It truly confuses and enrages them
Representation in pop-culture is extremely important, that is just a plain and simple fact. It is important for people to be able to look at their pages and screens and see a reflection of themselves looking back. I think white people, and white men, in particular, take that fact for granted. Now, I’m not trying to get bogged down by exceptions. I’m not trying to see anyone commenting back #Notallwhitemen. If you are the statistical outlier please keep being that without taking offense to my broad generalization.
But let’s get real. When Rose is being written out of The Rise of Skywalker because of angry white men on twitter, and a masterpiece like HBO’s Watchmen is being described as a “woke mess,” the problem isn’t with the narratives, the problem is with those viewers. Those loud, angry, white men who have become so used to seeing nothing but reflections of themselves in media that it truly confuses and enrages them when they see anything else.
These sorts of commenters and voices bemoan the “shoehorning” of people of color, LGBTQIA people, and women into narratives, without even considering the overarching whiteness of so many of their favorite franchises. There was literally one black character per Star Wars trilogy, ok? ONE! It wasn’t hurting anyone to let a woman of Asian descent say a couple of words and kiss a guy! But the idea that a character who doesn’t fit the mold of a hero could steal a big moment from Mark Hamill or Oscar Isaac was incredibly offensive to these internet bigots. Diversity is not one or two people of color with speaking roles in a franchise, diversity is only one or 2 white characters having speaking roles in a franchise!
Then there are those who would claim that pretty much all LGBTQIA representation in pop-culture is supporting a “gay agenda” or pushing some sort of ideology that, that sort of behavior is normal. Well, I have news for those conspiracy theorists, they are absolutely RIGHT! Having characters in pop-culture who represent the wide spectrum of sexualities, genders, sexual orientations, and identities are 100 percent done with the intent of making people realize that not only does the LGBTQIA community exists, but it is part of YOUR community.
Gay people, bisexual people, and trans people are not some “other” race of genetic monsters that need their own media and stories. We are people who are engaging with the same pop-culture lexicon as everyone else and just looking for a little piece of ourselves in there. Having a lesbian couple next door, a trans mailman, or a bi-sexual older brother in mainstream media isn’t showing kids anything destructive. It is teaching them that there are lesbian couples next door, trans mailmen, and bi-sexual older brothers in the world.
Women see a somewhat different kind of problem with representation in mainstream media because, as long as there have been cishet male stories to tell there needed to be cishet women for love interests. The issue that women have been fighting against for years is the way in which they are represented. The damsel in distress, the mean old shrew, the nurturing mother, the untrustworthy femme fatale, and the loving wife are just a few of the archetypes that women have been forced into through the decades. Women have never been given the same level of depth and development as men in pop-culture.
That’s not to say there are no problems with under-representation in pop-culture either, about half the world’s population is female and yet plenty of games, films, tv-shows, comic books, and novels are produced without any female representation whatsoever. I mean, The Departed won Best Picture back in 2006 with only 2 female characters. Go find me a “best picture” nominee with as big a cast and as few men as The Departed had women.