For these United States Senators, LGBTQ+ cartoon characters in shows like She-Ra and The Loud House are a threat to the American youth and there should be a warning for said content, so parents can monitor what their children watch. This is just another example of white, cis straight conservative men who see any type of diversity in gender expression or sexuality as something inherently dangerous to younger audiences.
The five U.S. Senators who issued an open letter to the TV Parental Guidelines Advisory Board were Roger Marshall (Kansas), Mike Lee (Utah), Mike Braun (Indiana), Steve Daines (Montana), and Kevin Cramer (North Dakota). They claimed the TV ratings need an update, to warn parents about content in shows like Netflix Original She-Ra and the Princesses of Power and Nickelodeon’s Loud House.
Part of the letter states:
In recent years, concerning topics of a sexual nature have become aggressively politicized and promoted in children’s programming, including irreversible and harmful experimental treatments for mental disorders like gender dysphoria.
Most of these shows have subtextual or mild diversity representation, since corporations like Netflix, Disney, and Cartoon Network still place restrictions on creators who want to have diverse characters in their shows. A few examples include the sudden reduction of seasons of Dana Terrace’s The Owl House, the first Disney television series with a canon lesbian relationship, and Cartoon Network canceling and censoring Rebecca Sugar’s Steven Universe after having an episode with a lesbian wedding scene.
These senators feed on the idea that placing cartoon characters as anything other than straight is inherently sexual and predatory towards children. If a princess is kidnapped by a beast who then falls in love with him and marries him (Beauty and the Beast), or a 16-year-old leaves her home (and voice) for a man who she saw once (The Little Mermaid), or if there is a kiss between a man and a woman, it is completely fine. But if two women kiss at the finale of a series or a character identifies as gender-fluid (She-Ra) it is too sexual and has no place in children’s shows.
Another part of the letter states:
To the detriment of children, gender dysphoria has become sensationalized in the popular media and television with radical activists and entertainment companies. This radical and sexual sensation not only harms children, but also destabilizes and damages parental rights.
These claims aren’t new, but continue to be as harmful. Florida governor Ron DeSantis has had a recent vendetta against Disney for opening up to more diverse stories. Both have mentioned Disney’s corporate president for adding “too much” LGBTQ+ characters. This can also be a continuation of the noise made around the Don’t Say Gay Bill.
TV series becoming more diverse don’t threaten children, on the contrary, they show them that people are different and that it is okay, it also helps LGBTQ+ youth feel understood and comprehended. Censoring realities isn’t protecting children, and the conservative rhetoric that states that anything LGBTQ+ is sexual and only for adults causes harm for young audiences and aspiring creators.