WARNING: This blog post contains SPOILERS for the 2017 movie Power Rangers. For a non-spoily review, check our my colleague, Kyle’s excellent review here!
Recently, there’s been some backlash from the LGBTQ community because a few sources like Hollywood Reporter and ABC News claimed that one scene in the new Power Rangers movie “breaks down barriers” when it comes to LGBTQ characters.
You can catch up on these stories here:
And on some of the Twitter backlash here
First, let’s consider the scene:
Unable to morph into their armor, the Rangers hit upon the idea that they should “share their stories” so they can get to know one another and function better as a team. Seems legit. Each, except Kimberly, tells a sympathetic and realistic story about their struggles.
When Zack assumes that Trini must be having “boyfriend troubles,” Trini looks uncomfortable. “Girlfriend troubles?” Zack presses, and Trini noncommittally shrugs.
Okay. Yeah… Umm… It’s no wonder the LGBTQ community exploded in outrage over the claims that the entire movie is “breaking down barriers” or “pivotal” when 1. The moment is one part of one scene and 2. It’s pretty noncommittal.
But here’s the thing.
I agree that it’s naïve at best to think that one scene in ANY movie could ever break down all the barriers LGBTQ community faces, and I’m not here to say that the LGBTQ community shouldn’t be outraged over such a wild claim. We should.
But I want to step away from that for a second because all that outrage clouds what that scene actually DOES do—and that’s to normalize a young woman’s struggle and journey to find her sexuality.
Because when Trini tacitly admits to liking girls, the other Rangers don’t freak. They don’t look at Trini sideways. No one bats an eyelash, except Zack, whose eyelash batting is more in the camp of wow, that sounds really hard than OMG, you’re gaaaaaay? You don’t LOOK gay! Even the other female characters don’t freak out. There’s no ridiculousness about the gay agenda, Big Gay, or the fear of being magically transformed into a lesbian.
And that is so utterly refreshing.
Instead, the other teens see Trini’s struggle as totally normal. Not freakish. Not an abomination or against the will of [insert name of Cosmic Nice Guy here].
So while the scene is in no way “groundbreaking” or “barrier-breaking,” it has merit for an entirely different reason.
It treats finding one’s sexual identity as a natural, albeit difficult but totally normal part of life—no more or less earth-shattering than the fact that Zack struggling to take care of his sick mom or Jason struggling to fix his relationship with his dad.
To me, that’s telling that maybe one day, being gay or lesbian or bi won’t have to be such a huge deal. And to me, that’s a big part of what the LGBTQ community is really seeking—acceptance for who we are.
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