Are Audiences Not Favoring The Queerness Of Batwoman Or Is Social Justice To Blame?
During office hours I’m bombarded with a handful of emails containing key words that I’ve added to my Google Alerts. Many of those, aside from my own personal curiosity, tend to be terms which revolve around the LGBTQ community for inclusive purposes to this magazine and general conversation. Often, I will randomly get notifications from severe right-wing websites like Breitbart who occasionally mention topics related to our community. I’m not one to publicly shame anyone for their opinion or political view, but a recent article from The New American about CW’s queer-leading series, Batwoman, at first had me in stitches until I began to dig.
According to The New American contributor, Selwyn Duke, young adults are tired of, and I quote, “in-your-face-LGBTQ activism.” Duke even goes so far to say that LGBTQ now may mean “Leading Girls and Boys To Question.” While I encourage everyone to read and listen to views that are different from their own, this scornful contributor comes for our community at every pull and turn. Duke is vehemently against the law-of-the-land (gay marriage) and acceptance. Arguing with this person is a lost cause, but Duke potentially brings up one point that I dared to look into. Upon further investigation, I couldn’t help but cringe: Could Duke be correct in one instance?
For one reason or another, Duke is completely offended by the new Batwoman series. The show follows lesbian Kate Kane, played by model turned Orange is the New Black actress, Ruby Rose, as she dons her bat suit and fights crime. I peeped at the pilot episode and the series is completely queer. How queer you ask? Rachel Maddow is a recurring media personality (and longtime Batwoman fan), not much of a stretch from her regular life role. The show is heavy with female and queer representation, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Controversy could be stirred that only heterosexual, white men, and police are the villains and everyone who would be lumped into the category of “diverse” for whatever reason is morally obligated to come out on top.
After the pilot episode, I was left rather uninterested because of the extreme social justice storylines that seem to be the focus of the series. Social media is a pit of social justice warriors and their oppressors and everyone in between, so when I choose to be entertained, I’d much prefer not to have to think or feel bad about any time I may have wronged someone for thinking or believing differently. Coming from the minds of the directors of incomparable television shows like Game of Thrones and True Blood, and a writer of the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984, I’m left a little dumbfounded at the quality of Batwoman. It turns out the aforementioned contributor Duke and I aren’t the only ones.
Batwoman is getting absolutely flamed with reviews online. Entertainment website IMDb have the series rated as a 3.2 out of 10 and Rotten Tomatoes’ audience score is a miserable 12% out of 100%. The reviews criticize the social justice storylines. They read:
“There was a point in time where i was optimistic about this show to the point where I would’ve defended it. After taking a look at this disaster of a show, i can say is that time is long gone. All i can say is if you’re going to use batman’s assets and take his name, try not to slander his name, eh? They portrayed batman doing so much things that has never been associated with the character. Apparently, in order to portray a woman as strong, the men need to be weak as hell.”
“The signs were all there in the trailers…Strong, independent, gay female supposedly replaces Batman and takes on whatever silly thing is managing to bother the progressive crowds these days… The acting is bad, the script is mediocre and a multitude of stereotypes are forced down our throat with a shovel…”
Social justice warriors and keyboard warriors are virtually all in agreement. I believe in inclusiveness, of course, but something tells me that if an audience is actively reaching out to tell you they don’t like certain storylines shoved down their throats – perhaps you should listen. As an LGBTQ community, we’ve been long awaiting a bad ass superhero to fight crime and the like, but does it have to come with the fight for inclusion and social justice on every single page of the script?
To note, Duke refers to Batwoman as a failing show, but the series has been picked up from its first few episodes and will be completed as a full twenty-two episode season. Controversial due to being severely politically correct… definitely, but failing? Not so much.
Do you think social justice storylines are tired… or do you want to see more of them?
Writer’s Note: This is the opinion of one Instinct Magazine contributor and does not reflect the views of Instinct Magazine itself or fellow contributors.
H/T: The New American