“She-Ra” Season 5 Making Adora and Catra a Canon Couple Raises a Certain Issue Online
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power saw its fifth and final season debut on Netflix on May 15, 2020. And you know what? Congratulations to the LGBTQ+ community as a whole as well as the fans of the show who had been waiting for Adora and Catra to be confirmed as a canon queer couple. But while it’s a joyous occasion for many, some people aren’t as happy.
When the series premiered back on November 13, 2018, the fandom quickly latched on to the relationship dynamic between Catra and Adora. The pairing continued to garner more fans as the episodes progressed. The two began as friends but then had a falling out due to Adora realizing she had the power of She-Ra and who the good guys were. The series did an impressive job when it came to handling the complicated feelings the two had for each other.
While many in the fandom wanted Adora and Catra to end up together, they felt it would never happen due to media’s history with handling certain queer characters. TPTB are quick to accuse viewers of always seeing same-sex relationships as romantic and blaming fandom’s shipping tendencies when in fact said relationships would feature moments that would immediately make the characters involved a couple if it involved a cis straight man and woman.
So, seeing Netflix’s She-Ra give what the fandom was hoping for was an unexpected yet very welcome gift. The series already had queer characters. That’s why the fandom understood if the show didn’t want to go ahead with making Adora and Catra a couple because the LGBTQ+ box had been checked!
I was glad to see how the entire moment wasn’t handled in an unclear manner (something that The Legend of Korra animated series is accused of). The final season of She-Ra showed the two profess their love for each other and even share a kiss. Yay, to queer couples in media that aren’t open to interpretation!
Now, coming to some people who aren’t happy, I can see where they are coming from. Adora and Catra serve as another example of media being comfortable with showing women as queer and in love. Korra and Asami from The Legend of Korra, Princess Bubblegum and Marceline from Adventure Time, and the Crystal Gems from Steven Universe being other examples. All of them are important characters that just happen to be queer.
But where are the queer leading men in media meant for kids or similar target audience?
While I understand the frustration, what I don’t support is certain fans attacking the She-Ra fandom. The fandom isn’t to blame. In my opinion, you should blame society’s love for toxic masculinity. In a sense, for such problematic people, women being queer doesn’t take away from their femininity. However, a man being queer immediately makes him less masculine.
That’s also, in my opinion, one of the reasons why popular characters (who were perceived as straight during their debuts) like Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Catwoman have been allowed to be queer as they have continued to exist in various media.
However, where is a queer Bruce Wayne or a queer Clark Kent? If you all remember, Sony has been very adamant about keeping Peter Parker straight.
Due to toxic masculinity, there’s a problematic idea about queer men being lesser than straight men. It’s something that doesn’t seem to impact fictional women in media. Of course, queer fictional women have been exploited for the male gaze. But that’s another issue.
The topic involving Adora and Catra (who weren’t exploited for the male gaze) deals with society’s unwillingness to see even fictional men as “true” men if they even have a hint of queerness; especially if said fictional men were perceived to be straight when they first appeared.
Maybe things will change for the better down the line. Queer representation in media has made a lot of progress. So, perhaps one day we just might get a story involving Clark Kent realizing he isn’t only attracted to women.
Anyway, again, congratulations to the Catradora fandom! It’s a win for the entire queer community!
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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