Elves of Colour


When writing stories I can’t help being conscious of the people represented even in my fantasy and futuristic landscapes. It’s hard to find female protagonists in popular media, harder to find ones who past the Bechdel Test, and even harder still to find women of colour.

I like to find artwork that, to me, represents the kind of mood or look of my characters. I’m bored of white European fantasies/sci-fis, and so for NaNoWriMo I’m challenging myself to go beyond what I’m familiar with. I want to see more stories about characters from a variety of non-white cultures, and I believe it’s lazy to say ‘I shouldn’t write such characters because I’m white’. Culturally diverse representation is starting to grow in multimedia, like in the new “Star Trek Discovery” series or the “Walking Dead” video game, but so very slowly.

When I try to search for elves, wizards or knights who are not white—let alone non-sexualised women—it takes me HOURS. For every seventy images of a pretty white elf, there might be one elf of colour. Fantasy seems to be a terribly white-washed genre. In part, it’s cultural assimulation—it’s what we’ve grown up to imagine and believe is beautiful/best/most magical.

I want to stretch my own imagination and stretch the imagination of others. Part of writing is to research, and I’ve discovered so many fascinating facts about medieval Bulgaria, Turkey and Arabia. My favourite fact to whip out at parties at the moment (no joke) is this: did you know that in roughly the 7th Century, Volga Bulgarian noble women could not marry until they had proven themselves in war? I mean, it’s bad that Bulgaria was at war frequently enough for it to be a prerequisite to marriage, but still. It’s time to change the erasure of warrior women throughout history by bringing their stories back at least through fiction. It’s a big ol’ world and there’s so much more to imagine other than differing versions of fantasy Europe.

Have you found fantasy PoC images of elves, wizards, and knights? Do any artists spark your imagination? Who are they?

Feature image by Eleonor Piteira

Following my NaNo mood-board on Pinterest!

All Female Japanese Ghostbusters

Meet Japan’s plus-size model: Naomi Watanabe. She looks like the first person you should take to a party and the one person who’d maybe cheer you up during the apocalypse. Her mission: to break Japanese stereotypes about women being slim and demure.

lipstick model

In fact, she’s done a hell of a lot. Not only is she a model but also a comedian, best known for her Beyoncé impressions (also know as the “Beyoncé of Japan”), she’s a cast member on Japan’s “SNL,” was named one of Vogue Japan’s “women of the year 2016,” and is a judge on X Factor Japan. Finally, she has the most followers on instagram in all of Japan.

But that’s not enough. No. Watanabe has her own clothing line called “Punyus,” which means “chubby” in Japanese.

I’M STILL NOT DONE. She’s also been in an official music collab with Pentatonix. Just for the record: I adore Pentatonix, holy banana peel. She cracks me up.

To top it all off, Watanabe has made a Ghostbusters music video. This lady is on fire and flaming hot.

If you’re in need of cheering up this weekend, I highly recommend checking out her instagram. She looks like so much fun and has certainly brought a smile to my evening.

Magical Girls: Internalised Misogyny and Genre Rebirth

Let’s be honest. The ‘magical girl’ trope used to suck when I was a kid, especially when girls are taught to hate themselves because ‘femininity = weakness,’ and gosh are magical-girl-shows ALL ABOUT showy associations of girliness. As such, the magical girl trope only pleased young girls who hadn’t yet learnt to think ‘girliness is a flaw.’ The older a girl got, the more she saw that many magical girls were shaped as vapid creatures obsessed with getting boyfriends or hiding their other life as a pop star, downplaying the fighting and dealing with schoolyard problems. Basically: sitcoms. So it’s no wonder women distanced themselves from ‘magical girls’ to try and preserve their sense of respectability. Until BOOM: Sailor Moon. But let’s build up to that.


What the heck am I talking about when I link magical girls to internalised misogyny? It’s the act of rejecting women, or yourself, for behaving/looking a certain way. The thing is, to quote everydayfeminism, “it’s not always other people or other genders that are responsible for sexism. Sometimes, it’s actually you.” Women oppress themselves and their peers, known as ‘internalised misogyny’—the act of involuntary perpetuating sexist messages within their societies and culture. Enter stage: the magical girl.

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