FemPop is Coming Back! Why? Because Media Matters.
By Alex Cranz
You’ll notice things at FemPop have been a little slow of late. With Rebecca Jane Stokes off being fantastic (and getting paid) over at XOJane and Hairpin and the like and the shows we regularly recap here on a bit of a hiatus I took a step back from things. But over the last month I’ve been working myself up to come back here to FemPop.
That’s meant a call for new contributors. (Those of you who have applied will hear back very shortly and those of you who haven’t applied are encouraged to do so ASAP.) But the biggest hurtle I’ve faced is purely an internal one.
When you’re in the “social justice” game it can be exhausting. Covering every failure from Hollywood–every slight to the less privileged–wears on you. Its easy to emotionally flame out in a glory of “fuck you movies and television and comics and games” and find yourself so miserable with the state of pop culture that you disappear into a hole of the previously established “good” stuff.
But after a lot of revelry in the good stuff and avoidance of the bad I’ve found myself ready to wade back into the cesspool of sexism, racism, and good ol’ boy celebrations that is the culture I exist in.
But it is more than being reinvigorated.
Because in the time since I last really passionately embraced FemPop I’ve seen a lot of people say “why” whenever someone gets up in arms over a television show or a movie or a video game. What’s the point of talking about these shows? Or getting mad about all the films that exist to wallow in manpain?
Why does Orange is the New Black matter? Or The Fosters or Under the Dome or Kick Ass 2? What makes Saints Row 4 or Finatticz’s “Don’t Drop That Thun Thun” critical to the discussion?
Because media matters.
Because as a very white kid growing up in a very white household Roc and True Colors and The Cosby Show reminded me that the world didn’t all look like curdled milk.
Because as a kid of divorce in a blended family with two siblings and three step siblings Step By Step showed my family on the screen every Friday night.
Because as a sheltered young woman taught that sexuality was a binary Gabrielle and Willow showed me it was a spectrum and you could move around on it as you damn well pleased.
Because as a woman who always hated dresses Skin‘s Frankie showed me it was okay to just dress just like me.
Because my uncle didn’t know many gay people but he saw Callie and Arizona get married and now he knows there isn’t always a husband or a wife in a marriage.
Because my twelve year old neighbor didn’t grasp the concept of state sanctioned genocide until he saw the Ishbalans systematically slaughtered in Fullmetal Alchemist.
Because Djimon Hounsou’s son wanted to bleach his skin so he could look like a superhero because all superheroes seem to be white.
Because Whoopi Golderberg went into film and Mae Jemison became an astronaut after growing up seeing Nichelle Nichols on Star Trek.
Because kid’s television boosts the self-esteem of little white boys but makes little white girls and every child of color feel worse about themselves.
Media has the ability to build us up. It has the ability to break us down. It comforts us every evening. Prepares us for every morning. It is the background radiation of our lives. It matters. Critiquing it matters. Praising what it does right and condemning what it does wrong matters.
And I’m really excited to continue to explore the relationship between us and our media.