Editorial by vfullart
I was asked by a friend if I would rather have this website or the show. Here is my answer, I am afraid I got off on a rant.
I would rather have this site then the show. If this site was gone I would lose something a much more precious than a TV show. I would lose opportunity. This site draws such a wide array of people. The characters of the show will live on this website long after the show is gone. There has been many times where I have watched a show all the way through, many times I was left feeling unsatisfied with the ending. Here we can transcend that unhappiness because we know that our favorite authors will pull through for us. This site is so much bigger then the show. This site is a community. One which has given me the strength to put down the stories that race through my head, one which has given us a voice, this site has given us the strength to stand up. The site may have been inspired by the show but it has far surpassed the show in its power for good.
Why I got so upset at the story line that Bette and Tina seem to be taking in the next season is because I strongly believe that show is representing a minority group. As such it has certain responsibilities.
I watched the show after the first season was over, I got a late start. My first reaction was one of awe. I can't believe they just did that. I bought the season on DVD and waited (not so patiently) for the next season to start. I was so involved with the characters that I was yelling at my TV. "Don't do it Bette! You love Tina. Don't do it." Very rarely do I get so swept up in fictional characters.
Whenever I find something new and exciting I go into promotion mode. I tell everyone about it and I go on rants about why it is unique. I made my mother watch the show. After she was done, she thanked me. She said it was a rare insight; that opened her eyes. It showed her that lesbians are just like everyone else. Now to me that was a definite no brainier moment. Or course we are like everyone else. We have all the same problems as everyone else, all the same emotions, and all the same desires. We are flawed and human just like everyone else.
When I was discussing the first season with my mother she said to me, "Tina is going to get back to men." I of course scoffed at this. To me it was such a straight person’s view. Why would Tina go back to men? Yes, Bette had hurt her but she had known true happiness with a woman.
I must say that at one point in my life I was in the same boat as my mother. I thought that if something should happen between Heather and me that I would go back to men. I thought that maybe I wasn't gay but that I was just in love with a very special person, a kind of love that transcended gender. The longer I was with Heather the more I found myself questioning that. Why would I go back to men? My relationships with them never lasted very long and left me unsatisfied. There was one man that was perfect for me. We were everything a great couple should be and yet I found myself unhappy. I broke up with him because something was missing. What was that something? I have come to the conclusion that if he were a woman I would probably still be with him. So that makes me gay doesn’t it? To me love is love. I don’t care who you love, as long as your love doesn’t infringe on the rights of others I say go for it. So why label people?
I went off on a tangent there. What I getting at was… That if you are in a homosexual relationship for 8 years, you start to think of that as your identity. If you are Bette and Tina, Valerie and Heather, Matt and Matt for nearly a decade can you wake up one morning and long to be a John and Jane? Maybe in a rare exception but for most no. It wasn’t like Tina was claiming to be a bisexual. Tina was sure that she was going to be in a lesbian relationship the rest of her life. Bette cheating on her won’t change that thought process. Let us look at the “Facts” (I must in good conscience put it in quotes because she is a fictional character so by definition they are of course not facts).
Her next relationship was with a woman. Helena for all her faults was a very feminine woman. If Tina had gone to a butch character, her wanting to date a man would not be such a leap. We must make the assumption that Tina enjoys the female form. I, personally, can appreciate beauty in all its forms: male or female. However, that does not mean that I would sleep with a man. I can look but touch? No thank you. I would wager that many “gay ladies” feel the same.
The next point I would like to express is Tina went back to Bette. Why would Tina go back if she was unsure about their love? Tina was about to become a new mother. The mother bear instinct kicks in. Tina (in the first season at least) is a woman set in her ways. She is family orientated and high minded. As such she would not put her child in a situation that was going to cause stress. Being in a relationship that you aren’t sure you want to be in is very stressful. I mean come on, she didn’t drink caffeine. If you are willing to give up caffeine for nine months to protect your baby you are not going to reenter a loveless marriage.
Loveless? Was their relationship loveless? I don’t think so. If it was it would not have hurt so badly. The whole second season we watched with broken hearts as Tina and Bette struggled to live life without each other. I know why it had to be done. Tina needed to grow back into a person. She is not an extension of Bette, but a whole different human being. As she repeatedly told us, she needed her autonomy. She also needed to level the playing field a bit. As basic as this sounds, it would have never worked if Tina had not slept with Helena. Bette and Tina were now equal. Tina could now make the informed decision. Yes, Bette is the one for me. I have slept with another woman and now I can go back to Bette. It is funny that Tina could have slept with anyone to even the score but she chose a woman. Why is that? Oh right, I remember now because she is gay.
I believe that they producers or writers, let us call them the powers that be of the L-word universe, are making a mistake. There is no doubt in my mind that Bette is a main character. Is it because of Jennifer Beals? Is it because she was written as such? I don’t know I just know that she is. In my mind, she is the main character. Jenny was repeated shoved in our faces but the majority of us have rejected the notation that the show is about Jenny. Bette and Tina are the leaders of the group. Without them everything goes to hell (see example season 2). If you take that dynamic away what do you have? Well, no one knows because they have now stopped watching the show. You can not paint a couple as the focal point of the story and then just change your mind three years into it. I suppose you do if you want a mutiny.
I take it that the powers that be don’t pay any attention to fan fiction. If they did they would see that most of the stories revolve around Bette and Tina. There are some small groups of Dana/Lara, Dana/Alice, Carmen/Shane, Carmen/Jenny, and yes even a few Jenny/Marina fans. However, the majority of the people are die hard Bette and Tina fans. If the rumors are true, this season everything we know falls apart. Will the fans stand by and watch? I don’t think so.
Why are Bette and Tina so important to us? The first is obvious most of us must be romantics. The more pressing reason is that we want a real couple, a couple who has problems but struggles to work them out. The l-word gang is a dysfunctional lot. Many of us are in long term relationships. We go through our lives fighting an everyday struggle to keep our families safe and together. Just because our families are “nontraditional” doesn’t make them any less important.
Today is a day of a revolution. We are fighting for our rights as Americans. If the only show we have on TV depicts us as immoral and without family values, what does that do to our fight? Many say that giving us the right to marriage will be the end of family values. Isn’t that what the l-word would be saying if Bette and Tina don’t make it? I personally know many gay and lesbian couples that have been together for years, longer then the majority of the straight couples I know. The L-word is the only thing we have that is close to being main stream; the majority will take it at face value. If Tina goes back to men it will say, see all she really need was a big dick.
What the L-word does will set a precedent. I just ask that they take that in to consideration.
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