A man wakes in a white room. He’s conventionally good looking: tall, thin, brown hair, blue eyes. He sits on the edge of the bed, contemplating how he found himself in this place and where he’s going next. Adventure awaits him once he figures out what’s going on, and the sky’s the limit once he leaves this room.
“White Room Syndrome,” described in the Turkey City Lexicon, is considered a failure of an author’s imagination. There is no equivalent term for centering a story on a white man, even though an examination of all speaking parts in 100 top-grossing films from 2013 shows 74.1% were white with an average of two or more men for every woman regardless of race. In the 100 top-grossing sci-fi and fantasy films as of 2014, only 12% featured a female protagonist, while only 8% had a protagonist of color (none of them women). 2% had protagonists with disabilities, and absolutely none had LGBTQ protagonists.
In an illuminating interview with Pilot Viruet at Flavorwire, Mathew Klickstein, author of SLIMED! An Oral History of Nickelodeon’s Golden Age, had a lot to say about diversity, along with a great deal of dismay about women in publishing, women as creators, women as comedians, and even women as an audience. (more…)