Monday, April 11, 2016

Another One Four Bite the Dust

So, wow, I was gone for two weeks and four (yes, FOUR) lesbian, bisexual (or as Ilene Chaiken likes to say “opportunist”) female characters were killed off. That’s two on “The Vampire Diaries” and two on “Empire.” Forget boat, we’re going to need a bigger graveyard to bury all these gays. By my (and Autostraddle’s) count, that is 11 dead queer female characters on American scripted television in the 102 days of this year. If you do the math, that’s about 1 dead queer lady every 9 or so days of 2016. Cool story, bro and bro-ette. Tell me again about how your dead and buried gays “aren’t a part of that phenomenon or conversation.” Well, at least this allows us all to once again shake our fists at the sky and scream, “CHAIKEN!

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it and will keep saying it a thousand times until it fucking sinks in. The stories we tell, particularly about underrepresented groups – like queer people and people of color and people with disabilities and the like – matter. They feed into a cultural narrative which then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy – both for LGBT people and how the outside world views LGBT people. It really isn’t much to ask that the majority of stories told about queer women not be tragic. And if none of that matters to you all those TV makers out there, maybe this will: At the rate burying your gays is just one small step above waking up and having it all being a dream in terms of stunningly unoriginal storylines. Do better, television. Because LGBT fans deserve so much better.


Anonymous said...

*rage scream* *pulls out hair* *runs in a circle* *more rage screaming* *Wonder Woman patriarchy smashes tv* And that is how I feel about that.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, as always, for expressing our thoughts so well. Also, I think Empire jumped the shark on that one.

Leah M. said...

Truth! I'm sick of hearing them defend burying their gay because anyone can die or they have to be uncompromising in telling their stories. Tatiana Maslany said it's incredibly reductive to just see a character as a lesbian in response to disappointed Orphan Black fans, but the truth is that it's incredibly reductive to keep telling the same tragic story over and over again for lesbians and bisexuals, or yeah, opportunists.

It sucks and I'm tired of it. The same PR line of defense is getting as old as the trope itself.

This trend of queer deaths is really bugging me. I've lost respect for so many shows not just because they kill of my representation, but then they have the nerve to say they are above the trope. It's so disrespectful that they can't even acknowledge that their storytelling is unoriginal and harmful in the grand scheme of things for queer audiences.

It's these showrunners abysmal responses that actually turn me off from their shows over the actual character death itself.

Anonymous said...

There is a difference between using lesbians as plot devices to be easily killed off when no longer necessary to the SL or when an actor leaves the show for another show and the producer isn't creative enough to come up with a good SL to explain it and a death that truly moves the SL along. Who determines when a death is appropriate to the show vs. the old trope winning out?

Not every death is an example of the trope. Most, but not all. I will continue to decry the poor storytelling, insulting trope. But I will also stop and evaluate whether or not a death is appropriate to the show or not.

Carmen SanDiego said...

Sigh, so glad I stopped watching Empire when they had the "lesbian sleeps with a man" thing...
But it's great to have you back DS

sophiedrx said...

Keep calm and watch Wynonna Earp <3

The Mor-Ríoghain said...

Sadly, that's an incorrect tally. There have been 14 queer deaths thus far in 2016.

1. Ash - Janet King
2. Carla - Code Black
3. Sally McKenna - American Horror Story: Hotel
4. The Countess - American Horror Story: Hotel
5. Julia Mao - The Expanse
6. Zora - The Shannara Chronicles
7. Rose - Jane the Virgin
8. Lexa - The lOO
9. Kira - The Magicians
10.Denise - The Walking Dead
11.Nora - The Vampire Diaries
12.Mary Louise - The Vampire Diaries
13.Mimi - Empire
14.Camilla - Empire