#6. Everyone in Africa Is Uncivilized or a Warlord.
#5. Movie Women Can Only Talk About Men.
#4. White People Are Better at Being Asian Than Real Asians.
#3. Non-Heterosexual Characters Either Die or Are Murderers.
#2. Anything (Including Death) Is Better Than Being Disabled.
#1. In Fantasy Movies, Everyone Has to Be White.
I love Cracked.com. They’re great. This is a fantastic article that everyone should read. I simply quoted the list up there because it’s a great, accurate list of a lot of things - a lot of stereotypes - in film that go uncommented on. From whitewashing to LGBTQA representation in film, these stereotypes are somewhat baffling and unfortunately, definitely harmful with the messages they send out to the viewers.
#6: For some reason, the fact that parts of Africa - as a continent - are modern and do have modern things such as universities, supermarkets, industries, and hell, cities, seems to something that filmmakers don’t want to portray. (Something that also reminded me of the Islamophobia inherent in many American films.)
#5: This is about the Bechdel Test. But it’s always nice to have a reminder, as, you know, 51% of people are women.
#4: This goes back to the (rightful) controversy over The Last Airbender (2010), and the entire inexplicable question of why western cinema whitewashes asian stories.
#3: This is a common trend that’s been appearing a lot, and is highly disturbing and strange. According to the article, the reason seems to be that seeing as non-heterosexual characters, still something rare, are never protagonists, and only supporting characters, they immediately become potential minor characters that could die or kill.
Harting even points out that within a period of a few weeks in 2010, the shows Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Big Love, Law & Order: SVU and NCIS: Los Angeles all killed off minor characters who happened to be gay.
#2: I’m not so sure about this, as I can immediately think of an example that contradicts it, The Intouchables (2011), but it does occur, yes, and I know of only one film where it’s treated right, as opposed to all the other films that send a crushingly depressive message about disabilities - that people can’t recover from them - which is not only wrong, but harmful.
#1: This is something that annoys me so much, so I’m so glad that the writer of this article included this. Unfortunately, the default mode for fantasy has evolved to be disinclined to include people of colour*. Remember that quote about a woman being told her skin was too brown for an imaginary creature so she couldn’t play in a Tolkien movie? Remember that? Basically, this trope is all Tolkien’s fault, because his novels set a precedent. And it’s ridiculous. It’s fantasy, people. Get a grip.
Edit: An excellent correction regarding where to “place the blame”, RE: fantasy and Tolkien, was made here.
This is a really great article that could definitely do with your reading it.
* As ever, I remain uncomfortable with the term, as it assumes the natural standard is white, but it’s the least inoffensive term I know, and a commonly accepted one. Apologies for any offence.