Netflix and its problem with lesbian representation

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Netflix keeps canceling shows with lesbian leads, and it’s a problem. More recently, the platform canceled First murder, a Romeo and Juliet-style love story between Calliope Burns, a vampire hunter, and Juliette Fairmont, a vampire, after only one season. The show was well received by audiences, despite critics giving it harsh reviews. This sparked outrage on social media, with many people acknowledging that this is not the first time Netflix has made decisions like this.

In recent years, Netflix has canceled teenage bounty hunter, Everything sucks! I’m not okay with this, One day at a time and many more, all of which are shows starring lesbian characters. This extensive list suggests a trend where Netflix is ​​more likely to cancel a show early on if it has a lesbian lead(s), as the main common point between all the shows listed above is precisely it’s.

By repeatedly canceling shows that provide much-needed representation, Netflix is ​​contributing to a larger problem in media. Representation in the media is very important for minority groups. Research has shown that positive portrayal can improve someone’s self-esteem, confidence, and self-acceptance. By repeatedly canceling shows that provide this, Netflix is ​​establishing the narrative that they don’t care about lesbians.

As someone who grew up in the media age, I have felt the impact of representation firsthand. When I think back to my early teen years, I remember the lesbian characters I grew up with. HappinessSantana Lopez’s easily had the most profound impact on me. Despite having many problems of his own, Happiness it was paramount for lesbians my age to help us come to accept and love ourselves for who we are. Most importantly, he was able to create an ending on his own terms. I was able to see Santana’s story through to the end as the writers had intended, with (spoiler alert!) Santana marrying his longtime girlfriend, Brittany.

When I think about the younger generation of lesbians coming into their own and their identities now, I can only hope that they are lucky enough to have new characters like Santana to help them feel accepted like I do. However, with platforms like Netflix constantly raising the hopes of lesbians by featuring shows like First murder, only to cancel them after a very small number of seasons, many young people may feel that they are not worth being seen in the media, causing them problems in the real world. Netflix needs to address this issue and work to be better.

Looking at other networks, there are some shows with lesbian representation that haven’t been canceled and could use whatever viewership they can get to secure a renewal. The sex life of college girls on HBO Max is about to release the second season and your own league on Prime Video just released the first season and is waiting for a renewal. By showing interest in these shows, audiences can help prevent scenarios like the one happening on Netflix right now.

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