Jenna Lawrence | Opinion Editor
Lesbians, bisexual women, and non-labeled sapphics are most certainly aware of the issue that plagues an absurd amount of television shows that represent women-loving-women (‘wlw’) relationships.
In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, there is an issue that happens much too frequently for it to be a coincidence regarding these kinds of television shows. After the first season of many wlw shows, the chances of them being canceled are extremely high. There are so many examples of this phenomenon, such as First Kill on Netflix, Grease: Rise of The Pink Ladies previously on Paramount+, I Am Not Okay With This on Netflix, Everything Sucks on Netflix, A League of Their Own on Prime Video, etc.
All of those TV shows listed revolve around lesbians and bisexual women and their relationships and discoveries of their sexualities. These shows being continuously canceled has major effects on viewers who may relate to the depiction of the struggles and events the characters in them go through. Canceling these shows creates a precedent that queer women’s stories are less entertaining, interesting, and important than others. Additionally, it is simply disappointing and frustrating to not have a sustained viewable form of media that you feel represented by.
So, why do platforms like, Netflix and Paramount+, continue to cancel these shows, even going so far as to take them entirely off the streaming channel (which was the case with Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies)? Taking these shows off their streaming sites is often blamed on them not being streamed enough. In Pink Ladies’ case, the reason why it was taken off Paramount+ was said to be because it did not stream well enough and they needed to make room on the platform for their merge with Showtime.
So is the problem really with people streaming? If that was the case, why aren’t they trying harder to promote these shows? Don’t they want shows on their platforms to do well? Wouldn’t they want long-term projects? There is clearly a lack of caring for these kinds of shows, as gay/mlm (man-loving-man) TV shows are not nearly canceled as often and are frequently shown more appreciation and promotion than wlw ones.
There needs to be a wlw show that is promoted like Heartstopper or movies like Red, White, and Royal Blue that aren’t sexualized. Many wlw shows that gain renewal are extremely sexualized, such as The L-word and Orange Is the New Black, which were two long-running TV shows.
Shows that portray queer women must be shown more attention and regard. High-quality, realistic representation is significant for any group of people and there isn’t enough for queer women.