Miss Dinkley Is Queer
October 5, 2022 2:29 AM   Subscribe

 
Are they bringing back the preppies-vs.-weirdos dynamic the original series was intended to have before it became about talking animals?
posted by acb at 3:06 AM on October 5 [6 favorites]


And yet they're still calling Magilla Gorilla a "bachelor."
posted by PlusDistance at 3:11 AM on October 5 [38 favorites]


53 years and they finally out Velma? What's next? Are we about to find out that Shaggy really is doing pot and is the group's dealer? In the modern interpretation, isn't he the bad guy if he's intentionally getting his dog high?
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:39 AM on October 5 [8 favorites]


Jinkies!
posted by mochapickle at 3:44 AM on October 5 [18 favorites]


As a cis-hetero male with a fantasy crush on her, I am saddened by this news.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:16 AM on October 5 [16 favorites]


What's next?

They redo Shaggy and Scooby like in the Venture Bros version. Yours is the hand of vengeance, Shaggy! Yours is the sword of Michael!
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:42 AM on October 5 [14 favorites]


I am bewildered by the ongoing campaign to assign sexuality to cartoon characters designed to appeal to six year olds. I have zero interest in whether Stinky and Dirty are rubbing bumpers, or whether the Octonauts fuck. Please stop.
posted by phooky at 4:52 AM on October 5 [22 favorites]


I was certain that Mystery Incorporated ended with it being pretty clear that Velma was in a relationship with Marcie Fleach (voiced by Linda Cardellini!), but it's a sign of progress if what was pretty clear in 2013 gets relegated to subtext by 2022.

Also, I can't recommend Mystery Incorporated enough. It is the best iteration of Scooby Doo ever. It starts off with a bit of a slow burn subtly hinting that a universe where it's normal for teens and a talking dog to solve mysteries is 'not quite right' and then takes a deep dive into conspiracies, aliens, and Lovecraftian horrors. It is the twisted take on Scooby Doo that everyone keeps joking about, and the best part is it already exists!
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:56 AM on October 5 [24 favorites]


I am bewildered by the ongoing campaign to assign sexuality to cartoon characters designed to appeal to six year olds.

So, you think that Fred and Wilma Flintstone don't have a sexuality assigned to them, or George and Jane Jetson? Oh, dear.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:11 AM on October 5 [160 favorites]


Well, at least you know what Tucker Carlson is going to talk about for the next two weeks.
posted by briank at 5:20 AM on October 5 [28 favorites]


phooky, throughout its history, the various iterations of Scooby Doo have shown heterosexual attraction and relationships - from husband-and-wife nuclear families to Shaggy being all "Zoiks!" over 'attractive' women. It's been around since the 60s - this is hardly new. Why is heterosexuality the default? Why is it bewildering that a cartoon character might not be straight?

Being aware of sexual orientation is not the same as a sexual act. Very many same-sex-attracted people report that they knew this as very young children, younger even than six. The queer canon is filled with cartoon characters, puppets (and Muppets) and fantastic creatures who have served as icons, role models, and comforters for queer folks since Bugs Bunny put on a dress and lipstick to give Elmer Fudd a big ol' smackeroo.

A healthy culture represents itself through diversity. Fictional characters can and should show gender and sexuality in all their breadth and complexity.
posted by prismatic7 at 5:20 AM on October 5 [118 favorites]


I think there's also a talking dog.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:23 AM on October 5 [19 favorites]


As a cis-hetero male with a fantasy crush on her, I am saddened by this news.

I think there is something to be said for leaving it ambiguous. As a boy nerd, i liked having a smart girl to crush on instead of the boring glamour girl. As an adult, i see the need for representational figures for the LGBTQ folks, so I'm not opposed to this in any way, but leaving it ambiguous wasn't terrible either.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 5:24 AM on October 5 [10 favorites]


I don't see what's so progressive about looking at a female character that isn't performing feminity and deciding she must be gay. Isn't that just reinforcing stereotypes? Is that really good for anything? I think they should have made Daphne gay, to be honest.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:28 AM on October 5 [40 favorites]


It's rough to pick one because they're all archetypes. The jock, the nerd, the stoner, the fashion plate. I think Fred is gay. He's just so ... tidy. Also in the movies he was played by Freddie Prinze, Jr. who we alllll know voiced The Iron Bull who was .... well, who was everything.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:35 AM on October 5 [4 favorites]


Oh, I knew I'd get in trouble for that the second I hit post. I get it, the criticism is valid, etc. I'm just mired in kid's media right now and it's weird how gendered everything for kids is now. Yes, it's way more diverse, but it's also way more there. Velma presents primarily as "nerdy weirdo", and you can read anything you want into that. I'm a big fan of omission in media, because it opens the door to all kinds of representation. Putting big labels on characters kind of hurts that.
posted by phooky at 5:37 AM on October 5 [5 favorites]


Velma could always be bi, if that makes anyone happier. For that matter, so can everyone else there.
posted by acb at 5:38 AM on October 5 [16 favorites]


think there is something to be said for leaving it ambiguous. As a boy nerd, i liked having a smart girl to crush on instead of the boring glamour girl.
I get (and kittens comment too) that Velma also provides representation for nerdy girls more generally - and that we need tough girl representation for queer women too (thank you She-Ra remake!), but in the end, it's easier for you and other straight men to find nerdy girls in shows to crush on than it is for queer girls. Way, way easier. The ratio of straight to queer is still way out of whack.
And as for comments above making light of this, please understand this is a big victory for a marginalized group. Trust me, queer women have known Velma gives off big gay vibes for decades.
Putting big labels on characters kind of hurts that.
Unfortunately, given the pervasive nature of heteronormativity, it's necessary.
posted by Flight Hardware, do not touch at 5:38 AM on October 5 [33 favorites]


Omission only works when you want to maintain the status quo.
posted by simmering octagon at 5:54 AM on October 5 [28 favorites]


Point taken about the importance of opposing heteronormativity.
posted by phooky at 6:00 AM on October 5 [17 favorites]


And yet they're still calling Magilla Gorilla a "bachelor."

There's this comic about Snagglepuss, officially licensed even, that depicts him as a semi-closeted writer during the Red Scare, like Tennessee Williams. I may actually have bought this, or maybe I just was sure I did because I was so intrigued by the concept.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:01 AM on October 5 [11 favorites]


Related question: are there any (canon) queer men or boys in kids' media? I don't watch enough to know.

I think it's pretty obvious that queer women are more palatable to mainstream (read: hetero) tastes, though. Which is yet another point in favor of why this is important. Queer people exist. Queer kids exist. There is implicit heterosexuality in almost all the media kids consume (as pointed out above in many places). You have to make the queerness explicit now so that someday you don't have to.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:02 AM on October 5 [10 favorites]


Bert and Ernie (who were apparently based on a gay couple one of the writers knew)?
posted by acb at 6:06 AM on October 5 [9 favorites]


Bow's Dads in She-Ra- https://she-raandtheprincessesofpower.fandom.com/wiki/George_and_Lance.

There's (predictably) a wikipedia page, if you need it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_gay_characters_in_animation. It is mostly side characters, to be honest.
posted by Braeburn at 6:13 AM on October 5 [8 favorites]


I thought her relationship with Hot Dog Water was her coming out. It's not even mentioned here.
posted by tommasz at 6:17 AM on October 5 [4 favorites]


The Flintstones and Jetsons originally aired in prime time, like the Simpsons or Family Guy. Different standard. (Speaking of which, do either of those shows have decent gay characters?)
As for gay men, the cops on Gravity Falls are canonically "just friends," but were intended to be gay.
Also, besides several couples on the new She-Ra, there's Amity and Luz on The Owl House for lesbian representation.
I'm fine with this. Besides Mystery Incorporated, there's a deleted scene from the first live action film showing her crushing on Daphne.
posted by Spike Glee at 6:18 AM on October 5 [5 favorites]


please understand this is a big victory for a marginalized group

Except it just really isn't? A cartoon character that a corporation owns doesn't have any sort of material reality for marginalized people. No amount of media representation changes the fact that rights for LGBT people (at least here in the US, where Velma lives) rest on a few easily-reversible Supreme Court decisions. It's nice, I guess, that this particular corporation has allowed the writers and animators to make a small concession within strictly-acceptable boundaries, but that's such a long way from victory.
posted by mittens at 6:29 AM on October 5 [6 favorites]


> "Related question: are there any (canon) queer men or boys in kids' media?"

Benson and Troy in Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts. (Benson is a lead character in the show.)
posted by kyrademon at 6:33 AM on October 5 [10 favorites]


I think there is something to be said for leaving it ambiguous. As a boy nerd, i liked having a smart girl to crush on instead of the boring glamour girl. As an adult, i see the need for representational figures for the LGBTQ folks, so I'm not opposed to this in any way, but leaving it ambiguous wasn't terrible either.

The term for that is "queer-baiting."

Given the number of unambiguously straight characters in kids' media (e.g. every Disney princess and prince), it's only fair that queer people should also have unambiguously queer characters to give them a sense of belonging.

There's this comic about Snagglepuss, officially licensed even...

I can't be the only person who heard "officially licensed even" in Snagglepuss's voice.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 6:33 AM on October 5 [48 favorites]


I thought her relationship with Hot Dog Water was her coming out. It's not even mentioned here.

I thought so too, but maybe someone can weigh in on the line which separates casually depicting a relationship and maintaining plausible deniability through subtext? I initially thought Mystery Incorporated did the former, but upon reviewing clips on YouTube it seems like the audience is still supposed to do the heavy lifting in interpreting what's going on between Velma and Marcie, as obvious at it might be to most people.

In this clip Velma's free to express herself through the standard cartoon vocabulary (her glasses fogging up), which I would think is a huge difference.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:33 AM on October 5 [2 favorites]


We squealed at the end of She-Ra and Korra, tho. Crumbs can be tasty, and baby steps are important.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:33 AM on October 5 [7 favorites]


Representation is important. If kids who are queer can see someone who's like them (and not a monster or victim), it makes it a lot easier for them to negotiate their place in the world than if they feel like the only one afflicted by this condition.

It's not on the same tier as same-sex marriage, or anti-discrimination laws, but once those are in place, people outside the narrow mainstream being able to see stories like theirs counts.
posted by acb at 6:36 AM on October 5 [31 favorites]


as a round spectacled know it all lesbian, this pleases me.
posted by wellifyouinsist at 6:37 AM on October 5 [55 favorites]


It's also really important for straight kids to see unambiguously queer people in their media. They will be the next generation of voting adults, and the more exposure they have to LGBTQ+ and gender non-conforming people, the more likely they are to view marginalized people as just people.

Take away the ability to "other" marginalized people, and it gets a lot harder to vote to take their rights away.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 6:39 AM on October 5 [69 favorites]


. I'm just mired in kid's media right now and it's weird how gendered everything for kids is now.

We live in a gendered world and that is far from new. The number of shows without any gender markers amongst the main characters is vanishingly small, in fact i can only think of The Teletubbies and that a relatively recent example. Kids media for at least the last 200 years has been strongly gendered.
posted by Mitheral at 6:53 AM on October 5 [5 favorites]


Well, at least you know what Tucker Carlson is going to talk about for the next two weeks.

Wait 'til he finds out Scooby's pronouns are "rhey" and "rhem."
posted by PlusDistance at 6:53 AM on October 5 [93 favorites]


I'm just mired in kid's media right now and it's weird how gendered everything for kids is now.

The first person to respond to you in this thread cited a cartoon that premiered during the Eisenhower administration. It's not now. Think of a "non-gendered" aspect of kid's media from your childhood, and I guarantee you that it was either actually very gendered and you just didn't realize it because more or less everything always has been, or else it was actually queer-coded and "non-gendered" was as close as anyone was allowed to get back then.
posted by Etrigan at 6:58 AM on October 5 [13 favorites]


The number of shows without any gender markers amongst the main characters is vanishingly small, in fact i can only think of The Teletubbies and that a relatively recent example.

And notably, some people claimed to interpret the Teletubbies' lack of gender coding as queer signaling.
posted by Gelatin at 6:59 AM on October 5 [12 favorites]


No please take Daphne instead
posted by Going To Maine at 7:05 AM on October 5 [3 favorites]


Straight people stop talking and start listening in this thread challenge.

The more media with queer characters, the harder it gets for conservative parents to censor their kids’ media consumption to prevent them ever learning about queer people. Scooby Doo was a favorite in my childhood Christian household. A scene like this would have been revolutionary for me as a kid. Kids have crushes as early as 10 years old. Particularly when parents refuse to educate them on that, they use media to figure it out.
posted by brook horse at 7:05 AM on October 5 [47 favorites]


"Good for her!"
posted by rozcakj at 7:10 AM on October 5 [2 favorites]


Kids have crushes as early as 10 years old.
And trans feelings much earlier. Mine started at least as early as age 8, watching a Disney show of all things. If I had seen positive trans or gay representation at the time, it might have helped me understand myself much earlier. Would have helped me know it wasn't wrong to feel that way.
posted by Flight Hardware, do not touch at 7:12 AM on October 5 [17 favorites]


As a cis-hetero male with a fantasy crush on her, I am saddened by this news.

As a trans lesbian with a fantasy crush on her, I am overjoyed!
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:17 AM on October 5 [33 favorites]


In 1934 the Hays Code relegated gay characters to subtext. It specifically forbade any representation of queer characters, (which it referred to as 'sex perversion') and that was enforced until 1968.

That's a huge part of the reason that people are uncomfortable seeing queer characters represented in their media. It was specifically illegal to exist anywhere but subtext for generations. When the MPAA ratings took over, they relegated queer content to R-rated movies for a couple more generations.

So if you're most comfortable with gay peoples' existence being implied, with gay characters who present as gay but never confirm in any way that they're gay, with gay relationships relegated to the imaginations of the viewers, please think deeply about the context that made that the default. The code that shaped your viewing habits was openly homophobic, stunningly racist, massively sex-negative (even forbidding the mention of STDs), nationalist, religious, and regressive even for the 1930s.

So if characters who were created in the 1960s were subtextually queer, well, there was no other way to be queer on screen at that point. Subtext was all we had. If we're updating those characters for a modern audience, we should be asking ourselves what those characters would be like if they weren't constrained by decades of heavily regulated institutional prejudice.

Hell, we should all consider what we would be like if we weren't constrained by decades of heavily regulated institutional prejudice.
posted by MrVisible at 7:17 AM on October 5 [68 favorites]


The number of shows without any gender markers amongst the main characters is vanishingly small, in fact i can only think of The Teletubbies and that a relatively recent example.

I think the least gender-coded children's media I can think of is Toopy and Binoo, but after wondering for a long time, I looked it up and they're apparently both male characters. So then I wonder if my failure to recognize them as specific genders could only happen because they were male -- if one of them had been female, would producers have felt obligated to put a bow or a skirt on her or make her pink?
posted by jacquilynne at 7:28 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]


I don't see what's so progressive about looking at a female character that isn't performing feminity and deciding she must be gay. Isn't that just reinforcing stereotypes?

While I'd certainly agree that Daphne is more high-femme than Velma, Velma is absolutely performing femininity.

Her outfit screams "feminine": Mary Janes, knee socks, a skirt, and an over-sized turtleneck sweater, none of which would fit into a masculine outfit. Her haircut's also coded feminine, unless you're specifically going for a period piece about the Beatles.

I mean, I get it, she's not wearing lipstick, which is *the* go-to code for making a character female (e.g. Ms. Pac-Man), but Velma's pretty far from what'd be described as butch.
posted by explosion at 7:29 AM on October 5 [30 favorites]


i liked having a smart girl to crush on instead of the boring glamour girl

What if the glamour girl was gay instead of the smart girl? ¿O por qué no los dos?
posted by kirkaracha at 7:31 AM on October 5 [5 favorites]


I am enjoying the idea that Shaggy is the only straight member of the bunch, and is too stoned to notice, and wouldn't care anyway.
posted by Gelatin at 7:33 AM on October 5 [50 favorites]


I'm really sorry to have derailed this thread. My take was bad. I'm trying to raise small kids in an environment where it feels like everything around them is pressuring them to choose an identity. It feels like the space for them to not have a gender identity at all is shrinking. That's all I was trying to express. It was the wrong thread and I apologize.
posted by phooky at 7:34 AM on October 5 [28 favorites]


I think there is something to be said for leaving it ambiguous. As a boy nerd, i liked having a smart girl to crush on instead of the boring glamour girl. As an adult, i see the need for representational figures for the LGBTQ folks, so I'm not opposed to this in any way, but leaving it ambiguous wasn't terrible either.

I feel like the big problem is that female characters are still really limited and stereotyped and it is rare for an ensemble show to have a majority of female characters. (At least, as recently as 2019 I was living with someone with a young child and we watched a lot of random kids' content together; there are some great famous properties (She-Ra!) which don't do this, but the norm was that if there was an ensemble show, there could be three boys and two girls, or two boys and one girl, or five boys and two girls, or seven boys and two girls, etc etc. You got two girl characters, and one was warm/maternal and one was sarcastic. Usually the warm one was blond but sometimes they'd reverse this. If the sarcastic one was blond, she was snobby; if she was brunette she was smart.

My point being that although there are now a number of highly visible exceptions, the default is that we have to have few female characters and we can't have multiple female characters coded as smart/weird/non-standard.

As a result, there can only be one Velma, so to speak, and everyone has to focus their identity/crush/etc feelings on her.

~~
I feel like representation is important and I clearly remember feeling really uncomfortable with the cartoon gender rules as a little kid. The gender ideology of those shows is so schematic and so aggressively hetero- and cis-normative that it was difficult to identify with anyone without a lot of discomfort - like, there was never a moment where performing heterosexuality/cisness wasn't a big subtext, so it was difficult even to find a neutral resting point, so to speak. I loved cartoons but they constantly made me aware that I was doing gender - or just being - wrong.

I watched She-Ra during the pandemic and although as a transmasculine person I didn't feel "represented" per se by the show, it was good to see a world that made sense to me and where I knew my gender would make sense, partly because I could just relax into enjoying all the other parts of the show instead of waiting for gender bullshit to develop. I have Princess Scorpia merchandise. Big, not the sharpest marble in the box but bumblingly well-meaning - that is me!
posted by Frowner at 7:37 AM on October 5 [20 favorites]


It's rough to pick one because they're all archetypes.

Not only that, Scooby Doo was piggy backing off a popular 1960s teen-romance TV show, "The Many Loves of Doby Gillis", where Velma/Zelda was the lovelorn not-pretty-girl with unrequired love towards the hot dude. At least now she's found love!
posted by AzraelBrown at 7:39 AM on October 5 [6 favorites]


"people that don't agree with me stop talking" is not a good tone. imho.
Imagine a white person walking into a NAACP meeting, and shouting "Actually, I don't think black people have it all that bad" over whatever was going on when they walked in. Then shouting "See, I'm the victim here!" as you're being dragged out of the building....

Don't go pissing all over a tiny victory for a marginalized group, and don't act all hurt/oppressed when a member of the majority gets called out on their bullshit. Jesus Christ, I can't believe I need to explain this, here, of all places.
posted by schmod at 7:42 AM on October 5 [31 favorites]


Honestly, as a person who never especially liked Scooby Doo, my first reaction was "ugh, God, not this." Which isn't fair, but all the professional tantrum-havers have made weariness my default setting on so many things. I'm plenty excited that Tim Drake has a boyfriend now and Mystique has her wife back, but if I don't care about a character to endure the Discourse, my first reaction is to scramble over to twitter and mute all discussion of the new representation gain.

THAT SAID, congrats Velma. I do like that characters that some writers have been trying to out for years are finally being written as openly queer.
posted by grandiloquiet at 7:45 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]


I was a tiny dyke who had a crush on Velma, identified with Fred, and grew up to be Shaggy, so I'm pretty happy with this. (Daphne was not an especially interesting character to me in the 80s version of the show, but I imagine she's better-written these days.)
posted by restless_nomad at 7:49 AM on October 5 [10 favorites]


The thing is, if you can't have someone be gay as text, then you're relying on subtext, which limits representation. That means that unless you're making a statement, Velma's almost always going to be the gay one, rather than Daphne. On the other hand, if you let someone be gay in text, subtext is irreverent. From what I've seen of the Owl House, Luz isn't coded as gay at all, other than crushing on another girl. I think that really opens up representation.
posted by Spike Glee at 7:54 AM on October 5 [11 favorites]


I appreciate the multiple layers in Hayley Kiyoko's response, given her previous acting role and personal background.
posted by sgranade at 8:19 AM on October 5 [2 favorites]


I am so surprised. Holy smokes.
Barry Manilow, now Velma. Who's next, Lindsey Graham? I just can't believe my stars.
posted by From Bklyn at 8:20 AM on October 5 [8 favorites]


Sorry, on further reading the thread, I thought this is 100% truth:

There is implicit heterosexuality in almost all the media kids consume (as pointed out above in many places). You have to make the queerness explicit now so that someday you don't have to.
posted by From Bklyn at 8:23 AM on October 5 [6 favorites]


I watched She-Ra during the pandemic and although as a transmasculine person I didn't feel "represented" per se by the show

Have you seen Dead End: Paranormal Park? Barney, the main character, is a gay trans boy who explicitly says "I'm trans" in the second episode, and he's voiced by a transmasculine actor. So good.

From what I've seen of the Owl House, Luz isn't coded as gay at all, other than crushing on another girl.

Canonically, Luz is bi, and her girlfriend Amity is gay. But again, there's nothing at all that traditionally codes her that way. She's just herself.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:24 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]


I think Fred is gay.

Fred is aro ace and his one true love is a carefully constructed, needlessly elaborate and perfectly activated trap.

Mystery Incorporated Fred is the only Fred I will acknowledge.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 8:35 AM on October 5 [23 favorites]


I personally prefer the version where Fred is the aro beard for Daphne, Shaggy is hetero and into Velma, and Velma is the kinky bisexual that keeps the entire polycule working.
posted by gwydapllew at 8:42 AM on October 5 [18 favorites]


Shaggy is hetero and into Velma
Shaggy's heart belongs to Scooby. Velma is uncoupled among the main characters.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:45 AM on October 5 [5 favorites]


So, you think that Fred and Wilma Flintstone don't have a sexuality assigned to them, or George and Jane Jetson?

Interesting aside about George and Jane: if you do the math, they were likely 24 and 17, respectively, when Judy was conceived.
posted by dephlogisticated at 8:48 AM on October 5 [3 favorites]


Stepping in with another rec for Mystery Incorporated (and I totally read the ending of that as Velma coming out).
posted by Quasirandom at 8:48 AM on October 5 [4 favorites]


i was sort of irritated that the Variety headline that was trending on twitter was conflating "velma is attracted to a woman" with "Velma is a lesbian." bi erasure in action!!!
posted by dismas at 8:53 AM on October 5 [9 favorites]


Shaggy is the Han Solo in the Scooby Doo universe, in the sense of being the guy who lives in his car with his dog. The others just started hanging around at some point.
posted by acb at 8:55 AM on October 5 [19 favorites]


On the topic of representation, I'd forgotten that one of the main characters in Henry Danger, which was the longest-running live-action show on Nickelodeon (and is still extremely popular among my 8-year-old), is a man who was AFAB (he doesn't identify as transgender, for his own reasons).
“What it does is send a message to kids that whoever they are, however they identify, that’s celebrated and valued and okay.”
posted by uncleozzy at 8:58 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]


As a cis-hetero male with a fantasy crush on her, I am saddened by this news.

News flash: cis-hetero males are not the only kind of people in the world, so I'm not sure why you thought people would care.

I'm trying to raise small kids in an environment where it feels like everything around them is pressuring them to choose an identity. It feels like the space for them to not have a gender identity at all is shrinking. That's all I was trying to express. It was the wrong thread and I apologize.

Now, this I can sympathize with a bit....however, I'm still gonna bust out some of the lessons I got from a college course on ya. :-)

I totally feel you on the whole not-wanting-kids-to-feel-like-they-have-to-be-sexualized thing. That said: there is still a difference between representation and coercion; there's a difference between a kid learning "hey, kid, just FYI that some girls like girls instead of liking boys, no big" and "hey, kid, it's way cooler to like girls if you're a girl". The latter would indeed be disturbing - but the former, it's more like, just letting them know that some other identities exist. For younger kids, it's not so much about "pressuring them to choose an identity", it's more about letting other kids know that this is A Thing That Exists, so if there's a kid with two moms in their class, the rest of the class doesn't pick on them because "you have two moms, that's so weird".

And also, arguably, the vast majority of human society is already pressuring your kid into a cis identity just by default; the majority of the sets of parents they meet are going to be hetero, the majority of stories they read are going to be about male/female pairings. The majority of things they hear adults say about other kids are going to be heteronormative - "wow, this little baby girl is so pretty, she's going to have a lot of boyfriends, isn't she?"...."Oh, hi Bobby! Where's your little girlfriend Suzy?" You know? The rest of the world already is subtly sending the message that "man + woman = normal". Something like this is simply offering the information that "woman + woman = also normal" or "man + man = also normal".

Also - your kids will not ever have to "choose" an identity. They already HAVE that identity. It just hasn't revealed itself to your kids yet, and may not for a few years still. But when it does...I can tell you it'll go a lot smoother for your daughter who realizes she likes girls if she doesn't have to be scared that "wait, that's not normal though". And in the meantime, if she meets another kid on the playground who has two moms, she won't be thinking that other kid is weird. And....those are both good things, yeah?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:05 AM on October 5 [34 favorites]


Holy cow, I didn’t expect to have to have heteronormativity explained on metafilter in 20-jeepers-22. I guess I forget that explicit queerness is still perceived as sexualizing characters while explicit (or implicit, even) straightness is… not.

But hooray for progress, however small and corporate! Representation is a HUGE deal and I’m always so glad my kiddos have so much more than I ever did growing up.
posted by lydhre at 9:08 AM on October 5 [29 favorites]


As a hetero guy who grew up watching Scooby Doo in the 1970's and 80's, not because I liked the show (it was always meh) but because there was nothing else on, and hasn't watched anything Scooby-Doo in 30 some odd years, when I heard this news all I could think is "Yeah, that tracks". Not sure why anyone would get upset about this.

Anyways, on the Zelda from Dobie Gillis/Thelma link, the actor that played Zelda, Sheila Kuehl, is an openly gay politician and was California's first openly gay state legislator.
posted by fimbulvetr at 9:26 AM on October 5 [13 favorites]


Lesbian here. Born in 1974, knew I was gay when I was 5- how did I know? I just did, take my word on that, and it didn't have to do with any sexual awakening which came much later. Zero representation at that time, I was left in my own world to sort out how I knew I felt versus what possibilities there seemed to be in the world for me. I have a strong memory of a Love Boat episode where Doc had an old college friend on board who he used to hound dog around with only now the friend admitted "he was a homosexual". I can't tell you the earth shattering nature of this episode for me- without knowing the word, I knew this was me. I literally looked it up in the giant dictionary that sat on a stand in my elementary library. So yeah, representation in media matters- I didn't come out until I was 24, so those intervening 19 years were difficult to say the least, full of self-hatred and burying my secret deep deep inside me, having a boyfriend in high school, having a boyfriend in college who everyone (including me) thought I would marry. In the end, it wasn't media portrayal that helped me come out and live my life as I wanted, and have a joyful fulfilling life today that I never ever ever could have imagined when I was 5 or 15, but goddamn, it sure wouldn't have hurt either. Bravo for brainy nerdy queer girls.
posted by rene_billingsworth at 9:27 AM on October 5 [29 favorites]


For an old guy it's unbelievable (sometimes) how much things have changed. In these areas, mostly for the good.
posted by aleph at 9:27 AM on October 5 [2 favorites]


Good stuff, Empress. I would say that one of the big purposes of diversity in children's media is promoting the idea that all sorts of people co-exist in this world. The existence of someone with a difference identity doesn't change or negate my identity, but it opens my eyes to the reality that people with different identities exist and just people like me.

And if I were a child who was struggling with their identity, seeing someone on TV with an identity that I previously didn't know existed might open up a new realm of possibilities for me.

When my son was maybe 6 or 7 years old, he heard a character on TV referred to as "gay" and asked us what that meant. We explained what it meant and listed off all the gay people he already knew in his life (family members, friends, etc.). He thought for a moment, then lit up and said, "...and me!" We later learned that this revelation was prompted by Zac Efron in the original High School Musical. (Sadly, at age 19, he refuses to bring his sort-of boyfriend home to meet his parents, but we're still working on it.)
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 9:29 AM on October 5 [25 favorites]


are there any (canon) queer men or boys in kids' media?

The criminally underappreciated (and canceled too soon) "Julie and the Phantoms" on Netflix has a sweet gay romance between two male teenage ghosts. I watched with my pre-teen daughters (who LOVED the show) and had a really amusing conversation... Kid: "Why do they keep punching each other's arms though?" Me: "They're flirting." Kid: "That's how guys FLIRT?!" Me: "... Sometimes?"

unambiguously straight characters in kids' media (e.g. every Disney princess and prince)

Not Elsa. I mean, she may be straight, but she's definitely not unambiguously straight. She does not even remotely relate to Anna's interest in boys, honestly.

As for Velma -- I'm a little disappointed too, as a nerdy girl. I always identified with her. Same with Willow, in Buffy. I liked having female role models who didn't have to be so, you know, girly? But I'm straight, and I kinda don't like the implication that any character who isn't super into fashion or whatever must be gay? Really would like it if could turn out that Daphne was gay instead, or equivalent characters in other media. Can't we mess with the archetype/stereotype a little bit sometimes?
posted by OnceUponATime at 9:36 AM on October 5 [9 favorites]


Velma could always be bi, if that makes anyone happier. For that matter, so can everyone else there.

In my imagination, everyone is bi.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:45 AM on October 5 [3 favorites]


In my imagination, everyone is bi.

All fictional characters should be assumed bisexual until proven monosexual. If there's nothing within the text to show an aversion to a particular gender, the canon justifies labeling them bisexual just as readily as labeling them straight or gay.

To do otherwise would be like assuming a character dislikes spinach just because we never see them eat spinach on-screen.
posted by explosion at 9:57 AM on October 5 [3 favorites]


This thread is absolutely wild, thanks to all of you pointing out the importance of representation and pushing back against the idea anything that isn't heteronormative is sexualized. The rest of you could probably do better.
posted by zenhob at 9:59 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]


velma_and_babadook_at_pride.jpg
posted by Going To Maine at 10:04 AM on October 5 [9 favorites]


When I start to feel a little sad that characters I identified with as a nerdy, tomboy, close enough to cis (my experience of gender is that it’s something external to me, so sure, I’m female because that’s how everyone else interacts with me) young person are revealed to differ from me in some part of those identity details, I remind myself that some of my queer friends have said that I’m close enough to at least be an honorary queer. And while I doubt that’s actually true - partly claiming identities is about who needs the community, and while there’s some overlap, my experiences are different enough that it doesn’t help people who really need the community to have me also claim queerness - it does help me contextualize the whole situation as “hey, aren’t I cool that I saw myself in this queer character” instead of “I has sads that the character I saw myself in is no longer quite as similar to me as I had thought.” It’s still kind of an unflatteringly self-centered take, but seems to be less harmful for more marginalized folks than the alternative. So if that helps other more-or-less cis nerdy women, feel free to borrow the viewpoint.

A better framework or way of putting the above would be as a call to notice when a change to a character we identified with is losing status versus gaining status relative to societal norms and relative to our own status, and whether we feel more or less upset about the change depending on the direction. Endeavouring to cast our lot or stand in solidarity with those of lower social status than us is pretty much always going to be the more ethical and just position.
posted by eviemath at 10:11 AM on October 5 [7 favorites]


how soon we forget Steven Universe
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:26 AM on October 5 [8 favorites]


" During the 2020 Pride Month, Cervone wrote on Instagram, “I’ve said this before, but Velma in ‘Mystery Incorporated’ is not bi. She’s gay. "
posted by aniola at 10:29 AM on October 5 [2 favorites]


There was an inebriated discussion about that genderless UK library mascot the other day, where after it wandered into other media properties, I had to admit that I, as a child, and to this day:
1) neither knew or cared if Big Bird is/was supposed to be a Boy Bird or a Girl Bird
2) always found Daphne a little bit clocky

I do feel a little bad for somebody out there who wrote an all hetero Scooby-Doo / X-Men crossover fic. They may have to rewrite that scene where Velma and Scott 'Cyclops' Summers have a rom-com meet-cute over "oh no, I dropped my glasses!"
posted by bartleby at 10:30 AM on October 5 [2 favorites]


The rest of you could probably do better.

Aw, c'mon. If people want to take something positive from this, that's fine, but can we not do the "do better" thing as though it's a moral failing to see some problems with the concept of representation as it plays out in our media? Queerness is absolutely being commodified and sanitized, is being made into a consumer object, and it's actually okay to bristle a little when enormous corporations make pronouncements about it! It's also okay to need to see yourself represented in the media you consume! It's okay to like this! It really is! It's just also okay to really hate it and see it as terribly problematic, and nobody really needs to be told to shut up when they see the problems in it.

You can see a little of the problem, of the basic misunderstanding of what heteronormativity actually is, in the idea of sexualization. We know that there's not going to be any sexuality in this cartoon. Heteronormativity is a digestive organ, and anything problematic or uncomfortable will be digested out of this media product. But we're also not going to get most of the things that accompany that sexuality, either. At no point will Velma have a long-lasting relationship, she'll never settle down, she'll never sign a lease, she won't adopt. If she has crushes, they will be chaste. If she has dates, they will be chaste. She's safe to make into a queer character because she's in a little unchanging capsule where nothing is challenging.

(God, there's so much more to say. It's such a mistake not to see these kinds of representation as an expression of heteronormativity and the power of the limits it places on discourse.)
posted by mittens at 10:33 AM on October 5 [15 favorites]


(* Forgot to add straight to my list of descriptors in my comment - which is of course the part that’s most relevant to this thread.)
posted by eviemath at 10:40 AM on October 5 [2 favorites]


Really would like it if could turn out that Daphne was gay instead, or equivalent characters in other media. Can't we mess with the archetype/stereotype a little bit sometimes?

The majority of queer women on TV are femme. Butch and GNC representation is incredibly lacking, despite this pervasive idea about stereotypes. I'm not going to go into this more, but please know that this is stepping into a sensitive intra-community conversation about how feminine queer women are prioritized and valorized by society and the media and masculine queer women are derided and erased. Velma isn't remotely butch, but it would 100% be even less out of the norm to make Daphne gay (though they should just make both of them gay, tbh).
posted by brook horse at 10:42 AM on October 5 [9 favorites]


nobody really needs to be told to shut up when they see the problems in it.

Zenhob didn't remotely tell people to shut up, but I did, so I assume this is in reference to my post? Anyway, I have no issue with queer people expressing problems with it. But this is not the time or place for straight people (the only people I asked to stop talking) to be criticizing representation. If there is an exceptionally well-educated straight person with the context and history to do so with nuance, I would hope they realize that the announcement of a new source of representation is not the time for them to come in saying they don't like it.
posted by brook horse at 10:56 AM on October 5 [4 favorites]


Seriously: even if you're narrowing down your media consumption to only cover textual f/f relationships, butch and GNC queer characters might as well just not exist in the first place. What stereotypes, when it comes to TV queer characters?!
posted by sciatrix at 10:58 AM on October 5 [2 favorites]


Related question: are there any (canon) queer men or boys in kids' media? I don't watch enough to know.

The Bravest Knight is one that immediately comes to mind. The protagonist is a gay man, married to a prince and they have an adopted daughter together (I think she's implied to be the prince's biological daughter, but I'm not entirely sure).

It's not really a plot point at all, it's just two married dudes being normalized for kids. Most of the show is the non-prince dad telling their daughter stories about when he was a kid and then her learning a lesson and doing some good or kind thing related to what her dad taught her.

I don't know if it's still airing regularly but can probably be found online (Hulu in the US and CBC in Canada, I think).
posted by asnider at 10:59 AM on October 5 [3 favorites]


I'm beyond overjoyed to see Velma being unequivocally queer and expressing the joy and awkwardness of a nerdy crush. When I was growing up, if you saw women express interest in each other on TV, it was usually to make them the butt of a misogynist joke or to titillate men. Instead, this is endearing and cute and so relatable.

comment subtext: please straight people just let me have this. please
posted by knuckle tattoos at 11:07 AM on October 5 [17 favorites]


Related question: are there any (canon) queer men or boys in kids' media? I don't watch enough to know.

Here's a neat database on lgbtq characters in children's cartoons. You can glance through the data in various ways, and there's a discussion on the relative prevalence of f/f relationships vs m/m ones showing up in cartoons of various ages.
posted by sciatrix at 11:08 AM on October 5 [4 favorites]


> Aw, c'mon. If people want to take something positive from this, that's fine, but can we not do the "do better" thing as though it's a moral failing to see some problems with the concept of representation as it plays out in our media?

You're right that was dismissive and I wasn't clear who I was criticizing. I am mostly disappointed in the folks who think making a character gay is sexualizing it. I agree that there is nuance to how representation is done. Thanks for calling me out.
posted by zenhob at 11:17 AM on October 5 [6 favorites]


Congrats Velma! You cracked the biggest mystery of all; Oneself.
posted by banshee at 11:27 AM on October 5 [18 favorites]


I personally prefer the version where Fred is the aro beard for Daphne,

I always thought it'd be cool if they'd thrown a curveball and reveal that Daphne was Fred's beard, but you might be onto something there.

I'd ask where Scrappy would fit into this (probably as the malignant demon who's attached itself to the group), but I don't want to be banned from this site for life, so....
posted by gtrwolf at 11:35 AM on October 5 [3 favorites]


You cracked the biggest mystery of all; Oneself.
It's hard out here for those whose gender is "Haunted Amusement Park".
posted by bartleby at 11:39 AM on October 5 [17 favorites]


"And I'd have gotten away with turning this historic property into Heteronormative Estates if it weren't for you meddling kids!"
posted by indexy at 11:44 AM on October 5 [11 favorites]


I have mixed feelings around (but not about) Velma being demonstrated to be a lesbian, but they're about me and my personal identity as a Velma (short hair, glasses, "quirky" and nerdy and smart) and my personal relationship with queerness. But that's about me! I'm really happy for those who feel better represented today.

I don't think Velma fits in the butch lesbian stereotype. If Velma were an athlete, her looks would get her labeled butch, but Velma is useless without her glasses and not the sort of woman you turn to for opening jars. Reading her as a lesbian because she's insufficiently femme is one of those "no woman is feminine enough to perform femininity properly" things.
posted by gentlyepigrams at 12:01 PM on October 5 [5 favorites]


phooky: I am bewildered by the ongoing campaign to assign sexuality to cartoon characters designed to appeal to six year olds. I have zero interest in whether Stinky and Dirty are rubbing bumpers, or whether the Octonauts fuck. Please stop.

The idea that cartoon characters haven't shown sexual interest in other people is ... laughable. Cartoons from almost a century ago had sexuality galore (the Tex Avery wolf having superexaggerated reactions to a stripper Red Riding Hood). Every Smurf had a crush on Smurfette. Cartoon characters had spouses and children.

I will try not to attribute things to you that you haven't overtly said, but it seems like what's new is ascribing a wider, more diverse set of gender or sexual identities than we used to. And just like older cartoons were a sea of whiteness, but aren't so much anymore, I think it's an improvement.

Ask any pediatrist and they'll tell you children explore their gender identity -- you don't have to be an adolescent to know you're not in the right body -- and have crushes early on. It's not the same as the feelings one feels when testosterone and/or estrogen are flowing through your body, but it's still a crush. It's one of those inconvenient facts that conflicts directly with what the public has decided is a fact (like whether COVID's over).
posted by MollyRealized at 12:05 PM on October 5 [13 favorites]


Something I realized, at some point in my life, is that privilege often takes the form of apathy. If you are so accustomed to getting something in your life that it's literally invisible to you, it can be hard to understand that other people don't have unlimited access to this thing you don't actually notice.

But they don't. And they struggle with the consequences of that deprivation in ways that you don't notice.

When something like this gets loudly announced, it can feel like disruption to you: a flagrant introduction of something that's politicized or even (in this case) sexualized. The invisibility has been punctured! What was wrong with the invisibility?

Sometimes that pushback is benign or well-meaning, but its impact is the same: a voice in favor of entrenched inequality. This is literally what the word "reactionary" means: politics formed as a blind yearning for a status quo. And status quo is defined by invisibility too: silence in general, but particularly of both oppression and the oppressed.

When changes like this happen, I find it helps to remind myself: we are seeking a new normal, a new kind of apathy, in which a spectrum of sexual identifications is so common that the word "spectrum" is seen as too nerdy a way to describe it. Different people like different kinds of people. It doesn't need to be a political football! Your kid asks you why Velma gets heart-eyes at the same women Shaggy does, and you say "sometimes girls like girls," and the kid goes "okay!" and their next question is about a ghost.

If this seems like more complicated and less apathetic of a subject, it's because we've all been subject to a bigoted, closed-minded status quo. That's true if you're straight, too, even if you didn't notice the resultant suffering because it wasn't yours. If the world had been a better place all along, this wouldn't warrant a news story, or your opinion, at all.

I am a straight white man who is also, by nature, a bit of a grumbly crank. And I have learned, over the years, that sometimes "allyship" takes the form of benevolent apathy. It didn't matter to me what Velma's sexuality was yesterday. Why should it matter to me what it is today? The sooner we all move towards seeing this as normal, the faster it becomes the new invisibility.

(And sometimes—pro tip!—using your privilege to speak up looks a lot like proactive apathy too. At some point, I gave up on earnestly debating conservative family members and coworkers, and started hitting them with "Why does it matter to you?" instead. Force them to be longwinded and upset, and then respond with a dismissive "whatever, weirdo." People enjoy going off on tirades. They like righteous fights. Deny them that, and you spoil their fun. And the more you look like a bastion of "normalcy" to their biased eyes, the more you alone have the power to shut that shit down before it even starts.)

I guess what I'm saying is it is totally bizarre to me that people are kneejerking over this, when "Velma is lesbian" was a common take in the mid-90s. And if you're old enough that this bums you out because she was your first nerd-girl crush, I've got fantastic news for you about what the last two decades has done for the "hot straight nerd in glasses" trope. Your oppression is over! So many hot nerds wear glasses that the new thing is wearily sighing at how hot those nerds in glasses look!
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 12:35 PM on October 5 [34 favorites]


I glad someone else pointed out the Dobie Gillis/Sheila Kuehl connection. Zelda might not have been queer, but the actress playing her was/is.
posted by thecjm at 1:15 PM on October 5 [5 favorites]


I think someone has to speak up for the closeted gay smurfs, because you know they have to be there
posted by mbo at 1:38 PM on October 5 [2 favorites]


Congrats Velma! You cracked the biggest mystery of all; Oneself.

In the spirit (HAW HAW HAW) of this thread, I'm reading this in the voice of Vincent Van Ghoul.
posted by MrBadExample at 1:53 PM on October 5 [2 favorites]


If all smurfs but one are male, then presumably smurf biology is insectile, with Smurfette being the queen of the hive and the others being drones?
posted by acb at 2:44 PM on October 5 [6 favorites]


If all smurfs but one are male, then presumably smurf biology is insectile, with Smurfette being the queen of the hive and the others being drones?

The Venture Brothers have you covered.
posted by mikelieman at 3:10 PM on October 5 [4 favorites]


Of course Velma is never going to settle down with the white picket fence lifestyle. Haunted mansions, abandoned boats, and spooky theme parks just don't come to your neighborhood
posted by Jacen at 4:42 PM on October 5 [3 favorites]


From the LEGO movie wiki

When prompted why the other members of The Gang weren't in The LEGO Movie 2, Gum said that they picked the obscurity of Velma other than the familiar faces of Scooby and Shaggy. Mike Mitchell, the other director, added, "In a post-apocalyptic world, Velma would have been the only one to have survived. The other kids wouldn’t have made it."

Which makes this image of Lego Velma just heartbreaking.
posted by adept256 at 4:45 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]


Something about that image of Lego Velma isn't working?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:12 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]


I think it might be the image at the top of the first link. She looks dismayed.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:14 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the Lego image isn't working for me, either.
If you google Velma Dinkley, you'll find that they have opinions on her coming out as well.
posted by Spike Glee at 8:44 PM on October 5 [2 favorites]




The Lego Velma image is checking referrers. I tapped the location and hit enter, and I could see it.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:57 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]


Sorry about that. You can see the image in the first link. Poor Velma.

I just heard this Ben pipsqueak have a meltdown over Lizzo playing that flute. It occurs to me that they enjoy being angry. They like listening to each other being angry. They'll dwell on this little satisfying anger nugget until the next one. They lose in the end though. The romance between the guy on the Pringles can and Hamburgler only makes my heart grow bigger, and all they get from it is confused rage. Poor them.
posted by adept256 at 12:50 AM on October 6 [3 favorites]


In a post-apocalyptic world, Velma would have been the only one to have survived. The other kids wouldn’t have made it.

Fred and Daphne do look like the rich kids who get killed in the first quarter of a horror movie set on a ski trip.
posted by acb at 1:03 AM on October 6 [4 favorites]


My only beef with this is the overuse of that creepy squiggly line for a mouth to indicate attraction. Ugh.
posted by The Adventure Begins at 3:33 AM on October 6 [1 favorite]


It's so important for LGBT people to see themselves represented on screen, especially kids/teens.

It's really harmful when the only relationships on screen are heterosexual.

If it's appropriate for a straight couple to hold hands or share a G rated kiss in a kids show (which happens all the time), it's appropriate for a same-sex couple as well.
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 3:46 AM on October 6 [15 favorites]


Daphne was originally drawn as Doug.
posted by sammyo at 5:13 AM on October 6 [1 favorite]


So, in a certain light, Daphne is canonically trans?
posted by acb at 5:17 AM on October 6 [1 favorite]


It occurs to me that they enjoy being angry. They like listening to each other being angry. They'll dwell on this little satisfying anger nugget until the next one.

An acquaintance of mine suggested that we should refer to these angry reactionary sorts as "feudalists," which I absolutely love.
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 7:35 AM on October 6 [2 favorites]


" During the 2020 Pride Month, Cervone wrote on Instagram, “I’ve said this before, but Velma in ‘Mystery Incorporated’ is not bi. She’s gay. "

Started watching some Mystery Incorporated last night because of the enthusiastic recommendations in this thread, and I hope Velma gets better? So far, it's the worst version of her character I've seen: totally in love and obsessed with Shaggy and constantly judging him and nagging him to be different than he is. Not gay or bi, and not even slightly cool, no chill whatsoever. So does Velma go through a huge character evolution? We're like seven episodes in, and no change yet....
posted by LooseFilter at 7:38 AM on October 6 [3 favorites]


If all smurfs but one are male, then presumably smurf biology is insectile, with Smurfette being the queen of the hive and the others being drones?

Smurfette was made by Gargamel to entice the Smurfs back to his castle, she's not an OG Smurf.

Though later seasons did have a few female Smurfs.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:39 AM on October 6 [4 favorites]


re: criticism and straight reaction

We just sent my 18-year-old off to college. We went out to dinner with one of his fairy god-moms and were doing some retrospecting. She told us we'd done a good job, we said we weren't always so sure, and she credited us with showing him support and care she and her partner had not received.

My take was, "all I ever did was decide that he was going to tell us what he is."

When he completely identified with the lady from Chicken Run and improvised a dress out of a towel so he could make us pretend to be chickens and inspect us, that was fine. When my father-in-law reacted to that by saying "boys don't wear dresses," I quietly said "in house they do."

When the day care lady became concerned that he was always wearing the Princess Jasmine outfit when the costumes came out, I said, "that's fine and it's not for you to worry about."

Eventually, in fifth grade, he told us what he is and we said "okay" in the manner of people receiving information, and we told him that was great with us and we loved him as we always had. He was starting to push to do more stuff on his own, like ride the bus places, so the conversation shifted to "how do we keep him safe in this world?"

While all that was going on, there were people all around us, from all perspectives, trying to tell us what he is, and trying to tell him what he is. It was all, with a few minor exceptions, very well intentioned and also completely unwelcome. There was some very irritating conflation of gender and sexuality. There was a lot of "oh, he's this" and "oh, he must be that" or "oh, he did that ... totally some thing." The best, most supportive people were the people, like the god-moms, who understood that we were determined to let him tell us and respected that. They didn't lean in, and they didn't use the unsolicited advice credits we extended to them to counsel us to lean in.

At dinner, the god-mom said her impression, as someone who does not have a child, is that parents are under a lot of social pressure to sort of lean in on these questions ... to draw their children out. She related an anecdote that had to do with a parent she met forcing her young (5, 6?) child to pick gender-specific clothing instead of choosing some things some days and other things other days. I'm not going to psychologize a stranger I know through a second-hand anecdote, but my impression was that this was coming from a place of care ... trying to be a good parent by helping the child learn and affirm their own identity. The god-mom said in her work milieu -- progressive California academics -- this was held up as model parenting: Helping the child fit into the binary, then helping the child conform to the binary.

The same way my wife and I made our choice about our son, other people are choosing something more proactive and leaning in more on questions of sexuality and gender.

So, someone upthread said "straight people let me have this," and there's been some back-and-forth about representation. Yep. I don't understand from the basis of shared experience, exactly. I understand from just using, you know, basic human empathy. I offer no criticism of this news in this thread.

I also feel some empathy for folks who expressed a moment of reaction about "everything being sexualized" or whatever. Here in the 21st century, in relatively liberal circles, a lot of well-intentioned people or people who are concerned that a child might be forced to live the closeted or self-denying existence they did are moving toward a "lean in" approach on questions of sexuality and gender, not realizing sometimes that parents who are relatively low key on these matters are not ignorant, but are keeping their own counsel and trying to spare their children the weight of everyone else's experiences, fears, trauma, and projections. Sometimes parents in that situation feel reactive things and put their concerns less artfully or with less sensitivity than we all might prefer.

Hope this helps bridge a small gap.
posted by mph at 8:00 AM on October 6 [7 favorites]


So, someone upthread said "straight people let me have this," and there's been some back-and-forth about representation. Yep. I don't understand from the basis of shared experience, exactly. I understand from just using, you know, basic human empathy.

Agreed with the human empathy angle 100%.

One of my hands-down, passionately-love-it, guaranteed-to-push-my-buttons favorite movies is Call Me By Your Name; just in case, it's a coming-of-age first-real-serious-love story, where the pair are separated at the end. And it just so happens, the lovers are both guys.

The reason this movie gets to me so much is because I absolutely 100% empathize with the main character, Elio, and the stuff that happens to him in the movie; I have been swept off my feet by someone, I have had that person irrevocably change me, and I have had them break my heart CATASTROPHICALLY. The fact that Elio is a late-teen dude and I am a middle-aged woman is completely incidental to that fact that we both had our hearts broken that big.

There are some experiences that are unique to certain types of people, but there are also more areas of commonality than we think.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:00 AM on October 6 [5 favorites]


Google just the word Velma (at least on desktop).
posted by indexy at 9:27 AM on October 6 [15 favorites]



Google just the word Velma (at least on desktop).


Oh, I LOVE it.
posted by lydhre at 10:04 AM on October 6 [5 favorites]


So does Velma go through a huge character evolution? We're like seven episodes in, and no change yet....

Yes. Most of season 1 is a bit of a slow burn. But people often point to the ending of Episode 20 as a major turning point for Velma.

Also at one point Daphne leaves the group for plot reasons and Velma replaces her with Marcie (aka Hot Dog Water). For a few episodes the "cast" in the intro is updated with Hot Dog Water taking the place of Daphne, only instead of clutching the photo of Fred she's clutching a photo of Velma.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 12:06 PM on October 6 [2 favorites]


Just a thought...

Scooby Doo was piggy backing off a popular 1960s teen-romance TV show, "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis"

I used to watch that show on Nick at Night, so I thought the one to one correspondence in that link was interesting... Dobie -> Fred, Maynard -> Shaggy, Thalia->Daphne and Zelda->Velma.

It also made me think about how, in Buffy the Vampire slayer, Buffy's friends are canonically "The Scooby Gang," in self-aware acknowledgement of the shows' "teenagers dealing with spooky stuff" similarities.

Thinking about the similarities between Willow and Velma, (which implies Willow->Velma->Zelda) made me try to match up the other characters too. Seems to me Xander is definitely Shaggy/Maynard. Between Cordelia and Buffy, Cordy seems like the much better match to Daphne/Thalia. (Even though Sarah Michelle Gellar is the one who played Daphne in the Scooby Doo movie)

So that means Buffy herself is... Fred? Kinda works, right? Leadership? Courage? But that in turn also makes her the genderflipped Dobie Gillis... I mean, he doesn't fight demons, but he does have to deal with high school and college, so he's still fighting the same metaphorical demons, and also with wit and style.

Anyway it works well enough for me that I wanted to share in case anyone else watched all three of those shows.
posted by OnceUponATime at 12:21 PM on October 6 [4 favorites]


acb: So, in a certain light, Daphne is canonically trans?

Joan Lambert, Veronica Cartwright's character in Alien, is canonically trans, according to her dossier that flashed on the screen in Aliens. Cool, huh?
posted by MollyRealized at 6:00 PM on October 6 [3 favorites]


That's probably a nod to Ripley:
Ellen Louise Ripley, often referred to simply as Ripley, is a fictional character and protagonist of the Alien film series, played by American actress Sigourney Weaver. The character earned Weaver worldwide recognition, and the role remains her most famous to date. Ridley Scott, director of the first film in the series, Alien, made the decision early in production to switch Ripley from a standard male action hero to a heroine.[1][2] -wikipedia
posted by sebastienbailard at 8:21 PM on October 6 [2 favorites]


Alien and Aliens proved that there was an appetite for lady action heroes. Proven with the best kind of evidence, $$$$$. Instead? We got a decade of braindead brutes on steroids.

It could have been the start of something. Ripley is so awesome! She's tough but she doesn't need muscles. She's brave but she's not suicidal. She loves cats!

I have a feeling Ripley inspired many screenplays, but when it came to casting, Hollywood cocks decided a guy would be better. What a waste.
posted by adept256 at 8:50 PM on October 6 [6 favorites]


Interesting aside about George and Jane: if you do the math, they were likely 24 and 17, respectively, when Judy was conceived

Also an interesting take: boomers thought someone that was 24 could afford a house in the future.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:16 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


Well... Xander is an utter shit. A pathetic man-baby self-insert by the show runner, standing in for all the pathetic man-baby viewers. Shaggy is not that at all. I've never heard Shaggy tear anyone down or be even the slightest bit mean. (I haven't watched all the media though.)
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:41 AM on October 7 [5 favorites]


I honestly had no idea she was such an icon for so many queer girls growing up. I've seen more of the "secret sexy librarian" male-gazey trope around her which I always found gross that she's just a nerd girl living her (fictional, I know) life and getting sexualized for that, like really, can young nerd girls not read a book in peace without dudes telling her that's hot? (No they can't. I know.)

But I'm glad to be wrong!
posted by nakedmolerats at 10:02 AM on October 7 [2 favorites]


What stereotypes, when it comes to TV queer characters?!

well, if they're lesbian?

...dead
posted by i used to be someone else at 11:02 AM on October 7 [2 favorites]


Except, she and Shaggy dated. So is she bi, or was Shaggy her beard?

It does annoy me, though... I always shipped Velma & Shaggy far more than Fred & Daphne. Fred & Daphne just annoyed me.
posted by stormyteal at 3:07 AM on October 9


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