I know that SQ at this point is a dead thing with no hopes of happening now but at what point do we suddenly flock to this new lgbt character/relationship A&E are trying to sell us. I understand representation is important and scarce but to kiss a$$ to these two guys who treated our fandom like crap and have no regrets over the last 6 years "cause who remembers?" (a la Eddy) is upsetting to me. I feel like it's a betrayal to SQ to accept this. It gives them thought that we only wanted any f/f
Is this a general comment in response to things you read or is it because I tweeted Adam about how the announcement of the inclusion of an LGBTQ character had the opposite effect of normalizing?
I can - obviously - see why people think it’s not going to happen, but I am still pretty sure that it will if they get to tell their story, which influences the way I communicate about it. It all makes sense if you look at their world building as Emma’s mental space - the how might be unpredictable, but it’s pretty clear they set up Regina and Henry to be Emma’s fairy tale happy ending and her story isn’t actually over yet.
The first openly queer characters were Ruby & Dorothy. Ruby is the wolf and the wolf guides the way as I talked about here. So if you look at Emma’s mind as that of a repressed lesbian - the product of religion and unaccepting society - then suddenly the queer subtext being everywhere just below the surface makes a lot of sense. Ruby symbolized a desire that would no longer be repressed - the first breakthrough if you will.
“The Ruby Slippers are a deep dream symbol, representing both Dorothy’s means of getting around in Oz and her identity, her unassailable integrity. The shoes are a reassuring Mentor’s gift, the knowledge that you are a unique being with a core that cannot be shaken by outside events. They are like Ariadne’s Thread in the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, a connection with a positive, loving anima that gets you through the darkest of labyrinths.”
From: The Writer’s Journey - Christopher Vogler
That brings me to the spoilers of a new LGBTQ character - my money is on Alice. I’ve written about this new book telling the story from the perspective of consciousness - check here, here and here. From the spoilers it’s my guess many of these new characters will be playing out aspects of Emma’s life before we met her. Many females of different ages are added and we’re going to an urban setting in our world. She’s remembering who she is. Whatever this character’s storyline is, it’s the next step in Emma’s process of breaking through repression and being honest about who she loves. It will still be fantastical, it’s still a fairy tale setting, but my guess is it will give us more clues about Emma’s past that are a little closer to how things actually happened than the hints we’ve gotten so far.
Now I want to talk about what you’re saying, about people selling out. The fandom has done every conceivable thing to get the showrunners’ and the media’s attention over the years. There’s been anger and attempts at diplomatic conversation. There have been twitter trends and media articles. Nothing really came of it. If anyone involved doesn’t know the importance of Emma, Regina & Henry versus any other LGBTQ couple by now, then they’re never going to know because they do not want to know. Not to mention they know what they have written and produced. They know exactly what they have been doing, what they have been suggesting with these characters.
Now I see a mentality of placing blame on each other for how fandom has been treated or how the storyline has evolved. “If only we had done this differently we would have had different results. We would have gotten what we wanted.” It’s a defense mechanism in order to not feel powerless. Look for somebody closer to you. Somebody who you can blame so you don’t feel out of control. So you feel you can get some form of justice by punishing someone. The reality is that the blame lies with:
- An inherently homophobic society
- A conservative media culture
- Heterosexual writers writing queer characters based on research but not from life experience
- Old school PR principles
If you accept blame lies with a marginalized group or individuals within it and how they react to their unfair treatment - even if people are doing the opposite of what you think is productive - you are losing sight of the real issues and the real causes. The truth is that you are angry with other people who are reacting to an unfair situation they are also a victim of. We have to recognize that in some ways we simply are powerless before we can figure out what power we do have.
What to do?
Anger is fuel, it’s energy. Treasure it, but try to direct it. Within the disadvantaged group, find the people who feel the same about this issue as you do. Maybe it’s only one person, maybe it’s five people, maybe you can find a bigger group. Vent with them. Talk out the frustrations with them to take the edge off. Publicly talk about what frustrates you and why, but avoid being passive aggressive and placing blame. Backgrounds of people online and what they seek here are incredibly diverse. Ages, levels of education, how far they are in the self-acceptance and coming out process, financial backgrounds, ethnicities, temperaments, levels of involvement, … Always be aware you are lacking a lot of information about the people you are interacting with - some of which you would have in real life. People are more receptive when they’re not under attack and many here feel vulnerable - whether they seem like they do or not. You may be right about something, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be understood. Pick your battles, focus on being understood first.
Now with your group of people - or even if it’s just you - decide what you can do with what you have. Get informed. Read books on activism. Find the right words. Decide what the right course of action is for you. Identify the power structures you are fighting. Think big. Think about the next time around, think about changing things for future generations. Consider supporting the opposite of what you are fighting. There are a million ways to make a change. Find something that works with your personality, your means, your level of comfort, your talents. Find something that is safe for you to do depending on your situation - and if you are risking your safety, make it a conscious choice, something that comes from within and not from outside pressures.
I’m under the impression that in emancipatory struggles of minorities there are always roughly two groups. Generally, there will be a group labeled as “radical”. I would say that these people are actually more right about how things should be. They will rally, point out the flaws in the system. They are often considered aggressive, but they’re obviously not, they’re just very aware of the unfairness and point out the differences between them and the privileged group.
The other group is a group who is more focused on building bridges and being diplomatic. They try not to rock the boat and aim for smaller changes. What you bring up - “selling out” - is often a complaint heard from the more radical group when talking about the moderate group, while the moderate group is worried about the boat rocking too hard and there being repercussions and setbacks to the progress if we push too hard and too fast.
In reality it’s often those two groups taking opposite action - but doing in the same moment in time - that creates change. We need people to loudly call attention to issues, we need people to gently explain the issues when people are called to attention. Some people need to be kicked into action, others need a gentle hand guiding them. The power comes from these different approaches. While we need to keep each other in check - especially when it comes to intersectionality, because yes, in those cases diplomacy often crosses over into selling out - seeing things this way helps me personally recenter. Take a step back, look at the bigger picture and never forget who and what you are actually fighting. Make sure that’s where you direct your energy. Be communicative within your own group, but don’t get completely side-tracked interacting with people who do things differently but who ultimately share your cause.
Odds are someone needs to hear what they have to say in the way they say it. Odds are somebody needs to hear what you have to say in the way you have to say it too. Just don’t lose sight of the real causes of your discomfort.