I’m sure by now most of us have heard of the Broadway play “Hamilton,” retelling the life of Alexander Hamilton. From the infectious hip-hop soundtrack to the casting of all people of color for all roles, this play has been in the spotlight practically from its inception. Love it or hate it, you probably had, heard, or read some polarizing conversations about “Hamilton.”
Since the teaser trailer for the new live action “Beauty and the Beast” had over 98.1 million views within the first 24 hours of its release, I think it is fair to say that people are pretty hyped over the movie. There is no denying that Disney classics hold a lot of weight in our culture, specifically in how we tell stories to young people. And with all of the money and resources going into revamping these classics, as well as their expanded fan base, I think we really need to take a look at these original stories and decide if they represent the values and morals we want to continue passing down and interring. “Kid’s movies” are never just kid’s movies; they represent some of the first values we are introduced to and some of the more central themes to most other stories we encounter in our adult lives.
So I have seen this phenomenon countless times in literature and film, and it is really about time we put a stop to it. Rape and sexual assault is real, affecting approximately 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men in the United States alone. Jokes about rape and sexual assault are never funny, and survivors’ stories should never being used for comedic effect.
As a geek extraordinaire who spent many Friday nights reading comics and reminiscing with BBC characters, I want to talk about a topic near and dear to my heart: superheroes. Specifically, I am talking about the classic, comic book inspired cape and spandex wearing superheroes. Growing up (and still now), I latched onto superhero stories. Even with their limited and often problematic representations of women and people of color (and nearly total lack of LGBT+ characters), I still couldn’t help but love the Marvel and DC Universes (I won’t make this divisive by naming favorites). They gave me a sense of belonging, hope, and protection that I so desperately wanted from the world around me. They taught me how to be brave and take risks, even if it was only in my head, and they taught me the value of all life.
I'm a bi female undergraduate student majoring in Psychology, with minors in Women and Gender Studies and African American Studies. I am passionate about issues of domestic violence and sexual assault, and intend to get my masters in social work in order to serve those populations.