Ashley Greene and Jackson Rathbone as Alice Cullen and Jasper Hale in Twilight (2008)

The Saga has had a troubled racial history since its inception. From author Stephanie Meyer’s refusal to have non-white actors portray vampires in its film adaptation, to its colourist representation of “pure” pale skin in juxtaposition against Indigenous people, the recent “ Renaissance” of resurged interest in the film and book franchise, particularly in the light of recent release , has not been met without highly justified criticism. Meyer’s storytelling relies on an archaic idea of whiteness in almost Lovecraftian fashion — relying on historical anxieties of the “otherness” of persons of colour as a crutch for world-building.

Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig) in “Wonder Woman 1984”

Content Warning: This essay makes reference to sexual assault, rape and murder. Reader discretion is advised.

When I watched the scene of one of WW84’s antagonists, Barbara Minerva (player by Kristen Wiig) be stalked and catcalled by a man while walking through the park, I quickly felt uncomfortable. I had had a similar experience myself. Most women I know have had something reflecting that experience. When the catcalling quickly escalated into a violent assault, I felt even more uncomfortable. I felt uneasy that such a real danger for everyday women was playing out in front of me as a part…

Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff in “Wandavision”

The recently-concluded series , Disney+’s first Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) television project, as well as character Wanda Maximoff’s first solo outing, has been well received by audiences and critics alike. While its genre-bending style and nuanced approach to the superhero genre has been met with praise, there has been criticism from advocates of on-screen representation. The manner in which Maximoff has been presented in the MCU, both culturally and ethnically since her debut in 2015’s has been a source of controversy that has only been brought to promience through

As expertly demonstrated in Gavia Baker-Whitelaw’s deep-dive

Gina Carano as Cara Dune in Disney’s “The Mandalorian”

Gina Carano’s highly-publicised firing from the Disney+ Series has been cited as another example of so-called “cancel culture” by conservative pundits. Cancel culture, a phrase latched onto by Trump-era conservatives, pedals a conspiracy of a social and political climate that ostracises non-progressive ideology and those that possess it. This conspiracy is how Carano explains her experience of Disney “bullying” her over her political views.

Carano’s firing, announced in the wake of her comparison to the treatment of Trump supporters to the experiences of Jewish people in the Holocaust, was the result of being “headhunted” by the company for…

Michael J. Fox, taken by Mamadi Doumbouya for the New York Times

Today’s announcement of the death of conservative political commentator and radio personality Rush Limbaugh at the age of 70 made for a mixed obituary across the political spectrum. Modern American conservatives, most notably now-former President Trump, paid tribute to Limbaugh as a “legend” — a display of Limbaugh’s role in helping to shape America’s current political climate.

For those in contrast from this form of conservatism, neither praise nor sadness followed the news of Limbaugh’s passing, and one particular controversial moment of Limbaugh’s went viral since the announcement. Limbaugh’s accusation that the actor Michael J. …

Advertisements for Lysol as a “feminine hygiene” product (left) and for OMV! by Vagisil (right)

Lysol (known in other countries as Dettol), is known today as a popular household cleaning product containing benzalkonium chloride — an organic salt used as a chemical preservative. In its higher concentrations, the chemical is used to provoke serious changes in the body, as Lysol’s inception in 1889 aimed to aid the ongoing cholera epidemic in Germany. Its commercial success in early 20th century America came with its marketing as protection from the 1918 influenza pandemic. …

Queen Latifah as Hattie McDaniel, alongside Laura Harrier’s fictional character, in Ryan Murphy’s “Hollywood”.

The afterlife of Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American to win an Academy Award, has largely been one of increasing recognition of her role as a historic trailblazer within the constraints of Jim Crow’s Hollywood. McDaniel, who won the Oscar for her role of “Mammy” in 1939’s was invited to the ceremony under special invitation, as the ceremony was strictly “whites only”. McDaniel, and her date for the evening, F.P. …

Judy Garland in A Star is Born (1954)

The demonstrations held at the Stonewall Inn in New York City in the early hours of June 28th, 1969, referred to as The Stonewall Riots, is widely regarded as the start of the modern Gay Rights Movement in the United States. The resistance towards increasing police and state interference set the precedent for LGBT activist groups and pride movements thereafter. What is not as certain, however, is the events that prompted the riots to happen that particular…

Content Warning: This essay makes reference to stories of both child sexual abuse and suicide, and may not be suitable for certain readers.

The recent news of Naya Rivera’s sudden and devastating death at California’s Lake Piru sent shockwaves through pop culture and social media over the past week. The popular memory of the deaths of fellow cast members Cory Monteith and Mark Salling – as both had also died unexpectedly in their thirties – quickly resurfaced as a point of comparison. This series of young lives from the original cast cut short, within a brief span of…

Bethany Gemmell

Recent graduate of the University of Edinburgh, specialising in American history, pop culture, and everything in-between.

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