Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cartoon Closet Part 2

Part 2: They Totally Exist (but not officially)

First published in 1953, Seduction of the Innocent by Fredric Wertham discusses the negative influence (in the form of violence and sexual perversion) of comic books on children. Chapter Seven, I want to be a Sex Maniac, deals with the sexualizing of children, child prostitution, and homosexuality. While the section of the chapter focusing on homosexuality is only a handful of pages long, it is famous for the outing of Batman and Robin. Wertham was not the first to suggest the Dynamic Duo could be seen as a gay couple, but he was the first to so publicly proclaim it:

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cartoon Closet Part 1

Part 1: Being Straight Doesn't Count as Sexual

Until 2012 (when ParaNorman featured the first out character in a western animated children's cartoon) children's cartoon characters didn't just default straight, they couldn't be LGBTQ. Their options were straight, or asexual/non-sexual.
Because being queer was compared to the act of sex, instead of “relationships” or “love” it was considered inappropriate for children in a way straight relationships were not. This was very apparent in the  Sugartime episode of Postcards From Buster.
Controversy arose when Buster visited two family in Vermont that had lesbian parents. The focus of the show was not on the parents, but on the children and on the making of maple syrup. The words lesbian gay, or any other phrase to point out their relationship were never used, and the only time the episode focused on the two moms was when Buster looked at family photos with one of the families daughters. He asked her “So Gillian’s your mom too?” “She’s my stepmom,” said the daughter, to which Buster replied “Boy, that’s a lot of moms.”