Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Lesbians are People Too
Xena the Warrior Princess was one of the few female driven, action TV shows that addressed the issue of homosexuality, specifically lesbianism in a more in depth manner than a "very special episode" dedicated to tolerance and character building that is never mentioned in any subsequent episode. No, in fact the lesbian subtext in Xena is so overt that no one was surprised when a few of their adventures culminated in a kiss. Throughout their adventures Xena and her sidekick Gabrielle won the admiration of millions in such a way that gave even the most staunch heteronormist butterflies. As followers of the series may know Xena originally took place in a fantastic Hellenistic world with Greek gods, warring tribes and amazons, very similar to another pseudo Hellenistic crime fighting amazon named Wonder Woman. The main differences between the two are 1. The avoidance of homosexual issues in Wonder Woman, and 2. The relationship between Xena and Gabrille vs Wonder Woman and Etta Candy. In the beginning of the Xena series, Gabrielle is a naive farm girl and fan girl but soon grows into a warrior princess in her own right. Etta Candy on the other hand starts of as a relatively unimportant comic relief character and, although she gains some character depth in newer interpretations of Wonder Woman, never quite matches her in importance. In her universe, Wonder Woman has no equal, no partner in crime that the audience can really bond with through each adventure. In Xena, Gabrielle becomes a sort of audience surrogate, starting off the series ignorant and progresses with us to the final stage of warrior. It is this deeply seeded connection, that we watch grow throughout the years that makes the relationship between Xena and Gabrielle possible. It wasn't just a throwaway couple never to be seen again. It was an embodiment of the audience's admiration of Xena. In Wonder Woman, the closest we get to this dynamic is Steve Trevor whose damsel is distress shtick becomes stale after a few adventures. If looked at this way, it is easy to see why lesbianism may not have been addressed in Wonder Woman. There simply was no tasteful way to do it.