So a while ago I saw a blurb about MTV’s new show called “Faking it” which was about two high school girls who get outed as a lesbian couple — except they’re not gay. But since they go to the world’s most liberal high school, being gay makes them popular and they decide to keep faking it to stay popular.
That’s as much information as I had at the time.
And I had a lot of feelings about that.
My first reaction was to agree with many I saw on the interwebz –angry that we can’t have a real live lesbian couple on tv. Angry that in a world where coming out is so hard and so dangerous for so many, that tv was basically mocking that by showing a couple who have to pretend to be gay in order to win some dumb ass popularity contest. Angry because it’s hard enough trying to convince people I’m a “real” lesbian and a show like this wouldn’t help. Angry because so many people still think you can just decide not to be gay.
I wanted to wait and watch it before coming to any kind of real (or public) judgment, mostly because I know that sometimes shows that are predicted to be “controversial” have to back door their way in so they can just get the fuck onto the airwaves. “It’s not really about lesbians, it’s about fake lesbians… (except it is about real lesbians and people love it so now you have to keep it on haha we fooled you and also remember how you said no one would watch shows about queer folk well they do so there)”
And I’m really glad that I did because I FUCKING LOVE THIS SHOW!!!
If you are interested in in-depth plot summary I highly suggest reading Autostraddle’s recaps because they are rad as shit: Pilot and Episode 2.
In which I address all your concerns that were also mine trust me
“No high school on earth is that liberal/It’s not cool to make coming out seem like an easy fun thing to do when it is so hard and unsafe for so many people”
So I had this friend in high school who transferred junior year to this school in Minneapolis, MN and he came back to visit and told us of this magical place where the leads in the fall musical were considered the coolest kids in school and it was totally hip to be in theater and no one cared about sports at all and they had a huge thriving GSA and coming out was totally supported. Seriously. This was a real place. An actual high school. And this was over ten years ago.
So– is it common? Fuck no! Is it possible? Fuck yes!
And my question to you… oh hypothetical skeptical reader… is it any less plausible than a middle of nowhere high school that goes from having no music/dance/showchoir program to winning national glee club competitions in a single year especially when none of the students in said club take voice lessons or have dance backgrounds and apparently one or several of them go on to be on broadway immediately after graduation (I guess? I totally stopped watching that train wreck of a show like 5 episodes in)?? Cuz, no it is not any less plausible. In fact it’s much more plausible.
And also– while it is important to acknowledge that yes coming out is super hard and dangerous for too many kids, isn’t it equally as important to show examples of it NOT being super hard and dangerous?! Showing situations where being gay is totally fine is really important — not just to give young gay kids hope for a happy future but also to show straight kids that they don’t have to freak the fuck out because look here these totally well adjusted (though yes yes YES they are soooooooo way too white especially in Texas there should be fucking WAY more ethnic diversity I totally cede that point absolutely get on that MTV like yesterday) kids who are cool with the queers so how about all the rest of you get on board. Cool? Cool.
Also, the show is not without coming out drama. More on that later.
“But, ew gross the whole pretending to be a lesbian to impress some guy is so lame and plays right into the patriarchy and men thinking all lesbians secretly want the D and that whole thing is just yuck.”
Okay, yeah. True. There is a huge problem with dudes thinking all lesbians were hurt or whatever and that’s why they “turned gay” (gag) and with dudes thinking that lesbians just need to find the right dick and then they’ll be straight and all the patriarchal bullshit. Yes. Truth. HUGE FUCKING PROBLEMS.
When I was a teenager I was at this restaurant/bar thing with some friends (we weren’t drinking) doing karaoke and some dude offered me and my friend Kayte $20 if we would kiss.
So we did.
And yeah– gross playing into the patriarchy and all that. But I had never even heard the word patriarchy at that point in my life. I didn’t know anything about fucking anything. And maybe there are girls watching this show that don’t know anything about feminism and have never taken a gender studies class and who are just misguidedly like…
It’s not my fault I’ve never had the chance to deconstruct my societally programmed impulses
But after watching Amy come out and (hopefully) tell Karma how lame she is being by buying into all this shit we hate maybe these same girls will be all…
*swoon* me too
So again, I’m not saying that pretending to be lesbians to impress some straight guy is cool in ANY WAY– I’m just saying that it happens.
And the show does a good job of pointing out how lame and gross that whole thing is. We are SUPER annoyed with Karma for using this pretend-except-not-really-pretend-but-she-doesn’t-know-that lesbian relationship with Amy to get with Liam aka mr-annoying-straight-dude to go out with her. Another character literally says “Typical man– trying to prove your virility by turning a lesbian” so we totes get the signal that dude is a prick and Karma is being a ruhl moron trying to get with him at all.
The show says “this is a thing that happens and it’s not cool on any level for any of the players so lets just examine how dumb this shit is mmmkay?”
And I’m alright with that.
And, back to my story, I didn’t know that I would one day use words like “heteronormativity” in a sentence that day I kissed my best friend. But I did know that I really liked kissing her. I liked it a lot. A lot more than I was supposed too (that’s for the SG fans) My memory of that event is all kind of one big haze of THE FEELZ, but when we got done kissing I’m pretty sure she was like this:
This is Karma who just thinks this is a fun game that will win attention from others. She is winking to indicate her general playful and not serious attitude about this kiss that just happened.
And I’m pretty sure I was the one whose face looked like this:
This is Amy. After kissing her best friend Karma for literally 40 seconds on tv so that is a total win (suck it Glee!). She’s just realized that she is probably in love with Karma and has a lot of feelings about this. She will go on to secretly pine over Karma for at least 5 episodes. This fate could have been avoided if she had a sassy gay friend. (And by sassy I mean fantastically sapphic and into Tegan and Sara.)
My point? Basically just that the plot line is not about fake lesbians. It’s about two best friends. One of whom is straight and the other of whom is ACTUALLY a lesbian.
And yes tropes of the baby dyke falling for her best friend… but
SERIOUSLY WHAT BABY DYKE DIDN’T FALL IN LOVE WITH HER BEST FRIEND PLEASE TELL ME BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW IF YOU EXIST!
But why does there have to be a gimmick? Why can’t they just be lesbians?
Because stories need conflict and since the school itself is supportive and not a source of conflict (and once again can I get a HELL YEAH! to that!) there needs to be another source of conflict.
Two best friends and a weird circumstance makes one realize she is in love with the other while the not gay one spends her time trying to get with douchey dude-bro that no one likes.
That’s some pretty good conflict.
And, like I said, from the first two episodes and the previews for the rest of the season its totally clear that Amy is super gay and completely into Karma. Amy whose Mom is a total Texas Red Republican and will not be psyched to have a dyke in the house.
THIS IS A STORY LINE I CAN RELATE TO AND GET BEHIND.
I like the combo of supportive and obstacles. Because I think that is the reality for many of us. It’s not all black and white. And also it would be even more awesome if Karma could realize that she is also totally into Amy and be GENUINELY BISEXUAL or SEXUALLY FLUID because that is also completely a thing that exists and what if we could talk about it on tv!!
And I like that with Amy the signs are all there, (like her always wearing pants and not spending tons of time on her hair and for real this was me in high school) and clearly her mom was a little worried cuz she makes a big deal about Amy having a (fake) date with a BOY to Homecoming, but that Amy is not a walking stereotype. She’s just a person. Cuz we are all people.
In episode 2 Amy comes out all proud and rebel like to her mom and it’s basically the best coming out ever in the history of ever. And we’re all– but she’s not really coming out because she’s not totally out to herself yet, but she still came out to her mom and that is awesome so it still totally counts.
Also Shane (the male gay friend) makes fun of Glee. So that’s a win in my book.
In the interest of full disclosure– Three things I didn’t like:
- A super SUPER fucking ignorant ass comment that Amy makes about a deaf kid who transferred into their school the year previously and the whole school learned sign language “but then he got a coclear implant and now it’s like he was never there.” CUZ FOR REALZ THAT IS SUPER FUCKING IGNORANT MTV. They clearly don’t understand how coclear implants work and didn’t take the time to research anything about deaf culture before writing that line. I didn’t like it. I didn’t like it I DIDN’T LIKE IT. Cut that Shit Out MTV!
- Shane totally outs Karma and Amy and that is like something you should never do ever. You don’t know what people are going through or where they are and just announcing at a party that someone is queer is ABSOLUTELY NOT OKAY. I get that it had to go down that way as a plot point… but just so you know DON’T DO THAT
- Also aforementioned lack of diversity in the student body come on hello wtf?
That said. I’m looking forward to seeing where this all goes. I have high hopes.
I mean, the writers are all about satire and irony clearly since this happened:
Shane the gay bff: “This year in support of our queens, the homecoming theme is Homecoming Out, bring a same-sex date and you get in free. Everyone else, fifty bucks.”
Lauren the evil soon to be stepsister: “That’s so not fair, it’s like a heterosexual tax!”
Shane: *nods knowingly* “Feels icky, doesn’t it?”
I mean… come on. Who doesn’t love that shit?
I just hope we don’t have to wait too long before Amy starts announcing