[captain america 1 & 2]
[trenchcoat angel castiel]
[game of thrones]
Enduring the frost. <3
it was not ego that caused
you to fly too close,
it was the insatiable human
need to reach up and
dance among the galaxies
Everything Brennan says is also something I want to draw so that’s convenient
Know Your Tropes re: Miss Mills
Although Abbie Mills is an individualistic character and has been treated as such by the narrative and fans alike, I’m still seeing some phrases, arguments and fanworks that reduce her and marginalise her (it doesn’t matter if it’s unintentional, the impact is still the same). Some wonderful fans have done a great job educating people, but it seems as though a few things constantly need to be reiterated. I realise that not everyone recognises pervasive negative stereotypes of women of colour because they’re so accepted and perpetuated in media (even by people of colour). It’s especially difficult to understand what’s so negative about certain phrases if you’re not a woman of colour; therefore listed below are the offending arguments with helpful resources, so that people who are ignorant of the stereotypes associated with them can familiarise themselves.
Note: For all the accusations of sexism in fandom about the general disregard for Katrina, an awful lot of people seem to be completely clueless about statements they’re upholding as “feminist” re: Abbie and how some of these supposed “feminist” mantras are actually inherently misogynistic when applied to black women of colour.
"Abbie Mills is so sassy!"
There’s a big difference between referring to Ichabod as sassy and Abbie as sassy. Sassy is a common descriptor used to characterise black women; it’s a word that seems outwardly positive, but is the current form of a caricature that arose during slavery and jim crow (first came the sassy mammy, then the sapphire which evolved to the sassy black woman). Some of you might note fans of colour are (understandably) irritated by this phrase (specifically when non-black people use it) and here’s some historical context for why that is:
From the 1800s through the mid-1900s, black women were often portrayed in popular culture as "Sassy Mammies" who ran their own homes with iron fists, including berating black husbands and children. These women were allowed, at least symbolically, to defy some racial norms. During the Jim Crow period, when real blacks were often beaten, jailed, or killed for arguing with whites, fictional Mammies were allowed to pretend-chastise whites, including men. Their sassiness was supposed to indicate that they were accepted as members of the white family, and acceptance of that sassiness implied that slavery and segregation were not overly oppressive. A well-known example of a Sassy Mammy was Hattie McDaniel, a black actress who played feisty, quick-tempered mammies in many movies, including Judge Priest (Wurtzel & Ford, 1934), Music is Magic (Stone & Marshall, 1935), The Little Colonel (DeSylva & Butler, 1935), Alice Adams (Berman & Stevens, 1935), Saratoga (Hyman & Conway, 1937), The Mad Miss Manton (Wolfson & Jason, 1938), and Gone With the Wind (Selznick & Fleming, 1939). In these roles she was sassy (borderline impertinent) but always loyal. She was not a threat to the existing social order.
The myths of Mammy, Jezebel and Sapphire “have their roots in negative anti-woman mythology.” Moreover, at any time, each of these images is used to characterize African American women in a monolithic image. Consequently, many people find it difficult to appreciate the diversity of African American women and instead impose identities based on negative stereotypes.
The characterizations of African American women as asexual Mammys, promiscuous Jezebels, and antagonistic Sapphires reaffirm society’s belief that African American women are less individualistic than white women. These stereotypes, which evolved during slavery, continued to exist after the end of slavery and still contribute to the unique harassment experiences of African American women today.
"Why can’t Abbie be a strong independent woman who don’t need no man?"
This phrase has taken on an entirely different purpose (in mainstream culture) from its original usage. I’ve seen it applied as an argument for anti-shipping Ichabod and Abbie and to be quite frank, it’s a convergence of several stereotypes used in racist memes and depictions of black women. The independent black woman is seen as narcissistic, overachieving, and emasculating (typically toward black men); she’s robotic and desexualised. There’s absolutely nothing, nothing, refreshing about Abbie being read as only “strong” “independent” and “manless,” as black women are constantly read and portrayed this way in media.
Why can’t Abbie be this woman? Because Abbie shouldn’t have to be; Abbie is much more than stereotypes and attempting to fit her into a neat little package because that’s the only way some of you can understand or relate to her is lazy and insulting. Additionally (whether applied to Abbie or not), this sentiment is pretty heteronormative and erases queer identities. It also further reinforces another common narrative that black women don’t need to be cared for, are incapable of being cared for and loved, or are incapable of long-lasting romantic relationships for a plethora of reasons.
"Perhaps the most dangerous stereotype, however, is ‘Sapphire’ because, to paraphrase Harris-Perry, if ‘Sapphire’ internalizes the myth of the “strong Black woman” and takes pride in being her, she may not demand help, justice or a voice at the table."
"The Strong Black Woman trope, when internalized, can justify not seeking medical help when our bodies require it, mental health help when our minds demand it, or social support when our spirits are crying out for it. All of this could help explain why we are more likely to die from all manner of health ailments than white women, if we are ever diagnosed or treated to begin with."
"Why can’t two people of ‘opposite genders’ just be friends?"
Note: I used the phrase “opposite genders” because I’m quoting the comments I’ve seen, but there’s no such thing as only two genders. Opposite implies that there’s a binary and it also excludes non-binary and trans individuals that exist. Abbie and Ichabod are cis gender and of different genders, but not “opposite genders”; those of you using this might want to revise it to something else.
It should be simple enough to understand why this doesn’t apply to Abbie/Ichabod because it’s right in front of our faces. Anyone who says this is working under the assumption that media representation is equal across the board for women of colour, which is a blatantly false assertion.
How many black female leads do you see on mainstream television or in movies? How many of those are often upgraded from friend to lover? How many non-stereotypical secondary black female characters do you see with proper character development? How many black female characters do you see having the affection and respect of the male lead? How many black female characters do you see in committed loving relationships?
People keep insisting that there should be TV shows where men and women are friends, as if they have never existed—as if they don’t exist right now on TV. They have existed, they do exist. In fact, when it comes to black women, they are almost always portrayed as the best friend and maybe you haven’t noticed because they’re usually in the background, but this trope has literally been lambasted in satirical skits for decades now. What you might think is innovative and refreshing is actually so lousy and tired; it’s the tropiest trope of all tropes.
Current TV shows with black best friends: True Blood, Glee
Comparatively, white female characters get to be the best friend to both women and men (Ten and Donna, Harry and Hermione, Willow and Xander), the friend who gets upgraded to lover (Bones, Castle), the lead (all the pairings and shows I listed), etc. Black women are typically only portrayed as the best friend, if at all, because they and other women of colour usually don’t exist as fully realised characters in mainstream Western media or literature. You can’t attribute media portrayals of white women as representation for women of colour, who barely have a presence in media and don’t exist as more than just tropes and stereotypes.
There are very few narratives that actually suggest that black women are good enough to be serious romantic partners. Men of all races (yes even black men) are portrayed as unattainable for black women, and whether it’s true or not, the media perpetuates this myth that contributes to the marginalisation of black women. Characters who are both black and women have different power dynamics, stereotypes, and expectations in popular narratives—they are often either desexualised or hypersexualised, but are never placed on a pedestal as the perfect representation of femininity the way white women usually are. This is a concept that also has origins in slavery:
For centuries, African American women have been contrasted with white women. While the Victorian concept of “true womanhood” defined white women as possessing unquestionable moral character, African American women were defined as immoral and sinful.
The few black women who are canonically portrayed as romantic partners for the lead male, are also often erased or relegated to the black best friend of a white male slash ship in fanfiction/fandom (Guinevere from Merlin, Uhura from Star Trek, Tara Thornton from True Blood). Both the media and the fans have a nasty habit of devaluing and defeminising black female characters.
So in conclusion, please stop it fandom; stop using the excuse that there’s too much romanticisation in media because you prefer to not see this relationship between this [black] female lead and her costar evolve into something romantic.
There are plenty of shows on TV available for you to “fill your gap” of male/female friendships. In fact, even Sleepy Hollow has a few characters to choose from; Jenny and Ichabod would make a smashing pair of friends. Additionally, take a look through all the programming on the 100s of channels available to you, there are plenty of female/male relationships on them—for example, Joan Watson and Sherlock Holmes on Elementary (though this isn’t my favourite example because Joan’s position is also unique and complicated as an Asian American woman of colour in a lead role).
Interracial relationships involving black women are not the norm, so behaving as though it’s an overdone trope is completely disingenuous. Portraying a black woman as precious to the male lead not just as a friend, but as a lover, is a subversion of typical tropes and is in fact resistance against misogynistic portrayals of black women.
There’s probably a lot more to be said, but I’ve already spent far too much time on something that might end up being quite futile. Here are some quotes by Kerry Washington (since so many people like to evoke “Scandal” as the single overwhelming proof of representation for black women) that underscore the point:
Re: Django“How often do you see black women rescued by the man they love on screen?” asks Washington. “I’m a womanist and that’s real but there is a beauty in knowing that the man you love will do anything to find you and will do it at any cost. We all want to be that princess and know how that feels and want to believe it’s possible for anyone. Black women deserve to see that and believe it too.”
"Look, I can see how it’s not particularly feminist to play the princess in the tower, waiting to be saved. But as a black woman—we’ve never been afforded that luxury. There was no man coming to save you; it wasn’t part of the story. In some ways, this telling is a statement of empowerment.”
Instead of fathers freaking out every time their teenage daughters go on a date with a boy, why don’t they just raise better sons?
i keep wondering about that! it’s so normalized, even expected, for men to “look out for” their daughters, nieces, little sisters. how often have we seen that scene, the boy sweating while his date’s father snarkily implies he has a gun and knows the owner of local crematorium? HAHA SO CUTE. what is it about men that makes them so distrustful of boys, hm, i wonder. and why is this lesson almost never taught in media by fathers to their own sons? they wouldn’t worry so goddamn much if they placed less importance on strength and more on compassion and respect. just saying.
We are The Muses. Goddesses of the Arts and proclaimers of heroes.
Calliope, Clio, Terpsichore, Melpomene, Thalia
WHEN THE WILD LEAVES LOOSEN / an instrumental mix for autumnwho lives alone will live indefinitely so,
waking up to read a little, draft long letters,
and, along the city’s avenues,
fitfully wander (x)
Will Darren Wilson ever be arrested?
(Left to Right): Peter Buffett, Jimmie Briggs, Joe Ehrmann, Tony Porter,
Dave Zirin and Moderator Eve Ensler.
Hello Fantasy Lovers!
I’ve recently written and produced a fantastical web series about five girls who become witches and must learn to deal with their powers and one another VERY quickly. It’s comedic and dramatic and features a women of color cast.
We need your support as we gear into our kickstarter phase. A lot of us clamor for “more diversity” and then when the opportunities present themselves that do not have the same backing as network TV — the projects disappear.
Binge Watch Our SHOW =)
Please spread the word! MisSpelled needs you!
would you leave me if you knew what I’d become? ||listen here.||
for bucky barnes before the fall. (and everything he never said in the moments before.)
Fantastical Creatures + The Modern Witch Part II