We Are Not Your Fool
I think this disaster with the Beauty and the Beast announcement is a really good example of why the type of representation matters just as much as the existence of it.
So, for all twelve of you who don’t know, Disney announced that LeFou aka the idiot sidekick is gay. He’s the guy who hangs on to Gaston’s every word and is basically just a brown-nosing suck-up. And his name literally means “the fool”.
And Disney announced that and went, hey, here’s a gay character, we’re doing representation, you’re welcome. And the queer community went what the fuck.
Even ignoring Disney’s history of queercoding villains, this is about the worst way to try to do representation of queer characters. Let me let this out for you. This character is:
- In love with a straight guy who’s actively
lusting over a girl (so won’t get a happy ending)
- In love with an asshole (so has bad taste)
- An idiot (his name is literally “the fool”)
- A villain
- Defined purely by their love
And this is the only explicitly queer character that they have. And this is for what’s basically a kid’s movie. So for a lot of kids, the first explicitly queer character they may be seeing will not only be the bad guy but will be idiotic and frankly repulsive. Nobody likes a brownnoser. And given how things are going in media, particularly media for children, this might be the only explicitly queer character they see for a long time. So this will be it. This will be the character.
We don’t want representation that will hurt us. Don’t just slap queerness onto an awful character and ask us to thank you for it. We won’t praise you for fucking us.