14 sept. 2016

DISCUSSION : Sarah J Maas and Diversity

Warning : Do not read this if you haven't read Queen of Shadows 

Diversity is the hot topic at the moment in the book community. I'm all for diversity. As a minority, I feel great when I'm represented. I love learning about new things and see the world from a different perspective. Diverse books/series/movies are interesting and I support this movement all the way.
However, some people on Twitter reproached Sarah J Maas for not writing more diversely. It's true all of her characters are white and straight. But some of them even said that cutting out Chaol was ableism.

What exactly is ableism ? 

Ableism is discrimination and social prejudice against people with disabilities. Ableism characterizes persons as defined by their disabilities, and as inferior to the non-disabled.(Wikipedia)
Has Chaol ever been treated as inferior because of his disability ? Do you really think she cut him out because of this ?
Elide is also disabled and yet she hasn't been cut out. She's actually very present in Empire of Storms. If Sarah J Maas was discriminating, she wouldn't even have written disabled characters. She has her own reasons for cutting Chaol out, we don't know everything.

Maybe she has big plans for him in the next book. Maybe she wanted to keep the focus on what's going on in Aelin's side. You can't judge people based on assumptions. Sometimes, you have to take a step back and look at the bigger picture : There are two disabled characters in the serie which technically makes it diverse.
Yes, she can do better. We can all do better. The purpose of this movement is to inspire everyone to write and read more diversely and not force them to do so. You can't inspire with hate. You inspire with love, kindness and support.

I know a person on Twitter (I don't remember who) asked her why she didn't put Manon and Elide together to have a LGBT couple. In itself, it's not mean nor offensive. But I personnally want to read books with passion in it. I don't want authors to write something just to check it off their list. It's her story and I think she has the right to decide what do to with her characters.
Just try to put yourself in her shoes for two seconds : She gets hate for cutting out Chaol. Why would she take this risk and write any more diverse characters ? We should support every small steps authors make towards diversity.

Writing a book is hard. Writing about something you don't know is harder. Hate isn't going to bring anything for the cause. The purpose of this movement is to cause awareness and open minds. Don't be so quick to judge : Diversity is a positive thing so don't make it negative with hurtful comments.

What do you think about all of this ?

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