Why “Love is All You Need?” amounts to straight people jacking off onto a movie script and calling it progress.
Let’s talk about this movie, tumblr. The premise of this movie is that the roles have been reversed. Instead of straight people being the privileged majority and gay people being the oppressed minority, it’s the other way around. In a world where being gay is normal and straight is not, two heterosexual people fall in love and must face the derision and oppression of the world.
Seems okay so far, right? WRONG. Here is a list of the reasons why this premise is fucked up, in the order I’m going to talk about them:
1. It is recentering the conversation from being about oppressed people to their oppressors. (AGAIN).
2. It is privileging straight stories over queer stories.
3. It is holding up straight people are more sympathetic than queer people.
4. It /IS/ playing into gay panic.
Points the first and second. So supposedly this movie is helping the gay rights cause by exposing oppression. You know what would do the same exact thing? Making a movie about gay people being oppressed by straight people. The thing that actually happens. There’s actually no really good reason to reverse the situation. (I know you’re going to argue with me on this, but stay with me. I’ll get to that.) In fact, in doing so, all this movie accomplishes is making the conversation not about the actual people being oppressed. Again. This happens all the time. Most of the time when oppressed people talk about how they are victimized, their oppressors immediately begin trumpeting about how they’re not all that bad and how can those naughty marginalized people be so mean and heartless as to accuse them of doing bad things?
We really, desperately need to stop talking about straight people and start actually talking about queer people. I know this switcheroo seems innocuous at face value but it’s unconscionable to fictionalize our oppression and make the viewer cry for the straight people when they’re the ones hurting us on a daily basis. It’s unconscionable to erase our pain like that. Our pain is real and it kills our own every day. Mapping it onto the bodies that actively perpetuate that pain and death? Wow that’s really fucked up. Like I said, it’s 100% possible to accomplish the same thing, which is exposing the damage of oppression, except actually telling it like it is. Why does it need to be about straight people? Point the third: If you are saying it’s so that straight people can empathize then what you’ve just said is that people care more about straight people than queer people. According to that argument, when straight people hear stories about gay people being oppressed they don’t care. In which case, that’s y’all’s fucked up problem. Maybe you should go stand in the corner and think about why you don’t care about anybody but yourself.
Finally, I stand by my point that this movie DOES play into gay panic. No, it is not the intent of the movie makers to create a dystopia where gay people have taken over the world and now oppress straight people. But do you see how that is actually the exact story being told? Intent isn’t magic and it doesn’t erase the reality of what is on the screen. How come apparently the way to get through to non-queer people, according to the premise of this movie, is by showing them a reality where queer people are the majority and it causes “straight oppression”. (Excuse me a moment while I laugh like a hyena. Moving onward.) You must be aware, dear reader, that gay panic is a real thing. That real people are genuinely afraid of queer people. Afraid enough to hurt us and kill us and deny us services and our basic human rights. You must also be aware that there are people who regularly complain that it’s too hard to remember not to be heterosexist or cissexist, or just generally not an asshole, and that being “politically correct” is oppressive to their free speech. In case you’re not, those people do exist and us queers know because we’re the ones who have to deal with them. And just because this movie doesn’t intend to pander to that fear doesn’t mean that it isn’t pandering to it anyway. These things don’t exist in a vacuum. Our media is born into a world full of prejudices and oppression and to not be aware of the context into which we set forth our creations is, at best, irresponsible and, at worst, outright harming people.
So yes. I do know what the creators of Love is All You Need? intended. And I don’t care, because it’s still a fucked movie that offends me and makes my overall life more difficult. If you tried to help a marginalized group and all you managed to do is piss them the fuck off, maybe you haven’t succeeded. And maybe you should listen when they tell you that you’re not helping, you’re just talking about yourself and hurting them in the process.
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