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Reads of the Week: Shonda Rhimes, LGBT Women & ‘Glee’ Women

Take a look at this week’s Reads of the Week: Great articles about the LGBTQ community, feminism, women and anything else worth reading.


  • Photo:  @shondarhimes

    Photo: @shondarhimes

    “I am making TV look like the world looks. Women, people of color, LGBTQ people equal WAY more than 50% of the population. Which means it ain’t out of the ordinary. I am making the world of television look NORMAL. You should get to turn on the TV and see your tribe. And your tribe can be any kind of person, anyone you identify with, anyone who feels like you, who feels like home, who feels like truth. You should get to turn on the TV and see your tribe, see your people, someone like you out there, existing. So that you know on your darkest day that when you run (metaphorically or physically RUN), there is somewhere, someone, to run TO. Your tribe is waiting for you. You are not alone. The goal is that everyone should get to turn on the TV and see someone who looks like them and loves like them. And just as important, everyone should turn on the TV and see someone who doesn’t look like them and love like them. Because, perhaps then, they will learn from them.” – Shonda Rhimes, “You Are Not Alone.”

  • Glee, another show that started out focusing on a female character whose career dreams kept her going, is now one of the most anti-female shows airing. The show consistently belittles the role of women, using them as little more than emotional leaning posts for their boyfriends, boyfriends who are always heroic and decent. When Finn outed Santana it was treated as a good thing, Finn helping her come to terms with her sexuality by serenading her with a cover of Girls Just Want to Have Fun. After all, lesbianism is just girls having fun, right? Weeks later when Dave Karofsky suffers similarly by being outed it is shown through an emotionally overwrought montage and makes way for a story about teen suicide.” – “Where Have All the Good Women Gone?”
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Reads of the Week: Rose McGowan for the Win

Take a look at this week’s Reads of the Week: Great articles about the LGBTQ community, feminism, women and anything else worth reading. This one’s a little old, but still worth the mention!


  • rose_mcgowan_a_p“Where does it say that because of a man’s sexual orientation, I don’t get to point out a character defect that some of them may have? When equal pay for women was voted down by every male Republican, there was no LGBT outcry. I wondered why that was. After all, lesbians are women — this affects them too, right?”  – Rose McGowan, Advocate

Reads of the Week: Billings, Trauma, Gender and Straightsplaining

Take a look at this week’s Reads of the Week: Great articles about the LGBTQ community, feminism, women and anything else worth reading.


  • “We have got to realize that we are all students of the human experience. And if we do not start learning from each other and really listening and receiving the gift from the person across from us, we are lost.” –Alexndra Billings, Jezebel
  • “If you want to know about gay people—their lives, their desires, their ideas, their cultures—listen to gay people. If you want to know about straight people, listen to straight people talking about gay people.” – Gawker, “A Fieldguide to Straightsplaining”

Klainers – Poaching Representation

To be frank, Glee has exhausted its welcome in my headspace. In trying to be a healthy person after a bad relationship, I tabled finishing two posts about Klaine almost a year ago. While some of the references are out of date and I have no desire to spend any more time thinking about Klaine and the insipid behavior of Klainers (read: no, not all Klainers). But when tweets showing Klainers complaining about Brittana came across my Tumblr dash, along with comments borrowing text from our Brittana post, I realized outdated or not, things haven’t really changed at all.

So here it is, the Klaine post, down and dirty. We’ll start with the more serious problem in this first installment, poaching representation.


 

Source: jwmelmoth

Source: jwmelmoth.tumblr.com

The Klainers within the Glee fandom have a reputation of so enthusiastically shipping their couple, they at times defy logic and don’t care who they trample to see their couple on screen. While this is perhaps a series of traits common to many die-hard shippers, the problem with Klainers is using the argument of LGBT representation.

This argument is made by Klainers selectively—usually ignoring the female faction of the LGBT community—to manipulate the show into giving their favorite couple screen time, and then turning around and attacking real LGBT people to achieve this same goal. Klaine is increasingly for straight fangirls and has little to do with LGBT representation anymore.

I want to make something very clear up front. First of all, I will always support the right of anyone to ship whichever couples they want; people of all sexual orientations can enjoy shipping couples of any combination of genders. What I do object to; however, is the appropriation of LGBT representation of gay men by a predominantly straight female audience for their own personal gain.

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Fetishizing Homosexuality

tumblr_inline_n5x4kg4EnK1rtovoxSo I found this little musing on Tumblr, land of opinions, about the shipping of the non-canon, non-gay men characters on Sherlock. Cantpronounce is “still struggling to understand why” straight women shipping two men together is seen as fetishizing homosexuality.

Disclaimer, I know nothing about Johnlock, but this entitlement some straight people feel about LGBT characters is hardly unique to Sherlock. (Klainers, I’m looking at you) and hardly unique to women (straight dudes, queer women don’t exist for your gratification.) What I do understand; however, is why some LGBT people (and those allies who get it) have a hard time with straight people appropriating queer characters as their talisman for being mistreated by showrunners, writers or whoever, for shipping same gender couples.

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Spectrums and Double Standards?

LiamKarmaAmy-1397754823While it is important to represent a broad spectrum of what it means to be  queer, including representations that transcend definitions, it seems that these stories are relegated almost exclusively to female characters. Meanwhile, queer male characters are never found in these positions and are considered revolutionary for being unapologetically, out, proud gay. This seems like a double standard to me, one that I don’t know what to make of.

Buzz Feed posted an article about “Faking It” and its forward-thinking nature in portraying queerness with less focus on labeling. While I agree with several of author Louis Peitzman’s points, particularly about the confusing nature of queerness in high school, he seems to think that having a full-blown, established lesbian character is outdated. Peitzman says of women who only love women and define themselves as lesbians, “Those rigid lines, in fact, are exactly what now feel dated.”

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Honey Maid: Love

This is an amazing way to take negativity and turn it into something affirming and beautiful.

Speak for yourself – Creating better representations

In a growing stream of artists called out for racism, Katy Perry’s American Music Awards Performance has been called into question. For those of you who missed it, Perry performed her song, “Unconditionally” dressed in a kimono, surrounded by a mix of Japanese and other borrowed Asian cultural elements.

Katy Perry

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Integrating Queer on TV

I happened upon a brilliant thesis by Jasmine Ing at the University of Calgary titled, “Queervisions: Queer Women Speak About Their First Experiences of Queer Representations in Film and Television”. For a great read check out the full thesis here.

The line that caught my attention was this:

“In short, popular culture depictions can allow the isolated to view characters who have managed to successfully integrate their queer sexuality into their daily lives.”

This line right here advocates for the fact that we need TV characters whose sexuality isn’t an issue; where they are just living their regular lives like everyone else. In teen-centric shows, such as Pretty Little Liars or Glee, the coming out story is important because of the age of characters. But beyond that, beyond what is organic to the character’s story, TV shows need to move past the coming out phase of a character’s life.

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Rapper Supports Marriage Equality

Wildly popular rapper, Macklemore, is an outspoken ally for marriage equality. His support is further championed in his song, “Same Love”, proving that rap doesn’t actually require homophobia or misogyny to sell music.  At a recent concert, Macklemore invited a lesbian couple up on stage for a surprise marriage proposal, invoking a wild show of support from the audience.