Saturday, March 03, 2012

Diversity and Faux Diversity (part 2)

If Sadie J was ever supposed to promote inclusiveness, it fails. You'd think anti-gay censorship laws in Russia also apply to BBC children's TV.

Right from the start of the first series of Sadie J - the first episode was called Crushamondo - there was plenty of traditional romance and affections, but any lesbian or gay characters have remained firmly in the closet.

We know that Kit is "fabulicious and proud," and although we're never told whether he's romantically attracted to girls or boys, or possibly to both, he is perceived by some as gay. But do we ever hear him say explicitly that such and such is a hottie? On the other hand his cousin Iolo, who we meet in series 2, episode 3, tells Kit he thinks Sadie is hot - and thereby affirms heterosexuality in the minds of all viewers.

Kit tells Sadie he's ashamed of himself. And the episode is carefully crafted so that both Kit and his friends avoid the substantive issue:-

Kit: ... I've never been able to be myself round him. He likes all the things I don't. He's big and macho, sporty, and I'm well ..

Sadie: .. Not. So what - you're fashiontastic and fabulicious instead.

Dede: Yeah. Does Iolo even know what you can do with sequins and a peacock feather?

Kit: As if! He'd hate the real me. (quietly) He doesn't even know I like Gaga.

Towards the end of the episode Kit finally plucks up the courage to proudly proclaim in front of his cousin: I love Gaga.

If we do eventually find out for sure that Kit is gay - impossible to imagine under the present de facto censorship policy - the BBC would then be affirming a stereotype. Far, far better for kids' TV to challenge stereotypes. For example, why couldn't Welsh rugby-player Iolo have revealed that he has a boyfriend? Has the writer even heard of Gareth Thomas?

It would be good to see the present faux diversity replaced with genuine diversity, but I'm not holding my breath.

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