Response to Emi’s Talk

Emi suggested at one point that the figures portrayed by the media (in entertainment) are sort’ve two-dimensional, so if they were the only figures out there representing intersex, she would be concerned. Since they’re not the only representation, she is not concerned. I thought that was a good way to look at media representation — it implies that every characterization of a person/trend/idea doesn’t have to portray it fully. It suggests that that portraying an aspect of something, without fleshing it out all the way, is ok, as long as it’s supplemented by the availability of a fuller view somewhere else.

This made me think of Barbie, and the frequent complaint that she’s a poor representation of women. Yet it’s not like she exists in isolation — there are other ideas about women that exist out there to supplement the ‘hot blonde’ segment that she portrays. I guess the problem arises when a two-dimensional representation like this becomes the primary representation of a group and becomes a model “for” the group rather than “of” the group (as in, women are expected to be like Barbie, rather than Barbie is expected to be like some women). But that’s why there’s Astronaut Barbie! (kidding.)

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One Response to Response to Emi’s Talk

  1. naesung says:

    I think it’s interesting, and really speaks to the way that Emi works her activism in really wherever she can. There are a lot of great aspects to being represented in comics, period, even before talking about what the representation looks like, because it can start a dialogue. Even the conservative manga “The Anti-Korean Wave” (which I’m sure we’ll get to in conservative pop culture week), I think, has been helpful because far from acting as a monolithic teaching on “what Koreans are” for all Japanese readers, it’s brought a lot of already present social prejudice into the open and now has become a talking point to begin dialogue (of course, well-reasoned objective dialogue is severely lacking). One issue I see as potentially troubling, especially in the case of Barbie, is that it begins to break people into classifications, while recognizing that people can possibly be different. Actually, it’s the reality of these differences that causes a lot of issues, since it’s through the recognition of difference that the “norm” barbie represents is fetishized. I dunno… I think context isn’t enough to make this sort of thing okay, because context needs to be reactively constructed in order to rob such things of heir cultural efficacy.

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