Wednesday, July 10, 2013

X-23: The Parallel to the Trials and Tribulations that Stars Endure

I've mentioned this before alongside the other aspects of X-23's character being a very abuse or lost child spokesperson type character, but one element I've yet to truly dive into fully is this parallel.  It's outside my reach of perception to be honest.  It's something I could not personally truly understand.

So, I am going to try and do my best to explain this, and please do share your thoughts on this subject as well.  Maybe you can help fashion this into a better focus on the areas that need that light.  Discussion and openness is what's needed on these topics for the world to see.  If we continue to hide them in shadows, people that take advantage of these things will continuously keep doing what they are doing and how they are doing it because we are letting them get away with it.  We should never let them get away with it.  For the sake of yesterday, today, and tomorrow's children, a light must always shine on these subjects.

X-23 is a unique character.  It's hard to really suggest she only covers a single metaphor.  Every company on the planet watches her like a hawk.  Thanks to her affiliation with the X-Men and the Avengers, now every civilian watches her like a hawk too.  She is perpetually in the lime light from all sides and has been really since birth.

That's X-23's life.  That's Laura Kinney's life.  What started out in shadows and in silence, is now in the eyes of the world.  She didn't start that way at first.  It was only those that wanted to use her skills that knew of her, but slowly the world became more and more aware of her presence too.  All eyes are on her at all times thanks to her affiliations.

Those that want to use her, those that want to make her a trophy, those that want to even just abuse her to watch how her family or friends may react.  She's a character that gets everything thrown her way.  It's one of the reasons I genuinely prefer Sabertooth being dead.  He relates to story potential towards X-23 that is not a topic I ever want to see tread.  He's a character that embodies beast natures and that includes rape.  There are topics X-23 entails though about bullies, but not just a singular kind of bully.  X-23 deals with nearly all kinds.  Even the kind that comes from inside her own head, or from her readers and fans.

X-23 is an embodiment of youth but also how Stars are used and abused.  Her portrayal in NYX about being a prostitute does play up to that metaphor.  She caters to the scarier instincts of the Marvel fan's darker desires and it's a dangerous area.  This is why having her be a character more dangerous than even Wolverine comes into play.  She needs it for self-defense in this comic book world of cruelty.  Sadly the real world doesn't have such a defense for Celebrities, fans, or creators alike.  At least not yet.

We hear about these things all the time.  Rape culture, violence against children, violence against women, cyber-bullying, school yard bullies, suicide, and much much more.  This year in particular it seems like every story is coming out of the woodwork to remind everyone.  There's a reason for this.  It needs to be stopped.  It needs to stop.

 We say it's okay.  They signed up for this life.  They signed up to dance for our enjoyment.  They didn't really.  They signed up to do what they love.  There are very few stars where I make exceptions for this.  Many are grounded intelligent stars.  They don't let the money and spending get out of hand.  They balance living a normal life with what they can.  They want the real world experiences every person craves to have.  They want the support of others to choose to live as they want to live.  Yet fans treat them with death threats, suicide threats, and more just for being a celebrity. We tear them down repeatedly because they brought us joy.  How does that make sense?  These Stars are as human as you or I am.

The rape culture within these confines is so bad, that a star as young as 14 already will have internet users aggressively arguing over what it'd be like to take their virginity.  Freaking 14 years old?!?  They do this in plain sight across social media and it's sickening.  Yet we look the other way.  "It's on the internet, that's not real anyway."  These are kids and adults delighting in the destruction of the innocence of others.  That's cyber-bullying, and it shows a mentality of this is their thoughts that they want to act on.  Mentalities people let fester in the heads of kids and the media, we let it grow in how they act and treat others.  Then we wonder why things like kids, little girls and boys are getting gang raped by classmates that just laugh take pictures and think it's funny.  It's sick.  How could these kids could ever think something like that is okay?  What the hell did the world do to raise such little monsters?  Yet we blame the victim.  They shouldn't have been drunk in public, they shouldn't have been with a group of boys, and whatever else one can come up with or make up on the spot.  It's sickening.  People have no respect for others, they have no respect for themselves and their own dignity and it's just sick.  What kind of parents created monsters like this?  What kind of people actually let that happen and do nothing about it?

The rape culture towards young celebrities feeds into this making it worse.  Obsessed fans make fake porn photos that they scatter across the internet.  Stuff that can vary from all over the age spectrum.  We start dehumanizing those stars into objects at an early age. Praying for nip slips or a no panties drunken display.  Maybe today will be the day so and so has a wardrobe malfunction.  These are the darker natures of the fandoms to child celebrities let alone normal celebrities too.  These are the same things that are thrown onto X-23 herself.  An object for others to use, a tool or a weapon to aim at people.  A sex object to relieve themselves with.  Nearly all the same problems that young actresses have to deal with too.  By accepting it, we perpetuate it's okay.  We are essentially telling others it's okay to treat anyone like this if even their idols are fair game.  Then we wonder why such monstrous acts can happen.

Parenting makes the difference.  Some have amazing guidance from parents that listen and help, while others have had ones that take advantage of their growing fame.  Every child celeb goes through something different.  Some harsher than others.  Their stories aren't mine to tell though.  Some of them prefer these stories private, some are very outspoken about them.  Stories that vary all over the spectrum from having to grow up too fast in the limelight, their parents abusing the money they are making as guardians, studio employees taking advantage of their positions of power, the fans threatening suicide or death threats at every choice they don't like of that celebrity.  Others telling celebs who they can or can't be with and how they must live their life.  The demands are quite high, and getting higher every passing year.

Loving supportive parents make a huge difference.  The ones who stand up to help make a difference.  With X-23, her mother brought her into that world, but in the end did try to save her. Logan, her father, didn't know she existed until she wouldn't let him help her, and even when she did, he contributed to her falling farther away from herself further if even under the best of intentions.  Gambit though was another friend that let her grow into more by not condemning or judging her, just being there for her as she needed.  The world needs to stop accepting this behavior about condemnation on those that live differently than ourselves.

Sure there are rare instances where a prat might be throwing money around like it's water to impress others.  It does happen, but maybe we should dig deeper into why.  Are they doing this because of their own insecurities?  Their own feelings of emptiness?  Or are they doing this because they have no sense of care for others?  Are they devoid of empathy and full of only vanity?  Even growing up in the limelight there are stars who make differences in lives, who learn and grow.  They aren't seduced by wealth into more than they need, inflating themselves into more than who they are.  Their humble beginnings don't turn them into price tag whores without any kind of forethought or respect.  Others can lose their honor to the craft they so praise by letting all the earthly riches go to their head.  People say you can have no respect or honor without shame, but that's not true.  Some of the shameless among us have the highest regards for respect and honor imaginable.  It's whether or not you have lost all regard for a sense of self-respect and decency.  Just because someone is shameless does not mean them have no decency. (Mind you, that's not saying you can't have fun either!  Enjoy your hard earned money so long as your bills are covered and you can still save up!)

Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame is an example of one who made a difference.  Yes, grew up in the lime light and has made his fair share of youthful mistakes with drinking that he had to overcome.  From it he grew though.  He's a charismatic outspoken actor now on human rights, even the dangers of alcohol and the star industry.  He has many interviews on the pressures he endured, and how the stories of fun drunk parties enticed him into trying it and chasing those 'good times' for himself.  Of course they never came.  What people often don't tell others, or make clear across those drunken escapades is it's never about the booze itself.  It's about the people you're with.  Those same good times can be had sober so long as you have friends that respect you, laugh with you, and know you.  People you can trust that won't take advantage.  People that understand that inebriation means they cannot give consent.

Selena Gomez is another who grew from humble starts to incredible heights.  She helps UNICEF and other fans reach their dreams.  She reaches out to all corners that she can.  Still fondly carries on about the simpler things like her first real car.  Yet she's a star who is ranked #2 on the Top 100 hot actress list.  Still a Texas girl at heart though, still a tomboy who likes to be girly over the right things(per her own interviews and webcasts).  She's just a normal girl who reached for the stars and didn't stop.  She could have or be with anyone but she's just a normal girl at heart who wants what she wants like any other woman.  The only person who knows what those qualities are is her.  Fans and audiences, or even celeb gossip mongers don't get to tell her or anyone who they can or can't be with.  Who they need to be with.  How every outing with a friend is now a date for a potential future match.  That's just sick.  Yet that's all we heard before she was dating Bieber, and that's all we're hearing now that they are apart.  Who should be next for her.  How about we stop guessing and just let her live her life as she sees fit?  How would we react if people were telling us the same?  So why the hell are we doing it to others?  What kind of monsters are we to speculate over who someone should or should not care about?  These stars, these people are their own people. So how dare we assume we know everything in their heads and about them.  How dare we try to play matchmaker and tell them what they have to do.  It's not our life to make those choices for them.  The gossip world tries to control her every action and while she is getting pulled every which direction, she still stands up for others.  She stands up for her fans.  She protects them.  Another example of this is her own website and forum among other ways to reach out to fans to let them know they will be okay and can feel safe without harassment from others.  She's quite a smart girl, even using Facebook in her early years for video chats with fans to help keep the sick bastards at bay by them publicly shaming themselves from overstepping.  Even her early self-made diary videos for youtube included how the paparazzi made going on a simple hiking trip for fun an ordeal.  She's experienced and tried to enlighten everyone about the dangers but also the excitement to living the life she's led in a very down to Earth manner.  How she still gets excited when her songs come on the radio, and even how she still gets overjoyed to tears when her singles hit their rightful number 1 place.  Her Disney break out show Wizards of Waverly Place displays this metaphor too.  It reflects that the celebrity world is magic but it must be tempered with responsibility.  It must not be abused or taken for granted, otherwise it may cause more harm than good.  This message comes from a show that caters to young budding fantasy/science fiction genre lovers.  Starting to see why I lean her for the X-23 lead role now if a film were made?

Taylor Swift is another one many get in a tizzy over to slam repeatedly whenever the chance arises.  Apparently even the Westboro Baptist Church is throwing one of their annual insanity fits over her too.  Yet all she's doing is what any person wants to do.  She wants to enjoy her life and all that it entails.  Every love, she throws herself into with unreserved passion.  Yet others mock her for it? She's living life to the fullest as to what she believes that is and lets it blast out to the world through her music.  Yet we want to confine her to what we think is morally or ethically appropriate?  Or we slam her for the fact she'll never look our way?  How fair is that?  She's still a person.  Fans try to slut shame her assuming they know what she's done with those she's dated or that it even matters.

Alyssa Milano is a star that had to face this at an early age herself.  Her own younger brother couldn't even surf the internet without finding porn pictures of his big sister everywhere, be they real or fake.  The news stories from the early internet days show this is not a new problem.

These stars are real people.  They have real families.  They have real lives, real loves, real passions.  Their fans are real people.  We just have to remember that.  We need to stop treating them like objects.  Like possessions to tout around or notches on a belt.  They are people.  Not trophies.  They are human with human desires, needs, lives, and yes, mistakes.  We all learn from life differently.  Just because they are famous doesn't make them our whores to pimp out like Zebra Daddy did X-23.  An act Marjorie Liu re-covered in the X-23 v2 oneshot comic where Laura beheads another pimp doing that, and again in the v3 ongoing comic when Alice was introduced and where Laura admitted while she did live a life like that she would never pull another into what she went through, ever.

Celebrities are not ours to harass as we please or tell others they can't reach out to.  We belittle others for who they care about and reach out to as their idols.  Tell them don't, they have no time for you.  Then we wonder why stars get jaded and life starts to wear them down.  Someone I talked to once a long time ago during my fansubbing days made a very valid point.  They wanted to write a letter to Demi Lavoto expressing their feelings and admiration for what she's been through, because that fan had been through similar disorders.  They just wanted to let her know that she's not alone and that they appreciate and admire how she's becoming a voice to support others and how she grew from it.  Everyone else in the fansub group balked and laughed at this.  Why would a star, a celebrity, ever care about what you have to say?  Suffice to say I'm no longer with said group.  I'll let them remain nameless on here as that'd be bad press for them(no press is bad press, it's all exposure) and I do not agree with public shaming, but they were wrong.  I told this person that they should go for it.  Celebrities are people too, and with all they endure, sometimes the simple letters of hope, of thanks, of gratitude can make all the difference to them.  Simple things to let them know they aren't and will never be alone.  That we the fans appreciate all they do and have done for us.

Yes there are other stars, like politicians, that are quite vapid and causing more damage than helping.  They are hung up on the things the money and the high society-like status at times that they forget the passion of what they do or the whys.  They forget to stay grounded.  They forget what life is like on the other side of helping people through genuine acts of kindness, not displays for publicity.  They don't know what it's like donating the last 20 dollars they have for a week to someone else that may need it more.  This disconnect happens all over the spectrum, whether it's Justin Bieber saying in various places on the subject of rape "everything happens for a reason" or it's Barbara Walters on the view defending the usage of derogatory terms aimed at Palin's children.  I'll admit myself that I'm not a fan of Palin, but leave her children alone.  That's too far no matter who you are.  That just makes you an asshole(yes Walters and Maher, that's aimed at you, those statements you made were flat out wrong).  There are other instances though where they can bring issues to light about current idols that many worship.

For example Justin Bieber's rape comments reveal a problem.  It helps re-enforce and perpetuate rape culture as many teenage and preteen boys look to him as an example of what's okay.  His other political leanings being so public already are also an issue.  The media outlets have seen and heard it all before.  Some of these child stars will burn out, some will rise to new heights.  So they push topics on him that he should not answer yet to test him.  See what kind of person he is.  What kind of man he'll grow to be.  His views on abortion and rape among other much headier and complicated issues that divide even adults are still forming. He's still learning.  Someone should have stepped in and maybe asked, are you sure you want to answer that this way?  Do you feel you may want to clarify that after some thought?  He fell right into the trap these questions bring if you aren't ready to discuss them directly and at length.  The media world loves a soundbite that can be repeated over and over again.  That's exactly what they built to use against him because of his popularity.  Though while they did it with purpose to out underlying views that'll accidentally influence a generation of adolescents, they also cemented the views by attacking instead of educating him to better himself.  Now he's going to be a broken record of no comments and defending words that have no defense along with justifications and rationalizations that perpetuate the heart of the problem instead of growing from it to better himself.

Bieber's career, music, and choices are his own.  They are his life, and unless his actions are harming another related to our lives, it's not our place to speak.  The fact is his choices are though.  Every kid that looks up to him and hangs on his every word is a responsibility resting on his shoulders for trying to be the voice of a youth nation of Beliebers.  By pulling that kind of weight onto himself because of his looks and charm, he set himself on a pedestal he has to rise to.  He built himself up high and the media world sees him for what he is.  It's waiting on that fall.  Fall he will too, and rationalize it as well.  He'll try to blame it on everyone but himself.  Words have power.  Actions have weight.  Hopefully he will learn this and set things straight.  As it is, he's the kind of star that you fear can't handle the spotlight thrown their way in the long run.  It's too much too soon.  It's corrupting him from the inside out.

The bursts of narcissism like his signature at Anne Frank house, or his lack of caution by speeding down subdivisions without a care for others are all warning signs.  How he's acted towards others in the public, and how he's not stepped up to ask his friends to cool it to protect his neighbors are even more.  His letting them take blame for actions while using his property or while visiting him are all symptomatic of larger issues of not taking responsibility.  They all lean towards a star that's self-obsessed and an outright danger to the well-being of others.  Not the bad boy kind of danger of someone that stands apart, but the kind that makes excuses for hurting others without remorse nor even considers the consequences of their actions.  These are not things that can be rationalized, and instead reflect a flagrant disregard for the safety and well-being of others, even children and apparently history as the case may be.  His actions and threats against those that try to stand up to him and warn him about those he is endangering, including his own fans, are foreboding to complexes that could further endanger others.  I know nothing of him personally except for the youths he inspires or twists by his own actions in being their idol they look up to and want to imitate.  That's exactly why his actions and lack of care in the simple everyday things matters though.  They warn of his true nature, of the example he is setting.  These acts reflect the real him over his stage presence and public planned appearances.  He's setting a bad example for kids, even putting them in harm's way by some of these acts.

This is a self-professed position he created through his own actions though.  For that I have no sympathy for him.  He stepped up to something he was not ready for with monikers of idol worship that raised the bar too high even for himself.  Protecting the fans is great, but he needs to learn to protect himself and focus on the riches that matter instead of letting greed dictate his every move and desire before he does taint the youth of the world through these actions and statements.  We try to rationalize that too.  Those that had nothing will of course splurge on things.  Sometimes they have to though as well to protect themselves and their privacy, but there are limits to that.  It's his money and he can do with it as he pleases, but he is also the one who touts that he wants others to "belieb in him."  With that kind of admiration comes a chance to make a difference and set an example which he is not doing.  It's one thing to use your passion and loves to carry your life further and to new heights. It's another to be a self-professed narcissistic example for others to follow and then self-destruct from the pressures of it, claiming it's too much.  It shows signs of  narcissism mixed with attention seeking.  It suggests someone still growing up, but also someone that doesn't care that his actions put others in harm's way.  I'm sorry, but any person that literally and intentionally spits on another out of anger should not be given attention.  They should be abandoned on the spot.  There is no excuse for it.  I do not accept that behavior from friends, so why in hell would I ever accept it from a celebrity?  It cannot be rationalized.

Miley Cyrus is another that's hard to really understand what she has gone through.  Finally hitting her "define me for me" stage she's really begun to shine in her own light her own way.  She's made mistakes, but they are hers.  She's owned them.  She's used them to build her independence and not let anyone shove her into a hole of "this is who you must be."  She never tried to be a voice of a youth nation.  She just tried to be herself and show what it's like balancing fame and a real life.  Even her show Hannah Montana helped imply this with the duality of the main character's life.  She herself having been the daughter of a country star let her see how growing up in the limelight and out causes difficulties and strains.  She, like Selena Gomez, never tried to be the voice of a generation, but in doing so became one anyway.  They both are on different sides of the spectrum but push for the same kind of freedom and respect in different ways.  They both want to protect fans and help uplift them, but they go about it in completely different manners that can sometimes help bolster the other, but also can bounce off the other quite harshly.  They are both still people though that want what they think is best for what they believe in for themselves.  Cyrus for example is trying to find new ways for twitter to communicate with fans without the harassment it can entail. (Yes, I had to cut it off there. There is a debate that can go on until I have no fingers left about the differences between Selena and Miley.  So I'd rather skip that part entirely and just let the fans go with which they prefer.)

It's not entirely them though.  While yes how they hold their fans in regard as individual fanaticism and borderline modern symbolic churches of false idol worship is what's creating it.  That's not intentional.  Society is telling kids when they need to grow up and who they can or can't enjoy musically.  So they created shelters for their fans, but then the fans are the ones bowing to their feet as if they were gods, and then denouncing them the second their god breaks what they see as ideal, as ungodly.

They aren't doing it on purpose though.  They are trying to protect their fans along the way but the real world looking in wants to strike it down. It wants to denounce and destroy that which it cannot comprehend.  We put these simple lives, loves, and passions up on crosses and then crucify them for not conforming when they've done nothing truly wrong that we know of.  We personally attack them for no reason other than they are different than us.  If they aren't to our taste, why are we looking to them to harass or mock?  It's not right or fair to them or their fans.  Again though, there is a line in that.  When one is dangerous to themselves or others through their actions someone should and must step in before something bad happens.  That means to step in though and help guide.  Not step in and destroy them with hate.  It means reminding them there is a line and why it's there.  To tell them or even show them the damage that crossing that line causes.

The scariest part in all this?  The plain remarks of suicide, how people would kill themselves over stars.  Over if so and so is in a movie, or if so and so is dating a different star.  The list goes on and on with what people use it for.  If someone so much as even mentions a star, others joke about suicide because of even hearing the name.  Even jokingly or using that as a phrase, it stings.  It damages. It breaks.  It's a phrase that should not be used ever.  It is a weighted joke that's long not been funny and should be abolished from speech.  Yes, there are phrases that should never be spoken.  Things that can make even the stars fall.  Stuff that could make them blink out faster than anything else ever would.  Things that can darken their horizons forever.  Fans heave this on them regularly and expect them not to crack.  They threaten these dark things and throw it on these stars heads like a crown of thorns and then wonder why they bleed from it.  Darker fans lash out about how this star caused so and so to die because they wouldn't respond.  We throw that on their heads like it's their fault and it's not.  They are just people, just like everyone else.  They aren't gods.  They're human and they just want to live how they feel is right for themselves, and the passions they enjoy.  They just want to care for who they care for and do what they enjoy while hoping it lifts others up too.  That's not a reason to remove choice and free-will from their lives.  There's no reason to try and remove their humanity for rising as high they did.  It's those that try to remove the humanity from them that are the real monsters.

All of this information is easily and readily available everywhere and repeated so often, I barely had to look any of this up(Bieber stuff notwithstanding, so excuse me while I go set fire to my internet history).  This is the world we live in.  A world of turning people into full on Brand Names and removing their human element entirely.  The real world breaks youth repeatedly and aggressively by doing this.  The world loathes and wants to destroy innocence.  The rape culture of the world tries to justify this.  Blame the victims.  They need to learn what the real world is like.  They asked for this by entering that world.  They need to grow up.  What the world is doing is wrong.  It's time for it to change.  It's time for people to put their foot down and let others know they aren't alone in feeling this.  X-23 is not the one broken.  We aren't the ones broken.  Stars aren't the ones broken.  The world is broken.  Society is broken.  It's true for every child it tried to control by forcing them into only one class of person, one kind of thought, one way to live.  It tries telling them "who could care about you or your problems."  Those are the real monsters in this world. They are winning because we are letting them.  Youth are believing the evil monsters more and more.  They are being influenced by them.  More and more are afraid of standing up or trying to learn to follow their dreams because of what the world will shovel on them for it.  The evil monsters are using fear and the world is letting them win because of it and it's sickening!  It needs to stop!

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