Rant: Stop Seeing Scraps as Representation

So even though the movie hasn’t even been released, a lot of people are speculating that maybe, just maybe, there’s a lesbian couple in the latest Finding Dory trailer.

Skip to 1:08 to see it.

And of course, people are losing their collective shit over it. There are lots of clickbait articles asking “is this Pixar’s first LGBT couple?” or outright saying “it’s Pixar’s first LGBT couple!” And some people are praising Pixar already. Of course you have people being angry and homophobic, but we’re not going to focus on them (they can go to hell for all I care anyway).

Here’s my question, though.

Why are we so effing excited to see a split second, not important, maybe lesbian couple and see that as so progressive and revolutionary?

Here’s the thing. We are living in a world where we already have explicit, onscreen gay and lesbian relationships in children and family media. Steven Universe‘s Ruby and Sapphire are two non-binary lesbians who love each other very very much and can’t bear to be apart, forming into one person. And I can’t say anything due to spoilers, but let’s just say, the upcoming SU episode this week should dispel any gossip of them just being ‘friends’.

Yet no one seems to care. When we have onscreen representation right in front of us, there’s no major media hype or praising the show to high heaven or giving it mainstream media attention.

Because media seems to care more about POTENTIAL LGBT relationships then they do ACTUAL LGBT relationships. Implicit, offscreen, and/or minor relationships get more hype and praise than the opposite. There was a lot of buzz over a character in ParaNorman saying he’s gay (but we don’t see his lover) but whenever the relationship is RIGHT IN FRONT OF PEOPLE, IS CLEAR AND EXPLICIT AND MAKES UP A GOOD CHUNK OF THE STORY, there’s no hype.

So, forgive me if people making a fuss over a potential lesbian couple that’s not even integral to the story of Finding Dory grinds my gears. I don’t want to give Pixar any credit for reserving their representation to background characters. I want them to have MAIN LGBT characters in relationships. They can do it. Pixar is a rich and powerful enough company to handle any backlash, and I’m sure lots of fans will flock to theaters to support it. Plus, you know, they’re Pixar, a company praised for being so original and unique. You’d think they’d do something truly creative and make a family friendly movie about an LGBT couple with as much fun and adventure as any straight character in their films would.

EDIT: I originally included Korra and Asami as an example of a couple people were buzzing over, but after going back and thinking about it, the relationship does kind of deserve the hype it got, even if it wasn’t as explicit as it could’ve been.

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Author: Laura Alexander

Hello! Laura here. I am autistic and I love animation. My fave movies are "Big Hero 6" and "Wreck-It Ralph". This is where I'll talk about my thoughts and feelings on animated shows and movies, among other things.

3 thoughts on “Rant: Stop Seeing Scraps as Representation”

  1. That’s what surprised me so much when I finally watched Legend of Korra… people made such a huge deal about it, I figured there’d be tons of subtext and lead-up. But in the end, the relationship felt like it came totally out of nowhere. It’s hard to consider that representation when you look, like you said, at something like SU.

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    1. The thing about Korra and Asami is that the creators stated that they COULDN’T make it more explicit because of the censors. Which sort of makes sense, but when you have SU have explicit LGBT relationships not long after, something feels…off. I wouldn’t say that Korra/Asami came out of NOWHERE (they did have some bonding moments, and I do admit, I really like them together), but I feel like Korra and Mako got some moments that SHOULD have been with Korra and Asami.

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      1. True. I watched the show with an eye for Korrasami, though, and I really never picked up on anything. Honestly, Korra looks at Mako with more love and emotion in the last episode than she does Asami. I really like them together, too, and I’m excited for the comics, but… I dunno, it just didn’t feel as groundbreaking as others made it out to be. I know they were working against limitations, though.

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