Wherein Ian Delves Into Sexism in Media, OR Why the Pilot Episode of TMNT (2012) is Highly Problematic

octubre 4, 2012 at 3:05 am (Animation, Comic Books, Commentary, Fat Hatred, Film, Homophobia, Racism, sexism, The kyriarchy, Videogames & Vidcons) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

(Content Note: Objectification of women.  Abstract descriptions of racism, fat hatred, dehumanization.  Words…so many words.)

So I wrote about my thoughts on the first two issues of Nickelodeon’s new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show. Then I went to The Technodrome.com, home of the largest TMNT fan community on the web, and shared my opinions in their forums there, particularly those on how disappointed I was at what I considered their treatment of April O’Neil sexist.

The comments were not particularly well received. This was not particularly surprising.

As someone who’s been part of the board for years, my impression of the TMNT fandom as represented by the board—and people there can correct me if I’m wrong–is that when it comes to gender, a vocal plurality of the believes that the status quo is acceptable, that a work is not sexist if there’s at least one woman in it who is not “useless” and/or can kick ass in some way, and that it’s a subject that never needs to be brought up ever, lest Venus de Milo be suddenly legitimized as a character. Or something.

As a feminist, I disagree. As both a fan of the TMNT and someone who believes that sexism helps makes works worse than they would otherwise be, I have an interest in doing what I can to help make it not be that way anymore.

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Wherein I judge the first two episodes of Nick’s TMNT

septiembre 30, 2012 at 2:03 am (Reviews, sexism, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

When I first began hearing news about the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon–this one produced by Nickelodeon–I wasn’t sure what to think.  While I was skeptical of the idea that it would win my heart the way the previous TMNT series did, several of the ideas seemed intriguing, and the direction of the toon didn’t seem like a bad one to go with.  Plus, with it being backed by Nickelodeon, there was no way it wasn’t going to have the best production values of any of the series to date.

The show’s two-part pilot “Rise of the Turtles” aired today, introducing the turtles, Splinter, April, and the two groups who appear to be the main antagonists for the immediate future, the Kraang and The Foot.  Given that the franchise has historically had very good first episodes, this version had a lot to live up to, and while it doesn’t quite succeed in that regard, it has enough interesting bits to keep me watching, at least for a while.

If we were to measure the series on a scale from A to 10, where A is the original comic book and 10 is the original cartoon, this incarnation probably rates a nine.  It takes a lot of liberties with the original material, some of them intriguing—Splinter was a father before he ever met the turtles (*), the Utroms are now The Kraang and have identical-looking human disguises and an amusingly stilted speech patterns—and some which I’m not at all sure work—April is now the turtles’ age. It’s also far more focused on being a funny show than it is in being an exciting or emotionally complex show, although shows like Adventure Time have taught me that initial impressions can be misleading. In any case, what it does it does reasonably well; all in all, it feels like a worthwhile incarnation of the series—moreso than the IDW comics, anyway.

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