Oct 27, 2013

[Technicolor Musings] They Don't Have To Be Your Tomboy


This month popular noontime show Showtime launched their That's My Tomboy segment - which is essentially a lesbian pageant of sorts specifically geared towards very masculine lesbians. Many of the contestants are truly lookers in the handsome sense and the segment has become quite popular.

As with most local television, I don't exactly follow the show, but it is hard to ignore given how much social media buzz has been generated related to the show. Sure you have the enthusiasts and detractors alike talking about the production and all buzz is good for the show, of course.

But sort of related to my recent post about how advocates tend to fall into nitpicking, I feel that there has been a lot of criticism directed at the show that's probably not warranted. And here's why...


The Contestants Identify With The Image - as with any production that merely approaches any aspect of the LGBT community, there have been a number of social media comments saying that the "tomboy" image is an inaccurate one that does not represent the whole lesbian community. That may be true, but the show isn't called "That's My Lesbian" - it specifically mentioned tomboys. And however that was defined in the casting notes, people stepped forward voluntarily and said "that's me!" and thus accepted the use of the term here. No one is being abused or swindled somehow. These folks are happy to be on the show and seriously want to win.

No TV Show Captures Everything - Similar to my views on My Husband's Lover, this show did not set out to represent the full spectrum of the LGBT community or even just the lesbian community. So people should give it a rest and stop trying to put the weight of the entire LGBT struggle onto a single show. Plus it's a noontime show - who the heck expects a noontime show to become a vehicle for major change in society or something? Noontime programming is all about entertaining as many people as possible and thus addressing the lowest common denominator in terms of potential viewers. Thus focusing on what could be argued to be a niche stereotype of the lesbian community in order to use an image that is more easily understood and accepted by more viewers is par for the course. And it's not like similar noontime contests like Little Miss Philippines, Mr. Pogi or whatever claim to represent the full spectrum of heterosexuals either. Television uses stereotypes to their advantage, especially shows of this nature.

Can't We Just Be Happy The Segment Exists? - The segment is landmark in the fact that they've brought noontime audiences to see these tomboys and accept them as normal members of society. During the little interviews they do get to learn more about them and about some aspects of their LGBT lives, including whether or not they still want children and such. In those aspects alone, the show is doing way more for LGBT awareness than any serious documentary or indie film. They're bringing the LGBT discussion to the lunch table - a period of time that is highly family-focused given expected audiences. And that is just brilliant that that the segment is so popular especially given the inherently LGBT tone to the story.

You Are Not Any TV Show - Why do so many critics look at any LGBT character on television and immediately try to find holes in the characterization or reasons to state that the character is flawed and thus does not represent them. Does every telenovela character depict actual people in this world? Should they have to? And that's just fiction mind you - this show is about real people and their lives and we're still finding fault in how they do not represent the full spectrum or something. It's not about you people. It's not about you.


So please, lets just sit back, relax and enjoy the show. If you want to root for someone, then go ahead! If you don't like the show, then don't watch. You can always pirate episodes of The L-Word off the internet or something. Oh wait, you don't like that show since it does not accurate represent the Filipino LGBT struggle? Then go make your own or something  since no show will ever make you content.

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