11 May 2016

Girlfriends, but not in America

In the last link round-up I mentioned the campaign asking Disney to reveal Queen Elsa of Frozen as a lesbian in the film's likely sequel.  Even if Disney adopts this idea, it would not be the first time that a globally-popular animation has featured openly-lesbian characters.  There's an interesting catch, though.

Sailor Moon is an animated TV series (there have also been some movies) originally produced in Japan in the 1990s.  I've never watched it myself -- it's a kids' show -- but the title character is a sort of superhero alter-ego of an ordinary high-school girl, Usagi Tsukino, who leads a group of similar girl warriors with various super powers.  The girls, who are named after planets (Sailor Mercury, Sailor Venus, etc.) fight a wide variety of villains, monsters, and other menaces.  It's apparently not too different from the Saturday morning cartoons that air in the US, except that two of the heroines, Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus (pictured above) are clearly depicted as a lesbian couple.  As far as I know, this was not considered terribly daring or controversial in Japan, even in the 1990s.

Sailor Moon was enormously popular in Japan and gained a significant fan base in some other East Asian countries, Europe, and even the US.  That's where the "interesting catch" comes in.  In the English-dubbed version made for the US market, the lesbian relationship between Neptune and Uranus was completely censored out and the two were instead depicted as cousins, to account for the occasional displays of affection between them.  Apparently the broadcasters felt that what was accepted elsewhere would prove too upsetting for Americans.  They may have been right, given our wingnuts' hysterical reactions even today whenever they so much as imagine they're seeing some hint of unconventional sexuality in pop culture.

Whether Elsa ever gets a girlfriend or not, remember that much of the world has long been unconcerned with the ridiculous taboos which so obsess the Bible fetishists in the US.


Blogger Jono said...

This is all part of the downward spiral of the U.S. in it's quest to become a primitive third world culture.

11 May, 2016 09:58  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

I think this would be so very helpful for young girls and women in repressive family situations who struggle with who they are and who they love. The more we understand that homsexuality is a natural sexuality -- a minority one, for sure, but natural, the more we understand that homosexuality has been part of being human since we fell out of the trees.

The fetishers are losing ground -- even their own children reject their religion-based hatred of gay people.

11 May, 2016 10:47  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Jono: Some would like us to be, but I think things are moving in the other direction.

Shaw: That's exactly why these kinds of characterizations are valuable -- and why the bad guys want to censor them.

12 May, 2016 07:17  
Blogger Professor Chaos said...

They took the lesbian relationship out of Fried Green Tomatoes, too and that wasng even aimed at children. People are apparently afraid that seeing a same sex couple on screen Will turn everyone gay or something.

12 May, 2016 08:26  
Blogger Paul W said...

On the bright side, after Korra's series finale this is going to be less of a problem. I know Steven Universe is awash in gay/lesbian/transgender issues and unafraid (well, up to a point, the ramifications of Steven and Connie's ability to fuse is unparalleled in ANY narrative) to address them.

12 May, 2016 09:29  
Blogger Unknown said...

You can't choose who you love. Those who are the most bigoted and outspoken about "X" seem to be those who are suppressing their own feelings about "X". The cognitive dissonance causes them to rail against what they see as a lifestyle. It is, rather, a life.

12 May, 2016 09:34  
Anonymous NickM said...

You may or may not have heard of "The Crystal Methodist". He was head of the Co-op bank in their HQ in Manchester, England. He knew nothing about banking, was addicted to crystal meth and had quite a habit with a side order or rent-boys. He was a Methodist minister of da old skool. The hypocrisy is stunning. Which is maybe why he got away with it. Think Goebbels...

14 May, 2016 11:31  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Chaos & Paul: Those are shows I'm not familiar with -- my knowledge of pop culture is deep in spots but nonexistent otherwise. It's all a matter of what catches my attention. But I'm glad if there are other positive messages out there.

John: It does often seem to be true that gay-haters are fighting unacknowledged feelings of their own. Others really do believe that it's a matter of choice -- just another form of wilful "sin" in our "fallen world". Pop culture is one channel whereby we can overwhelm their lies and delusions with truth.

Nick: Sounds typical. In a non-Abrahamic, non-bigoted society he might have had a happy and healthy life. Too bad he ended up poisoning his own life and, by the sound of it, others' as well.

14 May, 2016 17:33  

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