The newest season of RWBY was, in my opinion, one of the better seasons: the animation was beautiful and the characters continued to grow in impactful ways. There were unsurprisingly a few missteps, but one of these missteps almost ruined the entire season for me—and while it didn’t, it certainly took me out of a couple episodes. Before this season, RWBY didn’t offer too much in the ways of characters with physical disabilities, but the characters they did show were pretty badass. Torchwick’s right hand woman, Neo, managed to be intimidating, skilled, and infuriating (in a good, villain-y way) all without use of her voice, and Cinder’s companion, Mercury, used his prosthetic legs as naturally and dangerously as any trained warrior would. Their disabilities didn’t define either one or hold either of them back, it was just a part of who they were. Which is why I was disappointed and frustrated that in RWBY Season 4, the characters now learning how to live with their new physical disabilities weren’t given the same sort of narrative support—a problem most heinously shown through the character Yang.
Also, calling Yang’s power a “temper tantrum” was like, really shitty, too. Taiyang’s definitely not getting any “dad of the year” awards any time soon. (via Reddit)
A couple moments ago, I was finally able to listen to the season finale of the podcast Alice Isn’t Dead. We have already discussed how much we love this podcast, but now, I want to specifically talk about how it portrays disability. Usually stories show someone’s disability as a weakness they need to overcome in order to be “real heroes”, or they are portrayed as gaining extra supernatural abilities that more than “makes up” for their disability. But Alice Isn’t Dead did something wholly different: the podcast showed how someone can use their disability to help them get through a situation.
Major spoilers for Alice Isn’t Dead and a trigger warning for anxiety & panic attacks after the jump.
Coping mechanisms are an essential part of life for everyone, whether you have any sort of a disability or not. Humans have learned to try and cope with various things that can be harmful or upsetting to them. For example, I tend to internalize every negative thing that someone says to me and make every little comment into something about what a worthless person I am, which greatly contributes to my low self-esteem. This is not healthy, and it is why I see a therapist, who attempts to help me develop a healthy coping mechanism to deal with my negative self-image. Good coping mechanisms are essential to living a healthy life. However, coping mechanisms can also be bad. For example, drinking to deal with depression is a bad coping mechanism because it is ultimately harmful to your health and well being.
Comics, unfortunately, tend to show characters coping in harmful ways, like having Batman deal with his grief by having him beat up on other mentally ill people. Other characters are shown just powering through their issues by sheer force of will and totally overcoming them by the next comic. This is not only a false representation of how to cope with trauma or other issues, but it’s also an extremely dangerous one, because it can convince people who could benefit from counseling that they should be able to overcome things by themselves. Deadpool, however, is not one of those characters. The recent Deadpool movie really shone in its portrayal of trauma and mental illness. We see both Deadpool and Vanessa trying to cope with grief, trauma, and mental and terminal illness by using humor as a coping mechanism.
Spoilers for the Deadpool movie below, and trigger warnings for rape and abuse.
The other major part of this series is the real reason I wanted to rec this work. The sequel to You’ll Get There in the End is called War Games, and where the previous work was all about the Kirk/Spock relationship and sex and romance, the sequel is in essence a rollicking space pirate adventure story.
Howdy, readers! How would you like an adventure story for today? A story full of intrigue and political plots? A story that’s almost as confusing as the canon it comes from? Then grab a seat and get ready to hear about the most intense Homestuck fanfic I’ve ever read.
Hello, readers, we here at LGG&F have an announcement to make. Starting off 2015, we are taking a short break and will be on a hiatus for a couple days. We will return with new content January 6th, but until then, we’re reblogging some of our favorite posts for your enjoyment. Happy New Year, and we’ll be back soon! And also, if you like what we do here and are interested in joining the LGG&F team, don’t forget to check out our Careers page and drop us a line!
In the Heights tells the stories of multiple people living in the NYC barrio of Washington Heights. The music, composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, is known for being one of the first hip-hop scores to find some success on Broadway. The production is also known for having a predominantly Latino cast and this is what really spoke to me.
As with many other forms of media, prostitution is shown as pretty much the lowest possible rung a woman can reach. Sometimes it’s used as a code word that means ‘she has a tragic backstory’; sometimes it’s used to show just how low she has been brought. Either way, if you’re a sex worker in a musical, odds are you’re gonna have a bad time.
A few weeks ago, Arrow’s third season began with an incredibly shocking first episode. And now, four episodes later, all the characters are still dealing with the tragedy. This tragedy—a major character death—was completely unexpected. I didn’t mind what happened, despite how much I adored said character, but dealing with the death of a loved one seems to be a recurring trend with Laurel’s character. In the first season, she was still coming to terms with her sister’s death. In the second season, she turned to drugs and alcohol after Tommy died. And now, in the third season, she is using another death as an excuse to engage in some truly ableist behavior.
A couple days ago I posted an In Brightest Day about how pop culture likes to present mental hospitals as horrible, abusive institutions. Very rarely do I ever see them represented in a positive light, and I think there’s a reason for that. It’s easy to demonize mental hospitals for the sake of horror, and since mental hospitals have a bad reputation in the public consciousness, that horror can sink deep. After all, what’s scarier than a place that can hurt you under the false pretense of healing? Especially when no one else will believe anything you say because they also think you’re insane?
This idea, presented over and over again, discourages people with actual mental disorders from seeking help, and even more upsetting, many of these narratives are not even about people with mental disabilities. While this isn’t true for all of these stories—the villains in Batman do need help, and Niki from Heroes suffered from dissociative identity disorder—it’s certainly true for enough of them. Refusing to give the titular characters mental disabilities increases the horror aspect of mental hospitals. After all, it’s bad enough these hospitals can hurt you and no one will believe anything you say, but what if you don’t even belong there? What if you’re institutionalized against your will? Or for the wrong reasons? As such, the characters who actually are mentally disabled end up being erased from their own narrative.
Way back in 1962, Ken Kesey published One Who Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Over ten years later, it was adapted into a movie by the same name. One Who Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest isn’t in our wheelhouse, but its portrayal of mental hospitals is certainly worth mentioning. Both the novel and the movie came out at a time when mental hospitals had a lot more problems than they do now, especially in terms of how patients are treated and handled. As such, the story ended up being a social commentary on those institutions at the time.
This is a marvelous thing, as there were certainly issues that needed to be addressed. And while I wouldn’t give One Who Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest all the credit for addressing those issues, thankfully nowadays, mental hospitals are a lot better than they used to be. That’s not to say that they don’t still have problems, because they do. Unfortunately, when we see mental institutions represented in pop culture today, those problems are highlighted to an unusual degree, normally to turn mental hospitals into a thing of horror.
This does a great disservice to both the people who actually need help and the people who genuinely want to help them. When we constantly present mental hospitals as horrible places designed to harm patients under the false pretense of actual psychiatric care and further demonize the staff who work there, people with actual mental disorders who need help are less likely to seek out that help. We internalize the messages that popular culture teaches us, regardless of whether or not they’re true—and one of those messages is unfortunately that mental hospitals are horrible places that should be avoided at all costs.
I think we can all agree that Robert Arryn from A Song of Ice and Fire is one of the most obnoxious kids to ever appear in literature or television. I can find hardly anyone who doesn’t dislike him. And watching Sansa slap him in “Mockingbird” was probably one of Game of Thrones’s more satisfying occasions since Joffrey died.
Robert is not a big character in either the books or the show—we rarely see him—but even with limited appearances, he is one of those characters who can easily and very quickly leave a negative and long-lasting impression on the viewer. For me personally, whenever I see Robert in the television show or come across a book chapter he happens to be in, I don’t know who I hate more: Robert, or every person who had a hand in his upbringing. And speaking of hating Robert, I’m not even sure it’s really fair of me to hate a small child for being a horrible product of a horrible environment. In some ways, I pity him. Sadly for Robert, as entitled, spoiled, and pampered as he is, his mother—and I suspect his father as well to some extent—has abused him since the day he was born.
Many people do not understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. It is often mistakenly assumed that drug abusers lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop using drugs simply by choosing to change their behavior. In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting takes more than good intentions or a strong will. In fact, because drugs change the brain in ways that foster compulsive drug abuse, quitting is difficult, even for those who are ready to do so.
From Tony Stark’s alcoholism to Sherlock Holmes’s 7% solution, geek media is rife with portrayals of addiction and substance abuse. As someone who has watched close friends and family members struggle with real addiction, I have a very personal stake in these fictional portrayals. It means a lot to me if a show that includes an addict among its characters takes the time to treat addiction as the complex problem it is. And because of this, I am tremendously turned off by shows that act like an addiction is something that can easily be gotten rid of.