As a younger person, the best part of teen magazines was always the quizzes about relationships and crushes and how to know if your partner likes you. But, as a queer women, those quizzes were also irritating for how heteronormative they were: these were quizzes for girls who liked guys, and that was never me.
Just this past week, Seventeen magazine posted a Pretty Little Liars (PLL) quiz, to determine “Who’s your Pretty Little Liars crush?” And when this popped up, nostalgic for my quiz days, I paid attention, because, of all quizzes, any one about a PLL crush should be inclusive for queer women too. After all, PLL includes a lesbian character, Emily, who has a girlfriend, Paige.
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.