Friday, August 16, 2013

Top 65 Kick Ass Female Fantasy Characters - Looks Awfully White

After Ellen recently wrote their list of the top 65 Kick Ass Female Fantasy characters.

Whenever we see lists like these, we tend to cringe because almost inevitably the “top X characters” will usually neglect one or more minorities - and this list is no exception. The number of Women Of Colour on it are few - especially for a list this long. There are only 7 WOC on this astonishingly large list of 65 Kick Ass Female Fantasy characters. That’s barely more than 10%


This doesn’t come close to mirroring population demographics. Once again the whole promoted idea of “uplifting” women or promoting women is again limited to White Women. WOC get no more than a few token mentions, thrown in almost as an afterthought or transparent attempt to head off charges of racism without any real attempt to be racially inclusive. This is more about the author’s wish to protect  themselves from an accusation than it is to ensure full representation and give WOC of their due.

Of course, one element of the lack of inclusion goes back to a point we’ve made about Inclusive conventions as well - part of the problem of erased lists is a genre that still has an incredible paucity of WOC characters. This limited pool will always reduce how many awesome characters there are to identify with.

But this is no excuse for this list -  managing a paltry 7 characters when there are several awesome WOC in the genre (not nearly enough but far more than are represented here) that are truly kick ass and worthy of a place on the list - Bonnie from The Vampire Diaries, Astrid from Fringe, Kate Freelander from Sanctuary, Catherine from Beauty and the Beast, Annie from Being Human (UK), Sally from Being Human (US), Max and Original Cindy from Dark Angel, Anna from V, Detective Rita Veder from Vampire in Brooklyn, Dr. Clementine Chasseur from Hemlock Grove, Nora from Revolution, Mira from Terra Nova, Guinevere from Merlin, Rachel from Alphas - we can go on, these are just a few we brainstormed off the top of our heads. We certainly didn’t love all of these characters, but After Ellen’s own list contains some dubious entries.

To put salt in the wound, none of the WOC are entered in the top 10. That latter element is particularly significant because the majority of these lists are usually “the top 10 X” - it’s only by expanding past the usual 10 that WOC were included on this list at all.

It is an indictment that the list had to be expanded beyond this common 10 to have anything other than an all-white cast.

While this may seem like a simple list, a bit of fun, not to be taken seriously - this is yet again another example of White women being predominantly upheld as representative of all women; they are presented as the default woman and the only woman that matters - non-white women are outliers, exceptions to the rule of womanhood. This list is intended to promote women in the genre but instead promotes white supremacy and, as such, is detrimental to marginalised women