Being Woke Is Nothing To Be Scared About

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Opinion from Joe (@guyatthemovies)

I’ve been getting a ton of comments on certain reviews, most recently and significantly on Prey, complaining about films being “woke,” a term that is literally defined as being aware of injustices and oppression in society, starting with racial oppression back in the 60s. Star Wars: The Force Awakens was called woke because of the inclusion of Daisy Ridley’s Rey as the main character and John Boyega’s Finn, a Black character, in support. Black Panther simply existing as a movie earned the label, the first Marvel Studios film in the modern Marvel Cinematic Universe led by a black lead in Chadwick Boseman and the 18th film in the MCU. The Batman was accused of being woke earlier this year with Paul Dano’s Riddler targeting the elite and Zoe Kravitz’s Catwoman referring to white privileged a–holes. Not to mention that she’s said to be bisexual. Disney includes LGBTQIA characters in blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments and gets crap for it, just as they did with Lightyear. Moses Ingram was literally threatened with her life for simply appearing in the Obi-Wan Kenobi series. Just think about films that got review-bombed before they even came out, like Captain Marvel, or shows, like She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.

It’s becoming ridiculous. This is not a popular statement and will turn people away, but if there isn’t a white male in the lead, fanboys are upset. This is just disgusting to me. The wonton disregard for and intentional ignorance of the real world and the people within it from these people that turn into keyboard warriors to complain about a strong woman in Comanche Nation overcoming the disregard of her tribe and using her talents to ultimately defeat the Predator, an alien in a fictional movie for example, is exhausting. Just because Black people were traditionally left out of leading roles, women were always cast in stereotypical 1950s gender roles, the existence of the LGBTQIA community has been largely ignored in film… doesn’t mean that the world is the same way. Films are beginning to accurately reflect the world around us, and studies have shown that those films, ones that are more representative of actual society and where people can see themselves, are more successful. It’s because of the authenticity, the strength of the power of diverse storytelling. Sure, some do it better than others with some films delivering their intended messages a little too on the nose with poor, inauthentic writing, but some films ARE better than others. That’s normal, that will happen, and that’s okay. 

I don’t want to watch the same old story told over and over again, nor do I want to watch old societally accepted behaviors continuously depicted in films of today. Some may be comfortable with that, but it’s clear that the majority are not. The world has evolved and continues to do so; film is doing the same. Every movie is not made for every person. People have every right to not watch something and not like it. But bigoted reasoning and associated attempted explanations are best left unsaid.

The true issue with being “woke” is this: it challenges the generations-long accepted status quo and that’s uncomfortable, and people don’t know how to be uncomfortable without feeling threatened. Being “woke” doesn’t take anything from you, no… it sees other people, and seeks to push for a more equal and accepting society.

If recognizing the injustices and oppressions of the past, if telling diverse stories about underrepresented people, if representation is woke… then I’m woke AF and you should probably unfollow me, because I’m about to stay woke.

What Do You Think?

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