Nnedi Okorafor wants us to destroy the ”light female, dark male” trope that has pervaded books and movies

The ”light female, dark male” trope is so entrenched in popular culture that it’s hard to ignore it. From cartoons and comics to books and movies, female animals, aliens, monsters and fantastical/mythical creatures tend to have lighter fur, feathers, skin or scale on their bodies than male animals, aliens, and mythical creatures. This is not completely absolute, though. That said, Africanfuturist writer Nnedi Okorafor said in a series of tweets on the need to dismantle this trope.

Okorafor writes fantasy with mystical creatures and so, this is her wheelhouse. Sure, male species having darker skin, scales, fur is more about biology. Likewise, female species. But biology has been weaponised to perpetuate the idea that males are inherently dark, sinister, and evil while females are innocent and pure. It’s also sexist, when you think about it. There’s also the racist perspective: the privileging of whiteness in movies and books and the exclusion of POC characters.

If you don’t see the problem with this trope, maybe it’s time to check and interrogate your privileges.



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