Couldn't figure out how to title this thread at all. Not completely sure it even belongs here too. (If a moderator feels it doesn't, I apologize greatly. ) I originally was going to post this in Adult Baby because it involves my personal identity but I realized that's not going to be true to everyone and the discussion is a lot more then just my own personal identity as a Little Girl.
The question I have is: "Is there any real merit to enjoying, associating, identifying, or even just relating to/with a character simply because you have the instant connection to them because of their gender, race, age, etc.?"
Part of this is because of the surge of desire for representation in media. Everyone wants to be represented, but part of me wonders how much this is just an excuse to not relate to people you don't share those immediate connections with. (Not that everyone shouldn't be represented, don't see this as an argument against that. Just as a thought as to why people desire it so much.) Why should someone who is male only be able to connect with other males? I feel like this is even worse in fiction, where people's favorite characters tend to be ones they self-identify with on an even greater level then actual other people.
Lately I've been thinking how many people would change their opinions of characters if they shared the age, race, gender, or sexual preference that they have or identify themselves as. Like honestly standing back and imagining a character you don't normally like, but changing those aspects of the character to match.. would your opinion of the character change? It it alright to do that?
Part of it is because I'm honestly guilty of this myself. If I can explain my own experiences with it for a moment.. (If you aren't interested I'm giving that section italics.)
If you asked my my favorite Marvel super hero I would tell you it's Katie Power. If you asked me my favorite character in Tales of Xillia it would be Elize Lutus. I have perfectly valid reasons for connecting with these characters, but it's impossible for me to deny that what allowed me to make those connections initially and the probable explanation for the passion in the connection is because of the age of the character and the gender of the characters, in my case young in age and female. Embarrassing to admit or not, I identify myself as a little girl so I find it easy to understand and connect with characters that are the same.
But as time goes on, I look at characters and I kept help but asking the question I proposed earlier in my head. "If this character was a little girl, would I feel different about the character?" and what's sad is most of the time the honest answer is yes.
It's easy to sort of validate doing this. It's easy to say, "Well if you change the age, gender, race or sexual preference of the character that changes the character, so it makes sense that the new character make be someone you would like more." but how much honestly would it actually change? As a transgendered female the idea of basing so much about characters on physical appearance or I'm sure even sexual preference bothers me and makes me think of the pain I felt from others doing that to me.. but then why do even I just naturally do so even knowing this? Is there any actual merit to this?
(Also sorry for the etc. in my title, not sure why I forgot to remove it.)