I am currently embarking on an 8-week journey to create a project that speaks to both my experience, and my design sensibility. With this is in mind I was inspired by my favorite pass-time,
Specifically, I became super interested in the newest hero, “Ironheart,” who in the Marvel Invincible Iron Man latest installment is supposed to replace Tony Stark with Riri Williams, an African-American, female, super genius. Here are some of the first drawings of her.
These are pretty cool, until you take into account that she’s supposed to be a FIFTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL. These pictures are not appropriate for a character that is a child. They are sexy, and many fans including myself had a problem with it. While the sexualization of female heroes has always been a problem in comics in general, the real issue I have is that this echoes a deep inability for the general public to understand Black women. There appears to be a disconnect with what a Black woman really is. Is she an overweight sassy encouragement with endless advice that saves all the dumb young people around her? Is she a sexy siren that only a true man can satisfy, furthering the idea that a man can prove his worth by satisfying a SISTA? Is she a loud, angry, nag that emasculates the men around her?
It’s hard to decide with the media, and in instances that are intended to dispel these myths, i.e. the super intelligent 15 year old Riri Williams, you still see some of the stereotypes bleed through.
However, because Riri is a CHILD, it is lucky that the populace as a while rejected this, and the newer images are more appropriate.
However, we then see that her hair texture has been loosened and her skin has been lightened, which is a a shame considering her character’s look is based off of the Disney channel actress, Skai Jackson.
Even before the she was redrawn, when people discussed possibilities for her casting, these were some of the prominent fantasy picks.
Oy vey. Why is it so impossible to have a dark skinned black girl who looks like a GIRL, be a super genius? Why can these things not coexist? Why does something have to give in order to make the idea somehow palatable.
It is these things that bleed over that makes me realize that despite the strides we as a people have made to overcome stereotypes, we still have a far way to go, which is why I want to create my game.
Originally I had planned to make a digital game, but I have a time restraint of 8 weeks to make everything happen. So the first stage of my work is research, so that I can better understand how to convey my ideas.
SO, HERE IS A LITTLE HISTORY.
Over the next few weeks I will be exploring these concepts more and how to make it into a game that is subtle, but powerful.
Wish me luck!
- Ferris State University http://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/jezebel.htm#
- bitechmedia.org https://bitchmedia.org/post/six-annoying-women-character-tropes-in-black-romantic-comedies
- racism.org http://racism.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1277:aawomen01a&catid=72&Itemid=215