Dangerous Stereotypes: Rebels

I’m going to tackle some stereotypes present in modern fiction that I think are dangerous when used irresponsibly.  Any entries part of this series will be labeled as “Dangerous Stereotypes.” You can read previous entries in this series, which discuss the ScientistBad Boy, and Alpha Male stereotypes.

Audio Edition Coming Soon!

 

We all love stories about underdogs. We like hearing tales of right and justice and the forces of good beating evil and injustice, no matter what the odds are against them. We like stories about lone wolves who find out the truth about “the system” and fight against it. We love our Rebel Alliances, our Neos, our Team Avatars. We enjoy following the stories of characters who are outgunned but still pull through with cunning, bravery, and a hefty dose of luck. We admire the vigilante characters like Batman, Zorro, and V who uncover the truth or see injustice run rampant and refuse to follow protocol in order to do what is right. We’ve all read those stories, seen those movies and TV shows, played as those video game characters. The fact that we can be outmatched and still come out on top is a heady, even addictive, feeling.

But real life usually doesn’t work out that way.

And sometimes… it shouldn’t.
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Dangerous Stereotypes: Bad Boys

I’m going to tackle some stereotypes present in modern fiction that I think are dangerous when used irresponsibly.  Any entries part of this series will be labeled as “Dangerous Stereotypes.”  The previous entry on this topic is about the Scientist stereotype, which can be read here.  

Click HERE for the Audio Edition!

God of Mischief

Image via desktop-wallpapers.net

People have interesting ways of coping with scary things.  Some deny their fear.  Some avoid what frightens them.  Some seek it out.  And many people, often women, seem to be taking what should be scary and try to make it cute.

I’m talking about the “bad boys.”

There are so many villainous characters out there with cute, sorrowful, gentle, loving, or chibi-fied pictures of them out on the internet.  Sometimes they are anti-heroes like Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z or Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Sometimes they are villains like Voldemort from Harry Potter or Loki from the Marvel Comics.  Sometimes they are someone who flickers in between like Mr. Gold from Once Upon a Time.  And sometimes they are like Alucard from the anime and manga Hellsing. Alucard is the opposite of cute.  He’s one of, if not the most, badass, psychotic, murderous vampire in modern literature.  He’s fucking terrifying.  He’s murdered and drunk the blood of hundreds, perhaps thousands of people, human and vampire, and enjoyed it.  The only think that keeps him under control is the special spell that binds him to the will of the leader of the Hellsing Organization.  And he’s one of the GOOD guys!

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Dangerous Stereotypes: Scientists

I’m going to tackle some stereotypes present in modern fiction that I think are dangerous when used irresponsibly.  Any entries part of this series will be labeled as “Dangerous Stereotypes.”  The next entry on this topic is about the Bad Boys stereotype, which can be read here.

Click HERE for the Audio Edition!

Professor Hojo (via Final Fantasy Wikia)

There is a nasty and detrimental stereotype in fiction:  the depiction of scientists.

In most instances, scientists are portrayed as too smart for their own good, too naive for their own good, or outright diabolical.  The threat in the story often arises from the hubris of scientists messing with something they either don’t fully understand or think they can control.  In such cases they are often called “mad” or “obsessed,” driven to complete their work, no matter the cost to themselves or to others.

Or, if the scientists aren’t deliberately malicious, they end up being naive to the extreme, not understanding how their research or experiments could be used to malicious ends.  Even if the scientist realizes his mistake (for they are almost always male), he tends to keep going “in the name of science” or is totally ineffectual at stopping the misuse of his work.  And if the scientist himself is absent from the story, the technology he created, often a robot with artificial intelligence, remains a danger, such as Superman’s foe Brainiac or HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The examples of the evil/mad scientist stereotype are myriad:  Hojo from the video game Final Fantasy VII.  Rotwang from the movie Metropolis.  Victor Frankenstein, creator of the quintessential monster in Mary Shelley’s masterpiece.  Almost any antagonist in superhero comics.  Pick a 1940s or 1950s horror or science fiction film and you’ll find that the monster or threat is, more often than not, the result of science gone wrong.

Even real people, including teens and children, who are not certified scientists, but who have an interest in that direction are often stereotyped as strange, anti-social, unattractive, and ultimately dangerous individuals.  They are often marginalized or bullied until, in a fit of childish pique (or well-planned retribution), they fight back the only way they know how:  with science and technology.  And in the end it’s up to the handsome, charming, muscle-bound male hero to save the day by blowing things up.  Seems like a bit of a cheap shot to me.  But why haven’t we moved beyond this rather lazy piece of character creation?

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