The Negative Space (w/ Dave Ward) – issue #22: Inclusiveness – It’s Good, But It Isn’t New

Welcome to another edition of “The Negative Space” the most controversial, most often griped about, and in a strange twist, most popular column at Nerd Nation.

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Since it’s been a while, and it’s a new year, before we begin, let’s reiterate a couple ground rules…
–  1: This is an OPINION column. No more. No less. Take it for what it’s worth. Take it with a grain of salt, a shot of penicillin, or whatever you need to get you through it.
–  2: This is NOT YouTube, it’s not Reddit, and it’s certainly not 4chan. Sound off all you want in the comments section, but keep in mind that ANY hateful, mean-spirited, or especially outright racist/sexist/phobic comments (about anyone, not just the group(s) you’re championing) will be screened, won’t be tolerated, and will not be published.
–  3: If you don’t like the topic, this column, or the writer, you can always just go read something else. The internet is a big place, after all.

Okay, so now that we’ve established that, let’s get right down to it.
To all of the “finally we have (fill in the blank) in this type of role” crowd out there… I’m sorry, I really am, but someone needs to say it. You’re not special.

That’s right, I said it, you are not special, and you are not holding the golden exclusivity ticket on anything the fandom world has come out with recently. From Wonder Woman, to the 13th Doctor, along with the outcry of cultural and racial additions to both the silver and small screens, its mind boggling how people just don’t really pay attention to history anymore. Let us take a few examples and show how wrong many of you are, shall we?

Wonder Woman: one of the highest grossing superhero movies ever, easily the best cinematic offering DC/Warner Bros has come up with ever (not that it’s a high bar, but at least they got this one right), possibly the best portrayal of the iconic comic character in 70+ years. Yet all so many people out there in internet-land could focus on before the release was how Gal Gadot wasn’t large/curvy/whatever enough, how she had no armpit hair, and now that its blown everything else away, these same mongoloids whom are devoid of historical knowledge, think that this is a first for a female heroine who sets the bar and paves the way. It was great, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

I won’t go back into the dark ages on this one, but I shall rewind you to 1979 when Ridley Scott introduced the sci-fi world to Ellen Ripley and the crew of the Nostromo, and one really nasty Xenomorph.  The Nostromo crew was systematically killed, but Ripley was not going out like that, and ultimately blew the Alien out of an airlock into space.  Fast Forward to 1986, and director James Cameron brings Ripley back to LV426 with a platoon of Marines;  who makes it at the end? Yep. You guessed it.  While there are other shining examples of this type of Heroine chracter, this is the one that sticks out in my mind as one of the best of all time. And please notice that I didn’t even bring up the Wonder Woman TV series, which was also excellent, for the record.

TV has been a big talking point with tons of new shows releasing with strong female lead characters. Doctor Who has broken with its traditions and has chosen the 13th Doctor to be a female. Cue the little whiny ones again, crowing about finally a female lead in a major science fiction series. Nope. Still wrong. You don’t even have to go back farther than the 1990’s to squash this one.  I will just name a few strong female leads that have come way before the 13th Doctor. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, XENA Warrior Princess, Captain Kathryn Janeway, Dark Angel, everyone in Charmed, should I go on?

Minorities in leads in fandom have also been ground down by idiots that don’t know history.  While Gene Roddenberry was instrumental in breaking down color barriers in TV/Movies as far as casting minorities, and did this in the 1960s, and onward into today, there were plenty of others as well. Blade, Spawn, Ben Hanser, Zoe Washburne, Ford Prefect, again I could go on, but I’m sure you get the idea.

All of these hit works, were not only written in book or comic form, but also successfully adapted to either TV or Movie and cast the actors/actresses appropriately.  Had these people actually taken the time to learn history before spouting off like an internet lunatic (or worse, one of those ivory tower “social justice” types), they might have actually just been happy with these things, and not made such a big stink. Of course, these pockets of extremism (yes, on both sides of the sociopolitical spectrum) on the internet are never just happy with anything, and seem to always have something else to rage about, some other cause to champion, and some other way to be unhappy about everything. Here in the information age, sensationalism sells, controversy creates cash, and jumping all over every “issue” is the hot thing that always goes over. After all, I’m writing this column, and you’re reading it.

Look, I’m not saying that these new properties celebrating diversity and inclusiveness aren’t great. They are. Wonder Woman, Black Panther, and Doctor Who are proving that it can be done really well, on a huge budget, to a huge success, and they all deserve all the praise they’re getting. I’m just saying that acting like they’re the only ones is just ludicrous, not to mention completely false.

While it is great that these new adaptations of characters continue to knock down the barriers or sexism and racism in the fandom worlds, it doesn’t do any of us any favors when a lot of you spout off before knowing really what you are talking about, and proves just as divisive as the root issues themselves. And quite frankly, it’s very disrespectful of so many others that came before to just act like they never happened, or that they didn’t pave the way, kick the door open, and establish the very foundations that made all of these new, popular properties possible.

Learn your history and appreciate it for what it paved the way for you to be entertained with now, otherwise we may be doomed to repeat it. Of course, this is just my opinion, but

This is Dave Ward, and you have just warped through the Negative Space.

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– Dave Ward
Columnist/First Ambassador: Nerd Nation Magazine
@DaveWard1279 

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Please Note: the views and opinions expressed by Mr. Ward are entirely his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Nerd Nation Magazine, our sponsors, or anyone else, for that matter. This is an opinion column, and is intended for entertainment purposes only, so please don’t be a d-bag and leave a bunch of mean comments or try to sue anyone over the stuff he writes. If it offends and/or infuriates, we encourage you to just go read something else… preferably right here on Nerd Nation!

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