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.


  1. This is probably not the appropriate comment that I have to put here but all I can say is "WOW"! I wish I could write (analyze) like you. I think it would make my life easier.
    I have a question though. Unfotunately I wasn't able to find it in the internet:
    Is Xena a lesbian in the comic book too, or is it only the TV series that shows her as homosexual?

  2. Thank you :). Also she's not explicitly stated to be a lesbian but its heavily implied


    you see her kiss Gabrielle.

  3. This post brings many memories of childhood home. Now that you suggest Xena is a lesbian so many things make sense. When I was younger I would have to watch Xena behind my mom's back because if she ever caught me watching this show she would freak out. My mom couldn't understand why I found a woman who acted like a man (in her opinion) interesting. Anyway, it is truly obvious that Xena is painted as a lesbian, especially because she kisses Gabrielle. I love how you make the connection to Wonder Woman because they are both warriors and have "sidekicks". I feel like with comics it is harder to subliminalize anything, especially a lesbian character. It seems sort of black and white, either wonder woman likes men or she likes women, or maybe even both, but that would probably throw the reader off.

  4. I like the connection that you made between Wonder Woman and Xena and it totally makes sense. The comparison between both of the sidekicks is really interesting.


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