The other week, I went to Steel City Con, the Pittsburgh Area’s valiant attempt at a comic con. Lots of vendors, bunch of B- and C-list TV celebs, usually two or three A-listers (last year I got autographs from Shannen Doherty AND Holly Marie Combs!!!), and of course: tons of passionate, weird, lovable pop culture junkies, God love ’em. As I went through through my loot, I realized I had had a gay ol’ time. My two biggest gems? Action figures of Willow and Tara, and All New X-Men #17: aka newly-out Iceman’s first, big (I’m talking full-page panel) gay kiss. This is exceptional, you guys: Iceman has been part of the X-Verse since its very beginnings in 1963, one of the original five X-Men. So how did we get to this place fifty-four years later? It’s the long line of the quirkiest comic team family expanding its inherent diversity. Let’s take a look.
I’ll be honest, I’m kind of tired of gay coming out arcs on TV by now. The angst, the panic, and the not knowing how their family and friends will react to the gay character aren’t really appealing to me anymore (I’ve had enough of that in my own life). I want to see LGBTQ+ characters living their lives, working, dating, asserting their identities, and standing up to bigotry. However, coming out remains an experience most of us, LGBTQ+ folks, share. And even though representation on mainstream media is disappointing more often than not, it seems that once in a while it’s still possible to be pleasantly surprised and moved to tears by a character figuring out their sexuality on a superhero show, of all places. I am talking, as you can tell by the title, about Alex Danvers—one of the main characters on Supergirl—and her character arc in the first half of the second season.
Spoilers for the Supergirl TV show below.
With Ghostbusters blessing our screens this year and the announcement of Ocean’s 11 all-female cast reboot, I’m really hoping that this is the beginning of a wonderful new trend—one that will let girls and women see ourselves in the stories we already enjoyed but which severely underrepresented us. In this spirit, I introduce to you this week’s web crush—All For One, a webseries by KindaTV, which is a reimagining of Alexandre Dumas’s The Three Musketeers. Instead of being part of the French royal guard, the musketeers are a sorority at a fictional college.
But let me tell you all about it below, with some mild spoilers.
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.
[WARNING: IRENE ADLER MEANS ADULT CONTENT AHEAD]
One of the things that really bothers me in fanfiction is something as simple as arguing over who is the “top” and “bottom” in a pairing. If magically there are somehow no arguments about who’s on top, then I notice that one person in a pairing is constantly seen as the bottom because they are “weaker and more stereotypically feminine.”
I should stress that I feel this is mostly a slash fanfiction problem, but het pairings and femslash pairings are not exempt in any way. Het pairings simply delegate the women to the role of a “bottom,” but femslash tends to avoid top and bottom debates, though there are some exceptions, such as if a female character tends to be more “stereotypically masculine,” then she will more than likely be on “top.”
Have you seen the key factor here? Hint: it’s a penis.
This time next week, we will be staring down the road known as 2013. For some, this road will be filled with new twists and turns. For others, it will be the best year they’ve ever lived.
Personally, I’m excited to see where the geek genre goes from here. I’m hoping for a couple big changes in the genre. But the three biggest things that I hope to see all have something related; they all involve sexual identity concepts.
Ah, Buffy, how I have such fun memories of thee. I remember always getting excited to sit down to watch some good old fashion vampire murderage, until my parents entered the room to watch it too. Coming from a conservative Christian home and growing up with parents who forced me into joining the middle-school basketball team every Tuesday night right during airtime—under the threat that I couldn’t watch the show unless I joined up, no less! Sense?—Buffy the Vampire Slayer wholeheartedly and irrevocably reverted the hour it aired every week into what Lady Geek Girl and I once nominated as the Parental Bitching Hour. It was the cause of debate, for more reasons than my being blackmailed into unwanted sports that I won’t bore you with the details of.
I don’t know how Buffy managed to piss my parents off so much, as it wasn’t the kind of show they normally invest themselves in, but it raised many an argument in my home. Normally, it went something like this:
“I can’t believe you watch this garbage, Ace! Why don’t you play some sports?”
“…Because I like vampires?”
“You don’t need this fantasy crap when you have the news. Besides, not everyone’s a lesbian!”
“I just want to watch my show. Please?”
Yeah, in order to actually know what was going the hell on in the plot over the tantrum brought on by Willow—the evil slut!—I had to wait for the DVD releases and watch the series all again in the quiet of a dorm room, right underneath the drunken party the floor above me.
What I’m saying is—and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form—is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.
—Harry (When Harry Met Sally)
These iconic words from the romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally seem to be something that both the media and the fandom have taken to heart—and not just with heterosexual relationships.
It is a sad fact that in the media men and women are rarely just friends. There is usually some sort of attraction, sexual tension, or sexual relationship. This happens all the time: when two characters in a TV show meet for the first time, and one’s male and one’s female, it doesn’t take much to figure out that they will most likely end up in a relationship at some point in the show.