Thursday, January 13, 2011

Iron Man 2 in a Sexist and Racist World

(This was written for a political science class. See also a fifteen-minute video version here.)

The 2010 American superhero film Iron Man 2, sequel to the 2008 Iron Man, is in its purest form a fantasy appealing to the white male demographic. While the film makes some attempts to be respectful to its black male and white female characters, ultimately it is the white male characters that are the ones given power and respect in the plot of the movie. White male protagonist Tony Stark is a womanizer and self-identified narcissist who forms the basis of the male fantasy by presenting an exaggerated figure with which the male viewers can identify to enjoy power, respect, and the ability to ogle attractive women while simultaneously having the traditionally feminine and stable love interest Pepper Potts. Tony Stark’s black friend James Rhodes appears as a similar powerful masculine figure, presumably with whom the black male audience is supposed to identify, but he takes a secondary sidekick role to Stark. Ultimately, the movie truly pays respect to white men, while leaving all others in a secondary position.

Response to "New Moon and domestic violence"

I ran into a post on Feministing, called "New Moon and domestic violence". It asserts that New Moon problematically depicts Quileutes as naturally abusive because of the werewolf thing, which is racist against Native Americans. The post describes how domestic violence is a serious problem in Native American communities, and New Moon makes it seem like Native Americans are naturally abusive. I find the post heavily flawed, and offer this as my response.

Invictus as a 2009 American Film

(This was written for a political science class. I think I went a little overboard with the Mandela/Obama parallel because I needed to write something to meet the minimum limit, but I wholeheartedly stand by the ‘terrorist threat’ part.)

The 2009 American movie Invictus depicts the beginning of the administration of President Nelson Mandela of the country of South Africa in the years 1994 and 1995 (Invictus). The movie is about how Mandela helped to overcome the lingering prejudices left over from the apartheid regime by unifying the black and white peoples of his nation over the national rugby team playing in and winning the World Cup. Invictus can be analyzed in the context of when it was produced and for whom. Specifically, Invictus functions as an idealistic American celebration of revolution for a just cause and of the ideal of ending racial prejudice, created for the contemporary American people with characters and situations directly relatable. Mandela holds some similarities to President Barack Obama of the United States, both being the first black presidents of their nations, and we as an audience are meant to identify with him as the enlightened hope for the future. Invictus presents an apparently successful struggle to reach a utopian ideal of racial equality in such a way that it arrives in a position to ease the existing racial tensions of the contemporary United States under Barack Obama.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Goa'uld and Yeerk Sexuality (Stargate/Animorphs)

So, I’ve watched all of Stargate SG-1, and I’m confused about the sexuality of the Goa’uld (and Tok’ra, which I’m just going to call Goa’uld because it’s easier1). How do they reproduce? Do they have genders? If they do have genders, how are they distinguished? This confusion is worsened by exposition that seems to change the nature of the Goa’uld physiology over the course of the show, retroactive continuity change that isn’t clearly resolved, specifically in regard to the Goa’uld queens.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Male AI Images

I'm posting this here because I think it's awesome, and to explain my "gender non-conforming AI" image. There's this light sculpture in Japan called The Man With No Shadow, and it looks remarkably like a male version of Cortana from Halo 2 and Halo 3. This is Cortana here:

And this is The Man With No Shadow: