The remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show aired yesterday on Fox, and though I haven’t seen it yet, I wanted to share this piece from Bitch Media about the complicated relationship between the queer community–particularly bi+ and trans folks–with this film.
I kind of get it, I guess. It’s almost universally loved by counterculture teens who are either out or still finding themselves, probably for the same reasons my high school peers loved it: While all their parents and teachers told them sex was bad and dangerous, here was The Rocky Horror Picture Show, throwing sexuality at them in a way that encouraged its expression. The pervading positive experience seems to revolve around the embrace of hypersexuality and flashy, outrageous gender presentation….
If it remains entirely faithful to the original, it’ll just serve to contribute once more to the dangerous narrative that bisexual folks are predatory and creepy and that they just want to get in everyone’s pants.
Like the author, the biggest fans I knew of this film were either monosexual cis people with deeply problematic ideas about gender and sexuality (and consent), or queer folks who loved the film for creating a space for exploring gender and sexuality.
Both of these things can be true at once.
The remake, however, has to do better by our communities to be viable. I hope Laverne Cox can time warp this film out of rape culture and hopelessly outdated ideas about trans identities, but I guess I’ll have to tune in to find out. Also, as a commenter on Facebook pointed out, how ironic that Fox is producing this to cash in on the rainbow dollar when the news portion of the network does nothing but fuel transphobic and queerphobic hate?
Regardless of how the show pans out, this is a reminder to everyone that putting a rainbow and a “love is love” or “make America gay again” slogan on an item doesn’t make you a feminist or an LGBTQ ally if you aren’t committed to creating real change at every level and to addressing the systematic issues that affect the most marginalized intersections of our community.