Tirade Tuesday: Shipping Bellarke Apparently Makes Me White

I tend to stay out of ship wars most of the time because it’s often a case of a lot of talking, and no one listening. I’ve been around The 100 fandom so long that even if a healthy discussion takes place, I know that in just a week or two the same issues would be brought up and it would be like nothing’s changed. That’s the nature of Tumblr, and you can say I’m resigned to it.

But recently I saw a post on my dashboard that disturbed me. It asked Bellarke fans to examine their privilege, and in particular, our white privilege. The premise was that Bellarke was a racist ship and that if you shipped it, you were racist. In the same way, it also implied that if you didn’t ship Braven, you were racist.

These are serious implications that are not to be taken lightly. Race is an important issue, and by all means one should examine their white privilege. But here’s the problem – I’m Chinese. One of the many people of color who ship Bellarke. Apparently, I’m not the only one who has seen such posts. Sections of the Braven fandom have also called POCs white feminists. It’s callous and it’s a sweeping generalization that lessens the credibility of the person using the term.

On a level, I get it. I don’t think that the writer really believed that all Bellarke fans are white. I also understand how people may sometimes use assumptions and sweeping statements to strengthen an argument. Throughout The 100 fandom I have also seen people pull out social justice issues to try to strengthen a case. I have seen people reveal their sexual identities, race, and personal histories to make a point.

However, in not acknowledging that the Bellarke fandom is incredibly diverse, and by erasing our identities as people of color by generalising us, it makes it difficult for me to believe that such people care all that much about the racial issues they supposedly champion.

In fact, such posts are potentially hurtful, because you never know who may be reading it. The person you asked to examine their white privilege has perhaps been trying to be white all their lives because of the difficulties of being a POC.

Discussions of race can always be grounded in the context of the show. In discussing ships, the option to form an argument solely on canon is always there. In fact, by sticking to facts on the show instead of trying (pretending) to be a champion of social justice, you may just end up having a much more fruitful discussion. Try it.

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Tirade Tuesday: Celebrating The 100

My dash and my blog have been filled with this terrible vile ship war that’s been going on, and I’m tired of seeing people focus on the negatives on a show that has so many amazing points. I’m going to acknowledge up front that the show does have aspects that it needs to improve on and other people have explained that a lot better than I can especially considering I’m white and I can’t speak for the POC community. I would also like to point out that this show is created, acted and written by humans and people are naturally flawed and make mistakes, and we need to be given a chance to learn and fix those mistakes.

Now onto the greatness of this show…

 

Behind the scenes/the people that make the show:

  • The cast: The 100 cast clearly gets along, as shown by their interactions at the panels and interviews and photos. The actors also clearly understand their characters and there have been so many times when Bob in particular talks about Bellamy that my theories and headcanons are validated, and it’s amazing to see. The research that Lindsay has done on addressing Raven’s disability is incredible. The way they support causes – the support of the 100 charity project, Bob’s shirt for mental illness, Devon’s support of children and support of the trevor project, it’s inspiring to see people you respect and look up making a difference in the world.

 

  • The Music: The CW always has great music for all of their shows but the 100 knocks it out of the park. From the brilliance of the ending song of s2 finale “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” to “Remains” at the end of 3×08, the music elevates the show and the tone perfectly. Tree Adams has also written amazing pieces for the show including the “Grounder Anthem”  song which was hauntingly beautiful and reminded me so much of ancient Rome, where power was everything and death could come at any time. The fact that in episode 3×14 they ended the show with an acoustic cover of “Radioactive”, driving home for the viewer the horrors we have seen them all go through and just how many of them have died, truly allowing us to appreciate that the Delinquents arrival on the ground heralded a New Age that has only just begun. For many shows, the songs they play hold meaning but often weeks, months later, that meaning has been lost after you’ve listened to it a hundred times, but for the 100, I cannot listen to any of the songs played without thinking of the show.

 

  • The Writing Team: Yes they’ve done some crappy stuff and Yes, some of them need to stop interfering with the fandom and go on Twitter less, but they love the show. I love that JR livetweets with us, because he also gives us questions and new tidbits of information about filming. The writers are also listening to us: we asked for more Monty and Miller and Harper and they’ve given that to us, we said that one LGBT character wasn’t enough and they gave us Miller and Bryan and Niylah and Clarke and Lexa, we complained about the actor who played Wick and he wasn’t there in season 3. They could just ignore our requests and say “oh fans don’t know the show the way the writers do” but they are listening to us and that’s important to remember. The writers are trying to increase the diversity and that makes it easier to criticize because it exists in show. The writers have also made so many literary allusions with last season being a combination of the Iliad and Dante’s Inferno while this season alludes to the Matrix, the Biblical Exodus Story and the Odyssey.

The show itself:

  • The unpredictability of the show, it constantly keeps the viewers guessing. It goes to places that I don’t expect it to go and just when you think it’s going to get lighter, it shifts and reveals something truly dark. That’s why the MW storyline was so good was because just when you thought it couldn’t get any darker it did. Many of us thought that they’d save Finn, that Tondc wouldn’t be destroyed but the show doesn’t give us any easy way out.

 

  • Raven Reyes:  Raven is a badass, she is one of the most badass characters on television and she always has been from the moment she used a century old ship that she fixed up herself to get to Earth because Finn is all she has to fighting against Allie. Her disability does not impact her ability to fight, to create and to love. She truly is the modern day Hephaestus. Natalie talked about how amazing Raven’s storyline is from the perspective of a person with chronic pain here, and it’s an awesome post which everyone should read. As someone with a disability, I have never seen someone on TV break and struggle and fall and get back up the way Raven does and it’s incredible to see. It makes me cry to see how much Raven struggles and how much she tries because that is my everyday reality. Raven Reyes will forever be the character I look to when I feel like giving up because she inspires me in so many ways. Raven also loves fiercely and reckless, I mean this a girl who went way beyond for her boyfriend/only family and crash landed on earth. She also didn’t hold Clarke’s actions against her and the friendship between them is one of my favorite things.

 

  • Abby Griffin: I got be honest, I watch this show with my mom and one of the most amazing things has come out of watching the show is that my relationship with my mom has improved. In many TV shows the parents are either nonexistent, just parents or have superficial characterization. With Abby Griffin, The 100 gives us a mother who will do anything for a daughter, a woman whose entire job is about healing but is in situations where healing is so hard. Abby Griffin sacrifices unlike any character on TV, but she also incredibly selfish  with and protective of those she loves. Abby will do anything for her daughter, but she’s also shown to be willing to do something that could hurt her when it will save humanity. She’s a doctor, a healer and a leader, but most importantly, she’s a mother. I love her relationship with Raven and the constant checkups that appear throughout the seasons. Abby Griffin is not just a mother and that’s an important decision the writers made.

 

  • The Blake Siblings: Bellamy and Octavia have one of the most complicated honest siblings dynamics on TV. They are the only siblings on the show and that forces the characters around them to acknowledge. The two fight and they fall, but at the end of the day there’s nothing they wouldn’t do for each and as Bellamy says in 3×03 “You’ll always fit with me”. Bellamy basically raised Octavia and the past seasons have been about Bellamy letting Octavia have freedom, and Octavia learning that Bellamy isn’t perfect. Octavia and Bellamy have been arguing since they got to the ground and they find themselves now on moral opposites in terms of the grounders. I’m a twin, I fight with my brother all the damn time and do we agree on everything, fuck no we don’t. Granted The 100 is currently in a civil war so there is that. The Blakes will do anything for each other, but their interactions are often antagonistic, they know exactly how to hurt each and that’s true of all siblings. At the end of the day, what both of them want most is the other’s happiness.

 

  • The Moral Questions: The 100 forces us to question the world around us like no other show on television does. This is a world where Racism, Sexism and Homophobia do not exist, we get Lexa, a lesbian as the commander, Jaha as a Moses-like figure, Kane and Abby and Bellamy and Clarke as equal partners in leadership. But the show addresses Xenophobia, social change and how not to achieve it; it asks its’ viewers repeatedly what makes a good person? Are you even allowed to consider yourself one after what you do in the name of your people? What will you do to survive? In the first episode, Kane and Abby have an exchange that I believe is the theme of show where Kane says “I’ll will do what it takes to make sure our people survive” and Abby’s response is “And I’ll make sure we deserve to” which is such an important distinction. The Mount Weather storyline also asks these same questions with Dante and Cage while giving us Maya and those who lead the rebellion to help the Delinquents as an example of innocents that were killed in the name of survival. This show has also killed or broke the moral compasses of the show so the moral questions of the show are now left to the discussion of the fans, which is why the meta the fans create is so interesting and so in tune with the social issues of this time period. The show is filled with death and anger and pain, but it also has the themes of hope and love and forgiveness running through it. The way I believe they will defeat the CoL is through Love as love is clearly the glitch in the system. The show forces us to address and acknowledge the imperfections of the world around us in our time period and forces us to discuss those.

And there are so many more ways the show is amazing!!!

Tirade Tuesday: Actors who can’t move their face

I am so sick and tired of actors getting hired who cannot move their faces. Acting is 90% facial expressions, and 10% remembering your lines. Okay, probably not, but from a viewers perspective it is.

Facial expressions are so important in society. We have mirror neurons, neurons that  fire when we perform an act and when we observe somebody else perform the same act. In laymen’s terms, the same neuron is activated  when we are happy and when we see somebody else happy. This is one of the reasons why yawns are ‘contagious’.

This is why actor’s facial expressions are important. For us to fully empathize with a fictional character, to completely understand their actions, our mirror neurons need to be activated. We need to feel what they feel.

When actors don’t move their faces, or they use the same expressions over and over again, we aren’t as connected. Our mirror neurons aren’t activated, and we feel nothing.

For example: Cam and Arastoo from Bones. We are supposed to buy that they are in love, yet their facial expressions say otherwise. Take the pictures below. Her smile does not meet her eyes, so we can automatically tell it is not genuine. His face literally stays in that position 24/7. Something romantic has just happened between them, and yet, where is that expressed in his face? In his eyes?

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Luckily the above are just side characters and not lead characters. When it’s the main character whose face never moves, major issues occur. One such show is Once Upon a Time. The character Emma Swan has no expressions. You can just google image the character, and every picture has her with the same expression. I couldn’t make it past the first episode because I could not connect with Emma. I wanted to feel what she felt, and to all appearances, she felt nothing. I don’t care how good the story lines are, if the actors can’t sell the emotion, you have an unwatchable show.

Some roles require little to no facial expressions. Take Kristen Stewart, one of her first roles was in the movie Speak. The movie focused on a freshmen in high school who was dealing with the aftermath of her rape by not talking to anybody. She was emotionally shut down and had no relationships with anybody. This character was supposed to not show emotions, and Kristen rocked the part.

There is a time and a place for not showing emotions, but sadly more and more actors who struggle with facial expressions are not finding those parts. They are landing parts that require them to use muscles they have no idea how to use.

Casting directors need to start paying more attention to facial expressions and not just  how the actor delivers the line.

Tirade Tuesday: When Fandom Throws a Hissy Fit

I have had it. I’m not very vocal in The 100 fandom. I mainly stay in my corner and post poetry, but I need to speak out. On twitter, William Shatner, Captain Kirk of Star Trek, a show that had the first interracial kiss on TV, is defending the 100 and getting attacked by a continent of Clexa fans. (x)

In the last month since Lexa’s Death, you [Clexa fans] have run the cast and the writers and Jason [Rothenberg, creator of The 100] off twitter. You have turned on the cast for them asking you to stick with their friends. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if when Eliza [Taylor, who plays The 100’s main protagonist, Clarke Griffin] comes back and livetweets she gets horrible vitriol from you guys.

The amount of times I have seen stuff from your side of the fandom that has made me ill, that has made me want to cry, that has made me rant for hours is way too many. I have seen you saying that Bellarke shippers should die, that Clarke should die and Eliza should lose her job because she “hates” working on a show with some of her best friends where she is the lead and playing a complicated role. I have seen people I respect and adore get so much hate from some toxic members of the Clexa fandom that they’ve had panic attacks, they’ve stopped volunteering to write for sites they love, they have cried because you have told them that they are worthless.  I have seen rampant biphobia, antisemitism – the Hilter video really??? and racism.

Now many of you are justifiably angry about the timing of Lexa’s death and her sex scene with Clarke, about how the writers supported you on Twitter – they were excited about having Lexa, they loved her too which is something that many of you seem to have forgotten – about how Lexa’s death bears a lot of similarities to the way lesbians have been killed before. And many of you have dropped the show. Many of you went into it for Lexa and you left with Lexa, and that is fine. I’ve dropped shows before, sometimes just because they stopped interesting me, and that’s fine, too. You shouldn’t have to spill your past to explain why you’re dropping a show. Some of you are amazing people and you ship and let ship, but unfortunately, the assholes in your fandom are loud.

Similarly, I and others like me shouldn’t have to feel guilty for sticking with a show that we love, that has characters that represent us and matter to us. Television exists to make us feel, and The 100 exists to make us think and make us look at the world in different ways and realize there are no good guys in this world or in the world of The 100. We are all just trying to live our lives.

By trying to cancel the show you are saying that the representation it provides for other people does not matter. Many of you loved Lexa because she was a leader, because she was not defined by her sexuality, because she was powerful and most importantly because she gave you hope for a better world. Now, I am bisexual and Clarke is representation unlike any other on television. Clarke’s bisexuality is introduced mid season two, which means that we will get to watch her fall in love/lust with both women and men, something that is so rare on television. Her bisexuality is just another reason why people love Clarke Griffin and her bisexuality being treated as normal gives me hope that one day I won’t have to choose which community to belong to.

Raven Reyes is an incredible character. I almost always bring her up when I talk about The 100 and what the show does well. Why is that? Because I am disabled and Raven fails and struggles and she gets back up in a way I have never seen on television; in a way that represents the pain that people with Chronic Pain and with disabilities deal with every day. Raven Reyes is intelligent, powerful, loving, longing, brave and badass and she’s also disabled. When I feel like I want to give up, when not being able to be normal gets to be too much, I look to Raven. I look to her power, to her strength, to the way she never gives up, and I am inspired to try again. Raven Reyes empowers me unlike any other character on television.

Do I deserve to lose that? Do others who relate to Bellamy’s role as leader and PoC (people of color) deserve to lose him? Do those that relate to Kane’s learning deserve to lose an example of how sometimes mistakes are needed? Do people who relate to Octavia’s struggle to belong deserve to lose watching her struggle to find her place? Do people who relate to Abby’s role as a mother deserve to lose seeing her find balance between letting your child go and loving them?

You saying that we deserve to lose this show, these characters, these relationships because a guest star who happened to play a badass lesbian commander died. That is utterly unfair and wrong.

When did lesbians become the gatekeepers of representation?  When did lesbians become the gatekeepers of LGBTQ+ representation? When did lesbians become the gatekeepers of disabled representation?

Lexa died because she wanted to change the system. She died because she believed in the idea that “Blood Must Not Have Blood”. Ask yourselves if canceling the show is something your idol would support. I don’t think she would. People are human. They do not have the knowledge and experiences of every other person who walked the earth, and they make mistakes.

HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT MINORITIES MATTER WHEN YOU ARE TRYING TO TAKE AWAY OUR REPRESENTATION. HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT LGBTQ+ DESERVES BETTER WHEN YOU ADVOCATE FOR THE MOST PROMINENT BISEXUAL CHARACTER TO BE KILLED OFF!!
HOW DARE YOU TELL ME THAT I DON’T MATTER AS MUCH A DEAD FICTIONAL CHARACTER!