If there's any time in history we should be grateful a service like Netflix exists, it's now.
With many of us stuck at home, the ability to pass the time with thousands of hours of movies or TV shows is clutch.
Sure, their original programming is almost scientifically designed to appeal to everyone by hitting every data point in their analytics, but this leads to good things.
For instance, queer representation is at an all-time high thanks to this approach.
However, not everyone sees this as a plus.
Every damn new series https://t.co/zLJstwiThm— Chilambo 💜 (@Chilambo 💜)1588678869.0
That is a meme showing a scene from SpongeBob Squarepants where Patrick is about to shove a giant pumpkin into Spongebob through a funnel. However, it compares the scene to Netflix adding "an unnecessary gay character" to their series.
There are plenty of legitimate criticisms you can make about Netflix's characters.
Could've said "We need less pandering and more well written minority characters" but naw you went this route
— Scott Frerichs 🏳️🌈🐯 (@KaiserNeko) May 5, 2020
But many just uncritically agreed with the initial tweet. Responses included statements that being gay was not normal or that it was unrealistic for them to be in certain time periods like homosexuality was created in a lab in 1960.
Probably the scariest ones were the people trying to reason that gay people shouldn't exist because without hetero relationships, the human race wouldn't continue. But that mentality misses the point that gay people exist too and deserve respect as much as anyone.
Luckily, many called out the tweet when it started going viral.
@AdamSB___ https://t.co/DGiYQjq3V2— Lynry ☭ 🏳️⚧️ (@Lynry ☭ 🏳️⚧️)1588716922.0
@ggranello @netflix Seriously? It’s like every program: “THERE WERE STR8S IN THE 15TH CENTURY, YOU KNOW. THERE WER… https://t.co/7pK5gOQ0pD— Fireside Folktales is in production (@Fireside Folktales is in production)1588804261.0
@Woshingo @netflix so i’m just supposed to turn off my gay like a light switch when i’m not burning down conversion therapy camps? hm.— Twig (@Twig)1588895358.0
@netflix Cushets when millions of straight characters are written as only their sexuality: I sleep Cishets when a… https://t.co/qK72g7886k— Inosuke’s Big Boar Mask ™ (@Inosuke’s Big Boar Mask ™)1588822418.0
Wait until they find out how many people irl are gay for no specific reason https://t.co/gdMF6MI35O— Tessa's Tea Time🍊🌱 (@Tessa's Tea Time🍊🌱)1588705118.0
Netflix themselves stepped into the conversation to shut this down.
Diversity is not a negative.
sorry you have yet to realize that every gay person is very necessary https://t.co/xTOEcLWryc— Netflix (@Netflix)1588802831.0
Representation is really important in media. It helps marginalized groups to become accepted in society.
Just having a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or some other underrepresented sexuality or gender representation in a popular show makes the public more likely to accept them. The TV show Will & Grace popularized this idea, and it's sometimes called 'The Will & Grace Effect.'
Our society is heavily influenced by the streaming content we all consume.
So having the most recognizable service mainstreaming LGBTQ+ people will help many accept them and reduce the kind of fear and ignorance that results in homophobic and transphobic violence.
THREAD: Let's take this opportunity to do an exercise in why queer representation in media matters. This is interac… https://t.co/kQtRh1mopO— Faith Naff 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️🌹🦋 (@Faith Naff 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️🌹🦋)1588819443.0
STEP 2: Next to each of the names you wrote down, mark whether the character is straight or not. No need to be comp… https://t.co/6t85XHrUrF— Faith Naff 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️🌹🦋 (@Faith Naff 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️🌹🦋)1588819444.0
STEP 4: Now, let's examine the characters you listed as straight and the reasons why. Did you, by chance, list a ch… https://t.co/OBZfSybD0B— Faith Naff 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️🌹🦋 (@Faith Naff 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️🌹🦋)1588819444.0
...erasure. Because you've seen them romantically pursue a member of the opposite sex you've assumed that they are… https://t.co/3rebrkyZ2h— Faith Naff 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️🌹🦋 (@Faith Naff 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️🌹🦋)1588819445.0
Other streaming services joined the comments to support LGBTQ+ representation. And honestly, we're not in danger of one dumb homophobic meme changing people's minds.
We're not far removed from the days when people of color on TV was controversial. While underrepresentation is still an issue, we've come a long way.
There's no reason to go backwards.
The book All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens throughout the Ages is available here.