese anime has hundreds of them) I will stick to only a couple.
First, a history lesson: angels, biblically speaking, are horny bastards. The entirety of the Book of Enoch is all about angels sleeping with human women. Angels in the Bible even have genders. Most tend to be men but there are various books that also include female angels. However, they are also spiritual beings with no physical body. Angels that slept with human women in the Book of Enoch weren’t supposed to because it was against their nature. Furthermore, the angels’ genders seem to not matter, as they have no need to breed, even with each other. Because it seemed unnecessary for angels to have genders or have sex, eventually a tradition developed that believed angels had no gender and did not have sex.
Supernatural, especially in the fourth and fifth seasons, draws heavily on these Biblical traditions, but seems like it can’t decide which one they want to go with.
So let’s talk about Supernatural’s angels!
Hi again, readers! I am apparently a glutton for punishment, and my MLP series is winding down finally, so of course I’m picking up another topic that I’ve been desperately wanting to talk about: Cosplay.
Cosplay is a huge part of my life (it’s even a bit of a profession) and I know all of sorts people who do all sorts of cosplay. I’ve been cosplaying since 2005 (ohgod that’s so long ago) when I made my first costume (Lirin, from Saiyuki). I’ve grown both as a costume-maker and a cosplayer since then, and this upcoming April I’ll be attending my fifteenth convention. I’ve gone from a lone cosplayer to the fearless leader of a group of loyal cosplay friends/minions with whom I’ve done groups as large as the Ouran Host Club.
In this series I want to look at a number of topics within the realm of cosplay, from why people do it, to cosplay’s connection to sexuality and gender expression, to the problem of objectification in cosplay. This series is going to be a bit more open-ended than the last – I’m not going to preset any particular number of posts and topics before I begin – so if you have any ideas for a future cosplay post, let me know! I’d love to write about it.