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Tuesday, 2 October 2012

GBLT characters in The Parasol Protectorate Series

One of the saddest things we can come across with any media is something we love - but has a massive problematic issue in the middle of it that slowly poisons it for us. The Parasol Protectorate is a series of books we love and adore for so many reasons. We love Lady Alexia Macon, she’s funny and powerful, we love her relationship, the setting and the plot. Who wouldn't want to read more about Ivy's antics? This could be one of those series that racks up nothing but 5 fang reviews all through - but there was a problem that started in the first book and just grew with each extra novel to intolerable degrees.

Lord Akeldama. And, from that, all of the gay characters in this series.

From the onset of this story, Madame Lefoux wears masculine clothing. She is strong, and highly intelligent.  In and of itself, this character isn’t problematic, until one realises that she is juxtaposed to Lord Akeldama.  The fact that she is so masculine, underscores Akeldama’s femininity and that makes them both read as highly stereotypical.  Again, there are certainly lesbians who are exactly like Madame Lefoux but this is predominantly the image of lesbians in media, unless they are being used as sexual eye candy.

In the first book, Soulless,  Lord Akeldama starts off as very stereotypical gay male. He is extremely effeminate and while there are gay men who are like this, the problem with this type of representation, is that it has come to define gay male sexuality in the media.  To make matters worse, though he is resourceful, he functions as nothing more than the typical gay best friend to Alexia.  Akeldama put the dandies to work for Alexia as well and though we are told they are capable and devious, they, like their leader, are also effeminate.  Biffy for instance, is more than familiar with women’s toilette and is up to date on the latest hairstyles and fashions. All of this is bad enough, but the fact that Carriger then had the dandies working as wedding planners moves their representation from stereotypical, to downright mockery. 


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