I have been a fan of “Xena: Warrior Princess” since the beginning. I watched the character emerge as a spin-off of “Hercules”, and the show is currently one of my favorites. I like the humor, the way the show uses mythological themes to address current social situations and the characters themselves. I’d be lying if I said that the fact that the female roles on this show are predominantly strong and independent isn’t one of the reasons why I love it so much. It’s the main reason. I’m sick of watching shows where the weak-willed woman has to be rescued by the always-right male lead. And I’m sick of watching shows where women are only the girlfriend, the wife, the mother or the in-between character who really doesn’t have a personality at all. I’m sick of watching shows where women are only a pale and very distant image of what real women are like. And so I watch Xena.
One of the first things that I liked about this show was the intense friendship between Xena and Gabrielle. It was so refreshing to see a true female friendship on television that I was actually shocked by it. I mean, name the amount of shows out there where the amigas back each other up always, without letting their supposed female emotions and television’s image of women get in the way of the friendship. If there is one, let me know. I’d love to check it out.
I am aware of the subtext of the show. For those of you out there who don’t know what that means, it means the ambiguousness of the sexual and/or romantic relationship between Xena and Gabrielle. I’ve seen it for a while. I think it’s cool that the show is venturing to portray things that way. It doesn’t change my view of the show and it doesn’t change my comfort with the scenes. My sister, on the other hand, cannot say the same thing. When I dared to enlighten her to the opinion of many viewers that Xena and Gabrielle were romantically linked, she was outraged. When I told her that the writers of the show purposely write scenes with their audience in mind, she was appalled. According to her, people just want to see what they want to see even if it has no basis. And she hasn’t watched the show again.
I think it’s amusing to note her reaction. She thinks of herself as an open-minded, tolerant person. And here she is, refusing to even acknowledge that a show she was watching may have had some lesbian characters in it. And the worst part is that she’ll deny it to her dying day. Why hasn’t she watched the show? She’s been busy and it’s not really that good anyway. I’ll try to do my part and enlighten her, but it makes me sad to think that she’s just one of many out there, with prejudices and insecurities that come out in negative behavior and still unable to even admit why they’re behaving the way they are.