Welcome to Queer Fudanshi! Let’s talk. Today, we’re going to talk about BL tropes. Specifically for this post, we’ll be talking about the LGBT Fans Deserve Better campaign and the Bury Your Gays Trope.
New to Random Talk? Every Monday I pick a random topic to share and talk to you guys about. In addition, each topic can have a varying category.
There are Ramble times where I discuss topics in a more casual fashion such as Why #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyFriend is Plausible, but not Possible, or How Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (AKA The Scorbus Play) Failed the LGBT Community. BL Tropes where are I share my thoughts on BL and Yaoi clichés like the “No Means Yes Seme.” Then, there are Character Studies such as the ones I did for The Mindy Project and Ugly Betty where I discuss Queer characters from media. Are they great representation? Are they not? And why.
So Let’s Get Talking.
Since last week’s Random Talk was about the BL Trope of “The Sudden Death Ending,” I decided to spend this week talking about similar tropes found in Western LGBT media.
This blog post and video is all about the Bury Your Gays/Dead Lesbian tropes. Also, I spent a good while in the video talking about how it affects fans of LGBT media. Specifically, I decided to talk about the lesbian couple in the 100 that lead to the LGBT Fans Deserve Better campaign (and partially the creation of Queer Fudanshi too!).
While in the video I discuss all that, here in the blog post I’d like to talk about the tropes a little more in detail.
(WARNING: Below I’ll be talking Spoilers about Buffy The Vampire Slayer).
Like, even the pictures are spoilers….
Keep in mind that, like with all tropes, descriptions for The Bury Your Gays Trope and the Dead Lesbian Trope can vary depending on whom you’re talking to about them. In fact, these can even be considered the same thing but just with different names.
Essentially, you can make a claim saying one of these tropes is in a medium (tv show, movie, comic, etc), if the story contains an LGBTQ character who ends with up a substantial unhappy ending or dies. In addition to that, plenty of these characters often die after having sex and/or were the character who initiated the same-sex relationship.
Adding to that, the Dead Lesbian trope focuses specifically on the death of lesbian characters (who seem to have a heightened chance of dying). In fact, since March of last year, Autostraddle has been counting all of the lesbian and bisexual female characters who have been killed in American television. The number is currently at 175 and counting.
As an example, I’ll talk about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy was a cult-classic tv show that ran in the 1990s and early 2000s. It was about a teenager who fought vampires and monsters of the occult. She also had a group of quirky friends who helped her get the job done.
One such friend was Willow who was a character that blossomed from a wallflower into a kickass witch. In addition, Willow had a storyline of exploring her own sexuality and falling in love with a classmate (and fellow witch) named Tara. The two were a wonderful couple who realistically had problems but genuinely loved each other.
And then Tara died…. from a stray bullet to the heart… that was shot from outside… on a different floor… right after the two had sex….
Ultimately, this happened so that Willow would go crazy with grief and become the big villain of the season. So, it was again a Fridging incident. (I’ve already talked about friding twice on QF. Once on last week’s video and once on the Grey Rainbow Episode 4 blog post. It’s essentially when someone close to the main character, often a romantic interest, is killed off to create a strong emotional and dramatic response from the character. Think Spider-man and Gwen Stacy for example.)
Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy, has even gone on to say that even if Willow hadn’t been with Tara and was instead dating her ex-boyfriend, that ex-boyfriend would have died. That means no matter what, Tara’s death wasn’t about Tara, but was about Willow’s response to it.
So while they may not have intended to add to the Bury Your Gays and Dead Lesbian Tropes, Joss Whedon and crew ultimately did (and the Fridging Trope too).
As I say in the Youtube video above, this post is about explaining what these tropes are. Maybe I’ll go into a follow up post as to why most of these tropes happen and what a possible resolution could be. In the meantime, I’d love to talk to you all about your thoughts on the tropes.
What are some media (movies, tv shows, whatever you want to talk about) that have the Bury Your Gays trope or the Dead Lesbian trope? What do you think we can do to help fix this problem? Make sure to let me know down in the comments below and let’s get talking.