Happy October! Here’s some interesting and/or unusual Lost Girl-related news for you all. On October 30, three of us who are associated and/or friendly with UNALIGNED are going to present a panel about Lost Girl at the 2014 Film and History Conference in Madison, Wisconsin. How did this happen? We’re still not sure, but Doccuficient is somehow responsible.
Our panel is in the LGBT track, Queer Film and Television I, and is titled:
“Low Budget, High Aspirations: Lost Girl and the Paradoxes of Representation in a ‘Post-Queer’ Universe.”
Here’s who is presenting, with a brief bio of each of us as well as the abstracts that we submitted for our papers:
Sally Green Heaven, Independent Scholar. That’s me! I’m one of the four collaborative bloggers here at UNALIGNED and a fan of Lost Girl (obv). I called myself an Independent Scholar for a couple of reasons – I’m not affiliated with a university, and at the time didn’t think that UNALIGNED would count as an institution. But if I had a time machine, I would call myself “Sally Green Heaven – Blogger and Fangirl.”
Lisa Yimm, aka mangababe is an independent media professional based in Portland, OR. She has a BFA in Photography, two decades of experience in radio and broadcast audio production, and currently freelances as an independent visual effects/post-production artist and photographer. Her media commentary has appeared on AfterEllen.com, fandom-specific websites, and she has been active in online communities since 1998. A member of the electronic babysitter generation, her tastes in TV are rather eclectic…her favorites include science fiction, fantasy, and period costume dramas, with a particular affinity for shows with strong female characters.
Laura LaVertu, Independent Scholar. For reasons passing understanding, she was asked to write a paper for this conference. As a consequence, she spends the days stressing out on Twitter, and actively trying to sabotage the work by thinking of all the ways her arguments make no sense. Feel free to join in!
Here are our abstracts:
Sally Green Heaven
Lost Girl, a Canadian supernatural series, is a bellwether for LGBT representation of same-sex relationships on television. This show has changed the landscape of what representation of a same-sex relationship on television can and should look like. Lost Girl has not only set the bar higher than any other show to date, but has moved the bar to an entirely different level. Shows like Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, Grey’s Anatomy and Glee all presented same-sex relationships in the context of coming-out storylines. The primary same-sex relationship on Lost Girl – between the protagonist Bo and a main character Lauren – can arguably be understood as a television ‘game changer’ for a number of reasons. There is no angstful coming-out storyline; the other characters do not find the relationship noteworthy due to its same-sex nature; it is not presented as unusual or unequal to other opposite-sex relationships; and there is evidence that Bo’s relationship with Lauren will achieve primacy over Bo’s other relationships. I will further argue that all future television shows that follow that portray a same-sex relationship will have to measure up to the standard set by Lost Girl.
Right on the Target, Wide of the Mark:” Sexuality and Ethics in the World of Lost Girl
Genre television has always been ahead of the curve, in its representations of sex, gender, and relationships, because the fantastic worlds created provide a measure of safety in which to explore these areas. The Canadian supernatural drama Lost Girl has broken new ground in the representation of LGBT characters on prime time television. The show revolves around an openly bisexual lead character, who by her very nature as a Succubus, can also be assumed to be non-monogamous. Lost Girl is noteworthy for its inclusion of alternate sexualities and relationships without regard to labels. It is the first show to prominently feature a primary relationship between two women. It is precisely because the show is free of judgment and stigma, unafraid to “color outside the lines” that it has gained such a large and loyal fan-base. However, in its desire to push boundaries and explore uncharted territory, the show has glossed over some of the important ethical considerations that accompany issues of label-less sexuality, gender-fluidity and non-monogamy. This paper will explore some of the ways in which the show continues to exceed expectations as well as where I believe it can do better.
Sexual Power on Lost Girl: Gateway To A Golden Age?
The supernatural Canadian series Lost Girl stages an explicitly bisexual woman as its lead, as well as several LGBTQ characters in its main and recurring casts. It effectively couples its lead character with her sexuality in a heroic light. The result is a landmark in sexual representation on screen. The show has an aggressive policy of refusing to dramatize the gender or sexual orientation of its characters. Varied iterations on sexual partners are presented with equal fervor; and while orientation can be inferred, there is a general “no labels” policy regarding it. The show’s willingness to be both controversial and edgy in onscreen presentation, has had negative and positive consequences. While it may not address bias, Lost Girl still reflects it in certain aspects. LGBTQ sexuality is handled as normal and positive. But the flip side is a lack of realism, and a negative reinforcement of some stereotypes: sexual fluidity in women vs. men, promiscuity among LGBTQ characters, and less diversity in masculine sexuality among a more female centered cast. Nonetheless, the show remains unique in its approach. Until other shows routinely handle sexuality and characters in similar ways, we have yet to enter a Golden Age in queer film and television.