This past weekend was the arguably biggest event on the geek calendar, San Diego Comic Con. It is an explosion of headlines, news clips, and video spots that most geeks salivate over. However, I was not one of them. That’s right, I spent the biggest geek weekend of the year creating Sesame Street characters out of fruit. It was awesome.
My niece, Baby Destructo (as I call her), turned three last week and wanted a Sesame Street birthday party. Elmo is kiddie crack, I swear. As she is my very favorite person to spend time with, my family and I spent the weekend trying to make it the best day of her year.
Hanging out with a three-year old is a reminder of how active an imagination can be. She was always pointing to nothing and seeing trains or butterflies coming through the house. She makes force lighting and names everyone after My Little Pony characters. We sat together and she read books to me, and even has her favorite book memorized. My personal highlight though was when she pointed to Spock on my t-shirt and said “I like him.”
Towards the end of the weekend, when she was all passed out from playing her favorite game of me chasing her through a museum, I finally got to check out some of the highlights from SDCC. I was particularly disappointed to see some news pieces. A male con staffer decided to hijack a Women in Film Production panel to teach the panelists about the film industry. I can’t quite understand why, but he thought that he needed to help the female panelists explain their careers and run their panel for them. Then I checked out the reviews of The Killing Joke. I admit, I haven’t seen the film yet but the descriptions I have read are not promising. They took Batgirl, whose part in this comic is small in itself, and added a storyline that made her a lovesick child who only seems motivated by a man.
I was excited to see the Wonder Woman trailer; it was a surprising breath of fresh air after reading some of the others. It was a strong woman standing up and being an equal partner with a man while fighting for the equality of others. I would love to see more of strong female characters in all media, but what really hurt was seeing that a strong female character was dragged down. Mostly though, I think about the world that my tiny, imaginative, smart niece is growing up in.
Media will shape her more than any generation before her. She will grow up in a world where equality is an active topic, where in her formative years a woman is the first presidential nominee for a major American political party. But in the same breath, entertainment has dragged its feet in making changes. Every time we get a Ghostbusters or Buffy, another demeaning instance seems to rear its ugly head.
We have a responsibility to the future to make sure that our entertainment is diverse and equal. And in some ways it seems silly. After everything that has happened, this fight should be over but the current climate of this country has proven otherwise.
I want my niece to grow up in a world where she is treated equally along with everyone else. So the next time you read something that is not quite right or hear a joke that uses a minority group as the punchline, think about the future you want for the next generation.