Stranger Things, for those that have yet to see it or for some reason remain untouched by the hype around the show, is a Netflix original series about a group of Dungeon and Dragons RPG nerds on a quest to save their friend after he mysteriously vanishes. Stranger Things is fun and thrilling ride, for sure, but somehow the coming of age story about three boys finding their friend with the help of a telepathic super girl named Eleven is transphobic.
In BuzzFeeds defense, the article does not outright call the show transphobic, but the implications are insinuated from Shannon Keating’s complaints about the show. I’ll highlight some of the best moments and give my rebuttal. You can read the full article here: https://www.buzzfeed.com/shannonkeating/stranger-things-and-compulsory-femininity?utm_term=.fhRK8zRDdZ#.ehqZBLm4J6
In Netflix’s ’80s-throwback sci-fi horror series, Stranger Things, its young hero gets a girly makeover and wins the heart of a boy. For decades, masculine-looking girls in film and television have been a problem to be solved — or at worst, queer monsters to be vanquished.
For those that haven’t seen Stranger Things, the girly make-over comes about midway of the show and is used to disguise Eleven so that those that are looking for her don’t FIND HER! Three boys help a shaved head girl who is often mistaken for a boy by others throughout the show was given a blonde wig and a dress, a radical difference to her typical government experiment child demeanor. Was it sexist for the elementary school boys to assume that she would like a dress and a wig? Maybe to current SJW standards of TODAY, but not back then.
In Stranger Things, Mike develops a crush on Eleven two episodes BEFORE the “makeover” scene.
Will’s friend Mike (Finn Wolfhard), in whose basement Eleven has sought refuge, helps her put on his older sister’s makeup and clothes so she can take a trip to their school without rousing suspicion. The end result — frilly, feminine, pink — has Eleven looking like a miniature version of Ally Sheedy, brand new and beautified, emerging from Saturday detention with the Brat Pack.
Hold on here. The author makes it seem as if Mike immediately had Eleven change. Did she even watch the show? Mike took care of her the moment he found her because of empathy. He hid her in the basement and fed her out of kindness and compassion, but he’s still a sexist anti-LGBT asshole because he gave her one of his sister’s shirts? Go fuck a dildo. Wait, you can’t fuck a dildo because that’s a patriarchal symbol.
Eleven is at home in a long history of young female characters whose ultimate worth is dictated by her romantic appeal to boys — someone who must first become desirably feminine before she can fully claim that worthiness at all. That premise is all the more galling in a show where Eleven is a) the hero, and b) prepubescent. Why on earth does she need to be worrying about attracting boys when she’s a literal child — one preoccupied with saving people in mortal danger, no less?
When did Eleven seem actually interested and willing to engage with a romantic appeal to boys? She put on a wig and Mike gave he a compliment, as a child that was hardly ever given positive regard, she enjoyed it while on the defensive. Eleven NEVER had a self-reflective though or tearful breakdown over her romantic appeal. Who the fuck are you writing for? Has your audience even seen Stranger Things?
On the whole, Stranger Things makes sure to scrub all possible traces of queerness from its characters. Bullies pick on Will, his brother, and his friends by calling them queer freaks, but that’s largely an empty insult. Mike is safely paired with Eleven, while Will’s brother, Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), after taking enormously creepy photos of Mike’s older sister Nancy as she’s undressing in a window, becomes her confidante and friend. Lonely hetero geekdom is romanticized in this world — stalking is merely a minor offense, something that very well might be less shameful in the show’s diegesis than gayness.Stranger Things champions the nerds and the weirdos, as so much of ’80s pop culture did, but the writers temporarily put Eleven in a wig and make most characters seemingly straight as if to assure that their weirdness won’t become unruly. Queerness, gender-nonconformity (nonwhiteness too, for that matter) — in a world with monsters and alternate dimensions, these things are just too alien to make the cut.
You said it yourself. The show takes place in the 80’s. that’s the most you’re going to get but it is still a very generalized way to say that Stranger Things is transphobic. I know the author did not outright say it, but she might as well have. Afterall, to her Stranger Things actively scrubs away possible traces of queerness from its characters. Why are you so concerned about queerness in CHILD CHARACTERS? Eleven is a lab rat girl who was NEVER transgender or queer. Sexuality has ZERO to do with Stranger Things, other than Mike’s childish crush on Eleven, and Jonathan’s attraction to Nancy. Which, by the way, did involve stalking and taking of some creepy photos but the show ABSOLUTELY did not condone that. His camera was smashed up for it!
Homophobic name calling? Honey, that’s still around today and is a rite of passage for most boys. be a boy at school and you’ll be subjected to more than that, and it builds character. Some random bully calling you a fag or queer freak is a test to see how you can handle trolls. But in context of Stranger Things, the bullies are the product of the 80’s and are going to do what bullies in the 80’s do.
But Eleven is a kid. We don’t know her sexual orientation and we don’t need to. Yet the Duffer brothers felt compelled to give her a makeover and stick her with a boy. (She might have grown up to be with both boys and girls, of course, or no one at all, but in our culture girls are presumed straight unless proven otherwise; even then, they’re belittled and disbelieved.) No matter her orientation, Eleven simply doesn’t deserve to be reduced to a romantic plotline with anyone.
Exactly, Eleven is a child so why the FUCK are you concerned about her sexual orientation. Also, Eleven was NEVER reduced to a romantic plotline. You are either lying your ass off or just dumb. Eleven does not even give two shits about Mike’s feelings towards her. She sees him as a friend, but does not even have the understanding to explore complex relationships or what it means to be interested in someone. Name ONE fucking scene where Eleven felt conflicted about her love interest with Mike. That’s right, you CAN’T because it doesn’t exist.
This sort of idoitic post annoys me. It serves as another example of SJW taking a show and projecting their own bullshit narrative into it. Stranger Things said nothing about LGBT community or sexuality. though it did break the carnal rule of horror. Nancy should’ve died.