Which represent Gay Male relationships and it’s literally heartbreaking to see saphhic relationships just, pushed aside. Someone explain to me why lesbians or queer women and their coming out struggles fail to be recognised because queer teenage girls deserve a love story too.
trainee!alex: i care about booth, shelby, nimah, raina and simon …asfer? future!alex: ah yes. simon asher. my best friend. my confidant. the person i instinctively run to. the only person i trust. i can’t lose him. i can’t ever lose him.
For my English class, we had to write a ‘diagnostic essay’ about a topic we’re passionate about and wouldn’t need to do research for, so I chose LGBT+ representation in the media. I was hoping to get some feedback from people perhaps more knowledgeable than I, like @thefingerfuckingfemalefury . Anyway, here it is:
LGBT+ Representation in Visual Media is Very Flawed
As a member of the LGBT+ community, I know that LGBT+ representation in the media is priceless, for everyone, regardless of whether they identify as LGBT+ or not. Obviously, improvements have been made in LGBT+ representation in the media, especially in YA literature, with well-known series, such as Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard by Rick Riordan, and standalone novels, like Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, featuring more and more characters-both main and background-who identify as LGBT+. However, the media still has a long way to go, as these representations are not without their flaws. This is most obvious in visual media-movies, TV shows, etc.
For example, LGBT+ characters have a history of being treated badly by show-writers. One gross example of this is a gay character being brainwashed into being ‘straight again’ on Shameless UK. And much of the time, LGBT+ romances end in tragedy, which is ironic considering the original meaning of the word ‘gay’. This has actually led to coinage of the term ‘gayngst’, as well as many jokes about how much straight people love their ‘tragic gays’. Whether it was killing one or both halves of the couple, such as the killing off of Lexa in The 100, leading to controversy over the infamous “Bury Your Gays” trope, or having them break-up for whatever reason (cheating, social pressure, etc.) it can feel like they never get a happy ending. A recent example of this was when the CW’s show Supergirl broke up fan beloved couple Maggie Sawyer and Alex Danvers, after it was discovered Maggie had been cheating. Even if it’s just throwing in unnecessary drama, like Ian developing BPD and Mickey being forced to marry Svetlana in Shameless US, rarely is it all sunshine and rainbows for non-cishet couples.
Another issue is that these relationships frequently feature substantial age gaps. Well-known examples include Call Me By Your Name, wherein Elio is 17 and Oliver is 24; and Blue is the Warmest Color, where Adèle is 15 and Emma is a grad student. By American laws, their scenes of intimacy are statutory rape. Unsurprisingly, neither couple gets a happy ending-Oliver leaves Elio and marries a woman less than a year later to please his conservative parents; Adèle cheats on Emma, and they break up.
Plus, many toxic LGBT+ relationships are all but glorified because there’s little else available. Big example-Ian Gallagher and Mickey Milkovich from Shameless US. Through physical and verbal abuse, multiple breakups, Ian’s BPD, Ian kidnapping Mickey’s son, Mickey’s violently homophobic father discovering the relationship and forcing him to marry a female prostitute, and Mickey going to jail for murder, fans still desperately want to see them end up together, which isn’t healthy. They’ve literally gotten into fistfights over the smallest disagreements, but because they make out afterwards, clearly it’s true love, according to the fanbase. Similar arguments for-or should I say against-Alex and Piper’s relationship from Orange is the New Black. Alex is a drug dealer, Piper is a manipulative narcissist, and it’s just one tumultuous mess of toxic codependency. And the world has enough problems with straight couples staying in abusive relationships because they believe the other person loves them-I’m looking at you, 50 Shades trilogy. The last thing we need is members of the LGBT+ community, who are already at risk of violence against themselves for who they choose to be or love, settling for abusive partners because they think that’s as good as it gets.
One more issue with LGBT+ representation is that there is an imbalance between how much showtime is given to straight couples versus LGBT+ couples. Take Freeform’s Shadowhunters: when it comes to promotional materials, there is more devoted to Clary and Jace’s relationship than Magnus and Alec’s. Morally dubious relationships like Izzy and Raphael, Izzy and Aldertree, Simon and Camille, etc. that add next to nothing to the plot are given somewhat substantial runtime and scenes with explicit sexual undertones. Viewers spend an awkward minute watching Jace and Maia make-out against a brick wall in an alley, during which time she licks his abs, before they have a one-night stand. Contrast with, Magnus and Alec, who originally would’ve only gotten a suggestive fade to black had there not been major outcry from fans of the show, and they’re one of the most healthy, naturally-developed relationships on TV right now.
There’s also a lack of diversity within LGBT+ representation-many LGBT+ couples are between two white people: Lukas and Philip from Eyewitness, Alex and Piper from Orange is the New Black, etc., the list goes on. And, in my experience, they’re not often interracial. In addition, more ‘obscure’ sexual orientations (e.g. demisexual, pansexual, etc.) and gender identities (e.g. nonbinary, genderfluid, etc.) are often difficult, if not impossible, to find.
The icing on the cake is, of course, that TV shows featuring LGBT+ couples/characters are often cancelled, like Sense8, or constantly at risk of cancellation, like Wynonna Earp, sometimes in spite of fan support, which is a shame. These shows are so important, especially to people who feel like they don’t belong because of their sexuality or their gender.
Representation is so important, especially for young people, and we desperately need more of it. Diversity in media helps people figure out who they are, and learn to accept and respect those who are different from themselves. Also, inaccurate representation hurts this minority group, and is part of the larger problem of the generalized homophobia/transphobia in America.
(Sorry if the formatting is messed up, I’m on Tumblr mobile)
Please don’t repost/steal-I worked really hard on this