Saying Titans’ Starfire “Looks Like a Hooker” Is Not Good Criticism
Is this really the hill people want to die on? It is … ? Okay, let’s go, I guess.
Some people have decided that they want to explain that it is not racism that’s behind their hatred of Titans’ Starfire being played by black actress Anna Diop. Nope, they’ll be sure to tell you that it’s because she’s dressed like a “prostitute” or “hooker.”
Where to begin? Well, let’s start with the non-racial issues and the work our way down. So let’s begin with the costume. For reference, this is Starfire’s costume in the upcoming show from what we have seen thus far.
— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) July 18, 2018
Now here are some Starfire’s costumes throughout her comic book run and for fun, Teen Titans:
Let’s not be out here pretending that this is a lot of skin for Starfire. She shows less skin in the promo for Titans than she does in Teen Titans, a show aimed at children and other vague youth demographics. And as I’ve said before, I (mostly) enjoy Starfire’s comic costumes, even though some are just … too fanservice-y and make zero sense in terms of humanoid physics.
Secondly, she looks like a “prostitute”? You mean she looks like a sex worker? And that’s a bad thing how? Is the idea of Starfire working for a living offensive to you? Also, do you think all sex workers dress like extras from a ’70s exploitation movie? This shorthand for sex work = bad is not only sexist, but in this case, the criticsim itself is based on nothing but a dated, stereotypical idea of what a black sex worker looks like.
Finally, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of it all: race. Look, before we do anything, let’s get this out. If you don’t like Starfire in Titans so far because you don’t like the costume or styling then welcome, you have joined the majority of people on the internet, including this writer. Thinking Starfire’s costume is bad =/= racism. Making racist comments about the actress playing her and harassing her about it = racism.
And if you are not using racism in the way you are criticizing Starfire … why are you so defensive? So defensive, in fact, that you will use sexist coded language to somehow make it “better.”
“No, we don’t have a problem with Starfire being black. We have a problem with Starfire looking like a black prostitute, even though she is wearing more clothes than any of her incarnations to date.”
Let’s not pretend that this “prostitute” thing doesn’t come from the Cookie Lyon-style fur coat they put her in and the dated wig, because there is nothing about this costume signals her being a sex worker unless you are literally thinking that Starfire came to Earth in the ’70s and was stuck in that fashion. Plus, it’s already been explained that this outfit exists because the character is coming out of a disco.
People seem to really be confusing having an actual criticism of a character and a costume design with being allowed to say whatever racist/sexist thing you want without any feedback. Sorry, the two are not the same, and if you don’t want to be lumped in with those kinds of people, then don’t prop up what they are saying just because you agree with the badness of the look.
The reality is that Anna Diop was being harassed, had to turn off her comments on Instagram because of that harassment, and her fellow cast members have already come out to support her. We didn’t create that issue; racists did.
(image: DC Universe/Warner Bros.)
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