Tuesday, January 23, 2018

What Is Your Damage, Heathers?

Look, I want to love the “Heathers” reboot. I really, really do. Because, of course, I loved the movie “Heathers.” Who doesn’t love when teen angst bullshit has a body count? But I’m struggling to embrace the “Heathers” television reboot. One, because it doesn’t make enormous sense as a TV series. And two, because the “twist” of turning the teenage social hierarchy’s longtime outcasts (the queers, the people of colors, the plus-size) into its ultimate “mean girls” is – well, it’s a tad problematic.

Look, I get it – anyone can be horrible. Being awful and unkind and terrible is not the sole purview of, say, straight white males. Hell is other people, after all. But, as you’ve no doubt heard me as countless times, the point of representation is to show the humanity of groups of people who far too often have it denied to them. So when we fight for more queer visibility, we’re fighting to be seen as complete people – not stereotypes or scapegoats or whathaveyou.

That means, in theory, showing us queers (or POC or any other marginalized group) as villains shouldn’t be a problem because some of us are villains. Because we’re people – and some people are villains. But – and this is an important but – that first requires that the full and broad spectrum of our selves is shown and acknowledged. In other words we have to be shown as the triumphant heroes and the romantic leads and the fierce fighters and the extraordinary geniuses and the conflicted geniuses and the tragic figures and the average Joes and the mediocre Janes and, yes, even the bad guys. But we have to have enough representation for all of that to happen multiple times so it seems ordinary. You know, like straight white characters are shown every single day in the media.

But when there is still an imbalance, when say we’re shown as tragic (Dead Lesbian Syndrome says what) or one-dimensional (sassy best friend says hey) or barely there period – well, singling us out as the new mean kids – yeah, that’s a tad problematic.

Here’s the thing, queers and POC and plus-sized kids are still marginalized, every single day, in high schools across the country. They’re still terrorized, they’re still harassed, they’re still bullied. So then does anyone really relish the idea of watching this new blonde Veronica Sawyer and her new toxic masculinity poster child boyfriend JD killing these kids? I would kinda rather be fucked gently with a chainsaw, if you get my drift.


Carmen SanDiego said...

Perfectly put. Standing ovation for you DS
And I will not be watching the new Heathers.
Also, honestly, I'm tired of only having lesbian representation on teen shows. We need more adults! Now that The Fosters is ending that will leave us with Arizona Robbins and Winona Earp...

Anonymous said...

So well put DS! And I fully agree, because if you want to fuck with the eagles you have to learn to unmarginalize them first.

Karen said...

The Fosters sucked. Whoever wrore the storylines for the character Brandon needs their head examined. He was completely unlikeable and turned me off to the show after a few episodes I wanted to like it but judging from hardly anyone reviewing it on blogs, most folks agreed with me. The show was a tremendous disappointment from what we were led to believe.

Helena said...

Well said , totally agree with you Dorothy.

*** GayGirl2000 *** said...

Thank you for this... I was very disappointed with the trailer for the new Heathers. And then I got angry due to all the same things you point out here. Such a shame!