Being a nerd can be fun most of the time. We play video games, watch anime, read comics, or whatever it is we’re passionate about. We stay on top of everything related to our passion and enjoy finding new content to dive into. As an LGBTQ black nerd, cis-het nerds can get so…fucking annoying.
If you’ve been on any post related to content with diverse casts but especially with characters having a sexuality that is not heterosexual, you’ll see a very specific word thrown around. Admittedly, this word is not strictly used in response to characters on the LGBTQ spectrum. They can be black, another person of color, or a story with a woman as the lead character. This word has grown on my last damn nerve but as June is Pride month, this is the perfect time to address ignorance against representation of LGBTQ characters. The word I’m referring to is pandering.
Pandering is defined as gratifying and indulging.
I have heard and read a lot of dumb shit spewing out of the mouths of nerds. Some of them you have to beg to brush their teeth, wear deodorant, and shower before leaving out for a convention but have the nerve to use their fingers to discriminate. Sure, what I’m speaking of are fiction based characters but the ignorance behind their responses are entirely based in their real-life, everyday homophobia.
There’s so much content with plots that are overused; characters that have no real depth; stories that are boring; women in supporting roles drowning in sex appeal but no real personality or character development and you hardly hear anything about that. Put a LGBTQ lead in a new story, have a character come out the closet, or even in the background and the fingers get to angry typing about pandering.
Perhaps if they used a different word, they wouldn’t look as dumb considering damn near everything is pandering. The women beside the stereotypical male lead that have no real purpose besides a illogical romance or an unnecessary sex scene panders to their toxic ideals about women. Hell, even the hyper-masculine male leads of said story lines panders to the typical heterosexual nerd.
The most blatant example of pandering to hetero nerds is the DBZ franchise. None of it makes sense, the characters are boring, idiots, or just can’t stay dead, and I don’t need to tell you all the ways Goku is terrible; Just watch TFS: DBZ Abridged. But the cis-het nerds eat that shit up each and every time a new season or a new movie is announced. It just won’t go away.
Representation really does matter. There’s never going to be enough movies with black, LGBTQ, women, or other people of color as leads when entertainment has been so white ever since it started in America. Thankfully though new content like Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, The Last of Us Part II, Pose, and creators like Issa Rae and Janelle Monae are changing the future of mainstream content. I find myself constantly wishing content like this was as easy to access or even existed when I was a child but my heart warms for the young black boys who get to see themselves in fiction without feeling alone like I did.
P.S. Don’t listen to the white nerds saying representation doesn’t matter because if it truly didn’t, they wouldn’t get so bothered when movies are announced with no white characters or the protagonist is a woman.