The latest version of GLAAD’s Network Responsibility Index focused on 15 networks that produced content during the 2013-2014 programming year—and for the first time in the report’s history, three different networks earned “Excellent” ratings for their commitment to diversity.
HBO, ABC Family, and MTV are all leading the pack in satisfying increasing consumer demand for diverse media content.
And Fox became the highest-scoring network in television history, with 42 percent of its programming hours featuring positive LGBTQ representations.
But now that this goalpost has been reached, GLAAD is upping its standards. Next year, in order to receive an “Excellent” rating, networks must feature “significant transgender content”—a move the organization is making in direct response to the overall lack of representation of trans characters, something this year’s report focused on significantly.
“Diverse hires are often treated as though they should consider themselves lucky to be hired, even when they have the same (or better) skills than the people they beat out during the hiring process. Being told that you were hired simply because of what you brought to the table demographically isn’t good for morale, and it doesn’t speak well to a company-wide commitment to change culture.”—S.E. Smith, 'Can taking a class on diversity fix Google's demographic issues?'
The wonderful thing about Tumblr is that it can generate a subculture for just about anything. One prime example is Tumblr’s shoplifting community.
Shoplifting bloggers came under the media spotlight in April and May this year, when a Jezebel writer stumbled upon a Tumblr post listing various shoplifting accounts. And yes, a shoplifting blog is exactly what it sounds like: Tumblrs where people write about their shoplifting exploits and posts photos of what appear to be stolen goods. Many of them use Tumblr tags like “shoplifting,” so it doesn’t exactly take Sherlock Holmes to track them down.
Four months after Jezebel’s “Tumblr Bling Ring” story, the shoplifting bloggers are still going strong. That sudden burst of unwanted outsider attention now seems like the kind of storm-in-a-teacup drama that happens in any Tumblr community or fandom. The main difference is that most blogs now post disclaimers saying that they’re not really stealing, they’re just roleplaying. “I post things I purchase with my own money and claim that they were stolen,” reads one. “It’s nothing more than a fun hobby.”
But while some blogs claim that shoplifting Tumblr is entirely populated by roleplayers, others are more critical of what one blogger describes as “inconsistently applying the roleplaying excuse.”
“If you think that people truly believe that crock of shit you are only too gullible yourself,” they add.
These princesses have broken free from their animation cells and have hit the streets to dispense with the pleasantries and settle their beefs properly, with a good old fashioned rap battle. Though one is Snow and the other is frozen, it’s clear that only one ice queen can reign over the Disney kingdom.
“The worst part is that this is a self-fulfilling prophecy: If men make an assumption that women aren’t great at tech, then those men won’t help mentor women. Women will then start believing they aren’t great at tech or feel alienated from the community. As a result, there will be no women in tech, which just perpetuates the stereotype and the cycle.
Last year, soon after I’d moved into a co-working space, I was working on yet another Saturday afternoon. A fellow founder in the space — a male, early forties — started chatting with me. He’d just started working on his own startup, and had a question.
“I see you in here every day working late, and on the weekends. I’m building out my own team and was just wondering how he keeps you motivated to work so hard?”
“What do you mean?” I asked. I was thoroughly confused. “Its my own startup. Of course I’m motivated.”
While Wolverine may initially seem like a quintessentially American character, anyone who has seen a picture of the adamantium-enhanced X-Man in his street clothes won’t be surprised to learn the character is actually Canadian—dude isn’t afraid to rock a denim-on-denim Canadian tuxedo on the regular.
Now, a group in Edmonton, Alberta, is working to get the city’s government to erect a statue in honor of the province’s favorite fictional son. A recent Change.org petition is pushing to get city leaders to support building the statue.
Nearly seven weeks after the fatal shooting of African-American teenager Michael Brown, his family finally has an apology from police.
Ferguson, Mo., Police Chief Thomas Jackson released a pre-recorded video apology on Thursday morning apologizing for the conduct of officers in his department. The apology, which was released to CNN, was directed at both the family of , who was fatally shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, and the protestors that flooded the town in recent weeks.
"The events of the past few weeks have sent shockwaves. Overnight, I went from being a small town police chief to being part of a conversation about racism, equality, and the role of policing in that conversation," Jackson said. "I want to say this to the Brown family: no one who has not experienced the loss of a child can understand what you’re feeling. I am truly sorry for the loss of your son.
"I’m also sorry that it took so long to remove Michael from the street," he added, noting that the four-hour gap between when Brown was shot when his body was finally loaded from the street into into a police SUV. "It was just too long, and I’m truly sorry for that."
“The first thing I thought was they killed my baby, and they’re going to kill my wife.”—Ronel Lemos, describing the incident in which New York City cops slammed his pregnant wife, Sandra Amezquita, to the ground on her stomach as horrified onlookers watched.
The main hook of Gotham is that it’s meant to work as a standalone cop show.
The trouble is, Gotham is a relatively family friendly crime procedural airing on network TV. It’s meant to be a gritty, morally ambiguous tale of bad cops and organized crime, but the gun-wielding, perp-punching Gotham police are actually no more violent than the good guys in most mainstream U.S. cop shows—and, for that matter, in real life. Whether this can be interpreted as a commentary on real-world police brutality is up for debate.
“What explains the difference? In part, it’s because American teen shows absurdly have high stakes—instead of dealing with the lives of typical teens, the teens on these shows deal with murder, huge amounts of money, and supernatural love stories. The British teen shows, on the other hand, are steeped in the mundane, with teens sorting through realistic problems of regular life.”—Manisha Aggarwal-Schifellite, 'Why are British teen shows so much better than American ones?'
Harassment happens at comic conventions every year, and that unfortunate fact has made it vitally important for event coordinators to make attendees feel safe. Having a clear and visible anti-harassment policy is a key part of this, but it’s also something that many conventions find difficult to do.
That’s why it’s refreshing to see a convention team get proactive on the topic. New York Comic Con (NYCC) has released an updated anti-harassment policy it put together with a little outside help.
Earlier this year ReedPOP, the organizers behind New York Comic Con and a number of other conventions, contacted geek culture website The Mary Sue for help with its policy. The site took things further by reaching out for additional help and formed a panel of seven people to help them advise NYCC.
The saga between YouTube beauty guru Michelle Phan and Ultra Records continues with a new counterclaim filed by Phan that seeks damages for lost ad revenue because of Ultra’s original suit against her.
The record company filed suit against Phan in July over her alleged unlicensed use of their music, including a track by Grammy-nominated DJ Kaskade. At the time, Phan told TMZ Ultra had given her permission to use their music, and that her videos “showcased [them] to an international audience.” Now she’s launching a counterclaim.
Ever since Groundskeeper Willie weighed in on the Scottish independence debate, we’ve been wondering which way other Scottish fictional characters might vote. No, seriously. This is vitally important stuff.
Malcolm Tucker is an obvious example. Before he was the star of Doctor Who, Peter Capaldi was best known for playing the foul-mouthed and extremely Scottish political spin-doctor in The Thick Of It. There’s been a Tucker-shaped hole in British political satire since the show ended in 2012, so people are obviously trying to work out what his #indyref opinion might have been.
The bad news for Yes voters is that Tucker would definitely have voted No to independence. Why? Well, to begin with he’s always been surprisingly apolitical. Malcolm Tucker’s defining characteristic is his obsessive loyalty to the Labour Party, an affiliation that often bears no regard to policy, or indeed to the politicians he supposedly works for. The real-world Labour Party shows stalwart support of Scotland staying in the Union, and he would toe the party line.
Thankfully, there are plenty of other prominent fictional Scots to choose from when putting together your political fantasy league.
“It’s starting to feel as though major retailers are trolling us as a business strategy—and that it’s working, because otherwise, it wouldn’t be such a persistent issue. Is it possible that the Internet actually birthed this monster, rather than being a tool for killing it?”—S.E. Smith, 'Why Urban Outfitters wants to piss you off'
Doctor Who, once arguably the best show on television, has been facing mounting criticism. Much of this has been directed at showrunner Steven Moffat, whose leadership has steered us into inconsistent plots and aggressively misogynistic dynamics. This was a huge disappointment considering the fabulous writing he had delivered during Russell T. Davies’ stewardship. Now fandom is increasingly asking to stop the showrunner, we want to switch off.
With a new season and Peter Capaldi’s new Doctor to play with, the question now is if there’s a chance for this sexist storytelling mess to be redeemed. Here are four ways to make it happen.
1) Going dark
All signs point to a darker, more intriguing direction this season. If this is a chance to explore character by moving beyond the lighthearted and looking to what lies beneath, that can only be a good thing. It will definitely be a good thing for the Doctor, especially with Peter Capaldi’s fine, weighty performance, as the writing for his character settles into a fuller flavor. The movement into darkness can be a great thing for Doctor Who as a whole should it come to suffuse other elements of the show.
It’s been a long summer chock full of comic conventions across the country, the most popular and well-attended being San Diego Comic-Con. These are the places where die-hard fans of all sorts—comic books, video games, movies, web series, television, you name it—come to hang out in resplendent costumes based on their favorite characters. Just take a stroll through the cosplay wrapups from San Diego Comic-Con this year to revel in the sheer awesomeness of the costumes people created. There’s everything from Disney, to Adventure Time, to Robot Chicken, and hundreds more fandoms represented. Test your geek aptitude and try to identify every character. It’s tough.
But as most cons wrap up for the summer, we cannot put enough focus on the safety of cosplayers. “Cosplay is not consent” is a phrase most convention goers should be familiar with by now. It’s the motto that addresses unwanted attention cosplayers are often forced to deal with. While harassment isn’t exclusively a problem for female cosplayers, they seem to suffer the brunt of the problem. Comic books have long been a male-centric medium and only in the last decade or so have we seen a surge of female fans coming out to declare their geekdom, thanks to the mainstreaming of fan culture.
Some of the characters female fans choose to portray are indeed highly sexualized characters who wear ultra tight or scanty costumes that leave little to the imagination. For a general concept, think Wonder Woman or Gamora and Nebula from Guardians of the Galaxy. These fans are staying true to their characters, but unfortunately some male fans see these outfits as an invitation to verbally abuse or even assault the cosplayers.
“I’m sure this may surprise some, but I don’t blame white people for American racism. I singularly blame white privilege. It’s the idea—not the people—that affects everything. You can forgive a person, but how do you forgive a racist ideology?”—Zaron Burnett III, 'A brief history of white privilege'
"New market research provided by Tumblr to AdWeek reveals that the median income of Tumblr users is higher than that of other main social media platforms.
That means that all those businessy types who spent years declaring Tumblr’s business prospects “unattractive,” and handwringing over its perceived cultural status as a vapid, arty playground for teenage girls may now be eating their words. It turns out Tumblr’s younger, mostly female demographic has more money to spend than everyone else.
Tumblr reported to AdWeek that the median household income of its user base is $80,075. That puts it just ahead of Twitter and Facebook ($79,562 and $78,967, respectively), and well-ahead of Pinterest ($70,124).”
“Hating U2 is something of a modern Rorschach test, and more than anything, it’s the same brand management issue that befalls just about any band that aspires to be the biggest in the world. The moment a group aims to be the one act everyone likes, they become the one “no one likes,” or at least the one the Internet most likes to dogpile on.”—Nico Lang, 'How U2 became the new Nickelback'
On Sept. 18, the people of Scotland will decide whether to secede from the rest of the UK. This referendum is by nature a very divisive issue, with only two deceptively simple options on offer: Yes or No.
Unfortunately for the rest of the world, the Scottish independence referendum (or #indyref) doesn’t follow a simple Braveheart narrative of downtrodden Scottish rebels fighting back against their English overlords. Opinion polls show the country split more or less 50/50, with a record voter registration rate of 97%.
The public face of the anti-independence campaign is Better Together, which is backed by all three of England’s main political parties: the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government, plus the center-left opposition Labour party. The biggest problem with this? All three of these parties are headed up by posh, Oxbridge-educated Englishmen, the precise demographic that many Scottish voters are sick of seeing in power.
The Conservatives are so unpopular in Scotland that Prime Minister David Cameron recently said that people shouldn’t vote for independence just to “give the effing Tories a kick.”
Tyler Oakley’s arms thrown up mid-fangirl captured entirely in Taco Bell hot sauce.
A Nutella Troye Sivan staring back at you from a white canvas.
This all describes the art of YouTuber and artist Conor Collins, a 25-year-old in Manchester, England, who’s taken a very nontraditional approach to capturing the stars of YouTube, inspired by the nature of their newfound celebrity.
“The people … are quickly becoming famous for just being them,” he explained to the Daily Dot. “Not being footballers or musicians or politicians, but just being them and saying what they thought. As an artist who paints people, this new group of influential people on the Internet tickles my creativity. So it just made sense that if I were to begin to make these portraits anyway, might as well do it in the way which best reflects them—on YouTube!”
FCKH8 is best known for selling T-shirts with slogans such as “Straight Against Hate,” but recently, the company branched out into what it describes as “anti-racism gear.”
The new FCKH8 T-shirts read, “Racism isn’t over. But I’m over racism.” Although FCKH8 is a for-profit company, $5 from each product will be donated to organizations such as the NAACP and the Mike Brown Memorial Fund.
However, this campaign has already run into some pushback from the very organizations it was intending to promote. Race Forward, one of the charities originally listed on FCKH8’s anti-racism apparel page, quickly announced that they would not accept any donations from FCKH8. Colorlines, a news and commentary site published by Race Forward, then posted an article under the headline, “This is the company making money off of Ferguson.”
FCKH8 responded in a lengthy post on their website, saying that Colorlines and Race Forward were using “Click-baiting, Race-baiting, Homophobia, Minimizing Ferguson Residents, Trivializing Breast Cancer Awareness Efforts & Distorting Facts to Get Views & Donations.”
“The raising of a hand with a phone in it lets you know someone is taking a photo or a video. If in the future, all a person has to do is look at you, and you can’t tell if they are recording or not, the paradigm of privacy will have shifted.”—Micah Singleton, ‘Defining privacy in the age of wearable cameras’
“While I wouldn’t have labeled it such originally, my pump really was my first “wearable”—an electronic device I wear to make my life easier. But while it has improved my ability to deal with diabetes, this wearable is not a flashy talking piece. It makes things like sleeping, exercising and dressing up for high-level business meetings difficult.We won’t discuss the limitations a pump offers for romantic encounters.
Over the years, some bespoke designs, fashioned for me by my wife, made my wearable fit into my life more easily. One such accessory, which my wife and I endearingly call “The Puppet,” attaches to my bedshirt via two safety pins. This crocheted sleeve, with two pockets, holds my pump while I sleep and has a 99 percent success rate of keeping my glucose management system, Animas One Touch Ping, in place through the night. The second pocket was geared to hold a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM), which will set off an alarm should my levels go dangerously low. Cool-looking? Not at all. Life-enhancing? Absolutely.
"I downloaded Kitty Powers while scrubbing out my shower drain last Saturday. By Sunday night, I’d cleaned my whole apartment, gotten to level 12, and made 24 matches. That is how addictive this game is (and how sad my life is, that all I can think of to do on a weekend is clean my bathroom and play a British drag queen matchmaking game.)
The premise of the game is simple: Under the watchful eye of head honcho Kitty Powers (actually the drag persona of game developer Richard Franke), you establish your very own matchmaking agency, then accompany your clients on dates to see how well they mesh.”
“Gilmore Girls marks one of the few series that’s dominated by female characters, and is specifically about the lives of women, not the men around them. While love interests and male characters flutter around Rory and Lorelai, the Deans and the Lukes, they’re not the center of the drama.”—S.E. Smith, 6 reasons the Internet loves ‘Gilmore Girls’
“Basically, if you were on the fence about Justin Bieber before, he’s all but given you permission to hate him now. It’s gotten to the point where the guy can’t even catch a break from other celebrities. To suggest that he has an image problem is like suggesting that the Pope might be Catholic.”—Chris Osterndorf, '7 important lessons Justin Bieber needs to learn'