Though it is in fact a Sexualized Saturday, imagine with me for a moment that it is Transformation Tuesday. The delicate wallflower blossoms into a stunning beauty just in time for her senior prom, the second-string nerd transcends his former self to become the leading man he was always meant to be—all with the simple removal of a little apparatus: eyeglasses. Glasses form the basis of tons of tropes, though perhaps none as infamous as “The Glasses Gotta Go”. From Princess Diaries and the quintessential Magical Makeover in She’s All That, to Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man transformation, pop culture has been helping nerds achieve their sexy potential by liberating them from their bespectacled prisons. Join me as I delve a little deeper into the intersection of sexual capital and corrective lenses, and the problematic territory we find there.
I love queer characters. I want them in all my shows. I want all the characters in all my shows to be queer. Maybe that’s asking too much, so I’m offering an alternative to geek media writers: give me at least a few queer characters in your shows, and for the love of God/Goddess/Gods, write their stories well.
When I started watching Orphan Black just about a month ago, I already knew that one of the clones, Cosima, was going to be queer, and I was excited to watch her story unfold. Unfortunately, there was nary even a hint of what could have been a very interesting nature vs. nurture discussion. Just as upsetting, I was treated to this outstanding line from Delphine, her new paramour: “I’ve never done this before.” Cringe/eyeroll/facepalm/etc. “I’ve never done this before” is not good queer narrative writing; it’s a line from the beginning of a porno. Let’s examine why it’s problematic for that to be the only queer narrative seen on TV.