WE LOVE FINE SUPERHERO PHOTOSHOOT
AMBER LOVE 22-MARCH-2015 (Updated with corrections and photos) This weekend, fans have been raging about beloved publishers missing the boat on making merchandise for all genders and marketing strategies that fall short of equality. It was great to get a heads up from Marvelite Meredith Placko, about a Marvel themed photoshoot that would have something for everyone. It’s called #AgeofFashion on Instagram and Twitter.
Placko produced the #AgeofFashion photoshoot for We Love Fine and chose an interesting cast for the models. The photographer for this project is Greg DeStephano. Captain America is a woman of color who happens to be deaf; Hawkeye is a mixed race plus size model; Loki and Thor are Hmong and Vietnamese American. Her mission was to include diverse body types, abilities, and ethnicities. Their Twitter names are: @mplacko @skydart @iamchubbybunny @yumeninja @AliciaMarieBODY @AnastasiaW @elhofferdesign
When it comes to modeling, the winter 2014/2015 season showed a huge global push for removing ableism from the fashion catwalks. We got to see models with prosthetics and in wheelchairs spotlighted by the Twitter account @ModsofDiversity. We’ve seen Lizzie Velasquez take the title of “Ugliest Woman in the World” to the TED talk stage, among many others, to give motivational speeches about beauty standards.
We can try talking about diversity and what it means to us as consumers or fans, but there are times when corporate support does wonders to make the conversation less frightening. The news of the past week included more shootings and abuse by law enforcement, one of the victims was a man in custody being abused by officers while he was in his wheelchair; others were about lethal tactics used on people with known mental illnesses. These “others” that are seen as minorities to the abled world, the white privileged world, and the wealthy class have evolved in comics and pop culture to represent more than feeble, helpless victims.
Of course, comics and gaming can always do better; and, because the production value is different than film and TV, there’s no reason creators shouldn’t be bringing new things to the table. Wheelchairs should mean more than iconic props for Professor Xavier and Oracle. Mental illness doesn’t need to be treated like a superpower that gives someone like Victor Sage, whose compulsions made him a great detective, an identity other than weird loner. Gender identity doesn’t need to be a tool used by trickster villains to manipulate heroes.
Corporate support by enterprises as huge as We Love Fine using big names like Disney/Marvel, can introduce change in how these subjects are approached and bring it to some of the biggest consumer audiences. After all, that’s how X-MEN became the success it is. Approaching diversity also makes the risk rather huge as Starbucks learned with its #RaceTogether initiative that infuriated people who mocked the coffee franchise all over the internet.