The Disney Channel Just Featured A Same Sex Couple…And I Still Don’t Care
I posted a blog some time ago expressing my overwhelming appreciation for the time of #BlackGirlMagic my daughter is currently being raised in. Ok, so maybe Trump is our President and wants to literally build a wall between anything that represents diversity. And we DO still live in a world where the shade against the accomplishments of African-Americans is subtle but indeed real whether Moonlight is getting it’s moment stolen at the Academy Awards or Adele still has to use her acceptance speech to thank Beyoncé because even Adele knows her songs have sounded identical since 2008. Still, Issa Rae is running ish over at HBO simply by telling the story of awkward black girls everywhere and Luvvie Ajayi signed a copy of “I’m Judging You” for my two-year-old daughter that is now sitting in her #BlackGirlMagic library. It’s great time to be a little black girl and that’s all because representation is fresh and in full effect.
I say all that to say, as an 80’s baby and a now grown up little black girl, I know what it feels like to look around and never see anyone that looks like you in print or TV. As an adolescent, Seventeen magazine made me believe the beauty in black girls only came in a mocha-colored packages covered in Dominican curly hair. And let’s be honest, mainstream media until recently made it seem that real romantic love only existed between heterosexual couples. So do I care that Disney Channel is showing images of same-sex couples to my two-year-old? Let the church say, “Nope.”
In case I’m not being clear, I support the Disney’s channel’s latest decision to include images of same-sex couples in their programs for children. Disney Channel wouldn’t be the first network to include representation of all lifestyles in their programming for children, Nickelodeon featured a same-sex couple on it’s show The Loud House last year, getting a bit of backlash, but for the most part overwhelming support. Now Disney Channel has pushed the envelope a little farther recently featuring a same-sex couple sharing a kiss at a concert in the show Star vs. the Forces of Evil. Much like when news broke out about the infamous scene on The Loud House my social media timeline was instantly filled with parents, many of whom have posted their pre-schoolers reciting everything from ABC’s to Young Jeezy, complaining about the bad influence the scene would have on their kids psyche. Because lyrics about selling coke are cool for show and tell, but a ten-second kissing scene between two teen boys will surely scar them well into adulthood.
Admittedly, as a sex educator I spend most of my days teaching young people about everything from IUD insertion to when it’s appropriate to use the word “queer” so of course my daughter is being raised in a household of sex positivity with a mother who wants to show her that love and sex may be complicated at times, but it’s generally a good thing as long as people can respect one another, properly communicate and not hurt themselves or one another, no matter what they pee with. But as a parent, I also embrace any opportunity my daughter has to witness what healthy love looks like, and if it’s two teenage boys sharing a five second smooch on a cartoon so be it.
The funny thing is the Star vs. the Forces of Evil scene happened so quickly that had not the story been trending for a day or two, most parents would have missed it. There’s no long drawn out lesson about spreading awareness about LGBTQ issues, or a mini sex-ed lesson for toddlers about how people have sex or what parts are needed for the process. There’s simply an image that displays that there’s a variety of relationships out there. I’m not a fan of comparing struggles, but let’s not forget that not too long ago the only images of African-Americans that were shown on TV were minstrel shows and clowns. So even if a show didn’t necessarily make groundbreaking history with an announcement of, “Look black people can be professionals too!” It’s comforting to see a sister walk by with a briefcase every once in a while. At its most basic that’s the beauty of representation: Not making a big deal out of a display of diversity but by simply including images that reflect everyone, whether you agree with those images or not. It’s also recognizing that whether it’s on a cartoon or at your local shopping mall, these images exist and chances are, you are probably making a bigger deal out of them than your kids are.
Don’t get me wrong, I can respect that other parents feel differently especially if their objections towards homosexuality are based on their faith or even just fear of the hostility that so much of society sometimes expresses for those who identify as LGBTQ. But with so much negative imagery of parenthood whether its women fighting over a man with whom they all have children with or people who think infidelity is a normal part of a low-functioning relationship, I want my child to witness as much healthy love as possible. I also want kids who have two moms, two dads, a brother who has a boyfriend or even are questioning their own feelings to know they are not alone and that they are not weird, disgusting or horrible people. They are just people who love and have feelings like everyone else, once again, no matter what them or their partner pees with.
Check out the controversial Star vs. The Forces of Evil clip below:
Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.
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