Monday, February 28, 2011

That's a Gnome of A Different Colour

The other day, while doing my usual multiple-times-daily-I'm-not-an-addict-shut-up-I-can-quit-anytime-I-want-to trawl of the internet, I ran across this:

The Gnomeo and Juliet Avatar Creator.

I like Avatar creators. They're fun.  I have another blog with avatars from  every avatar creator I have found and can display the results of.

That last phrase "can display the results of"  is problematic.   And the Gnomeo and Juliet avatar creator displays why.

This was as close as I could get to a gnome that looks like me.   And yes, I tried the "red Gnome" option.  The face and hair choices are identical on either side.    There are eye color choices, and hairdo choices (which if you're creative you can get a gnome that looks Asian),  but no skin color choices at all.

If you've been reading OCG for even a day or two, you know this is not even close to an avatar that would make people think of me when they look at it.  That's why I drew my own as you see above.  Because after thinking about it, the only way to show something that hasn't been done can be done is to do it yourself.

Good job on the BBW body type.  (Cutely chubby seems to be the standard gnome body type), but  no options for skin or hairstyle that even come close to mine.

Now hey, props to the creators of Gnomeo and Juliet for not putting  people of color into the movie as those lovely racist garden decor:  lawn jockeys.

But you know what?  I'm still annoyed.  Because when I did a search for garden gnomes?  I found   Ninja garden gnomes.   Old lady garden gnomes.  Zombies coming up out of the earth to terrify the garden gnomes.  Biker garden gnomes.  Old lady garden gnome in a wet t-shirt.

I had to search specifically for the term African garden gnome to find this:

and I had to search under Japanese Garden Gnome to find this:

So there's proof that garden gnomes come in other shades than "Caucasian peach."

So what was the problem with gnome and knickknack diversity?

There were goldfish.  There were dolls inside the homes.  There were lawn frogs and mushrooms, so all of that was doable.   My guess is that -- as usual -- the filmmakers and animators simply didn't think about it.    TV has rules to abide by.   That's why you see characters of color in the main cast, and in the background.

The filmmaking industry has yet to get on board with that.   We know they can do it.  And we know they are capable of doing more than just the Magical Nonheteronormative Caucasian when they really bother trying.

Little more diversity next time, Hollywood? How 'bout it?   Did we learn nothing from the Razzie Award-winning The Last Airbender?