Queer Eye is an unapologetic celebration of what it is to be gay. Some 94 million people can tune into Netflix. That gives Queer Eye a huge amount of power. The power to influence how gay people are perceived, to challenge prejudice, and to change attitudes.
This means that Queer Eye is more than just light entertainment; it means that it’s political. Some responsibility, then...But Queer Eye and Netflix take this responsibility seriously. The series consistently presents positive and flattering images of gay people. It shows us in our many different lights. Queer Eye breaks down stereotypes.
Moreover, Queer Eye gives young gay men something to aspire to, the hope of building a happy and fulfilling life. At a time when LGBTQ youth are almost three times more likely to consider taking their lives than young heterosexual people, this is hugely important.
The Fab 5 from Netflix Original 'Queer Eye' talk about season 3.
Queer Eye advocates so much more than just living in a gay bubble. It’s about the relationships we have with ourselves - but more importantly the relationships we have with another. And those relationships, of course, only improve the relationships we have with ourselves. No one is meant to be alone.
The contestants are gay men, straight men and women, and everything in between. It breaks down labels and shows us how to relate to one another based on our common humanity.
Then there’s the way that Queer Eye deconstructs masculinity. But more than this the show defies our expectations. It proves, time and time again, that straight men are not the terrifying bigots that some of us have been programmed to think they are. Queer Eye teaches us to open up and to trust one another. Through blistering wit and humour, it shows us how to communicate with compassion.
Many spectrums of gay experience are represented on Queer Eye - not just the white, middle-class experience so often seen on mainstream TV. Two of the Fab Five are men of colour. Karamo Brown doesn’t shy away from looking at the unique challenges of being a black gay man. Similarly, Tan France can speak of the experiences of gay Pakistanis.
Queer Eye is more than fluffy fun. The Netflix show has tackled hot issues, such as Black Lives Matter, head on, and has featured fascinating conversations with men from a whole range of cultural religious and socio-economic backgrounds.
We all know that gay male culture can be body obsessed. Open any gay mag, gaze at all those perfect, gleaming torsos, and some away feeling utterly deficient.
Queer Eye is like a breath of fresh air. It tells us that we should embrace the body we have - and shows us how to do so. How we can make the most of our assets, have pride, and stop hating ourselves.
Yaaaaas! Jonathan Van Ness. By Cntrl+Alt+Delete. 17 Favourite Things. CC BY 3.0 Commons Wikimedia
While each and every one of the Fab Five is unique and captivating, perhaps no one rivals Queer Eye’s resident hair expert Jonathan Van Ness. Flamboyant and unapologetically feminine, JVN seamlessly shows us what all those tedious gays who demand ‘straight acting men’ are missing out on. There’s nothing average or boring about Mr Van Ness. He is charisma itself.
Narrating the shenanigans at breakneck speed, he’s introduced us to Queer Eye’s most memorable lines. His best moments? There have been so many. But surely picking up that pack of Magnum condoms in episode four of season two and quipping “Yas Queen!” is right up there. Comedy gold in extremis.
Toxic masculinity is all about hiding your feelings. Queer Eye is the antithesis of this. No emotion - whether that be sadness, vulnerability or joy - is off limits. The larger and more out there the better. Queer Eye wants us to feel intensely - because that’s how we connect to one another.
But beneath all the glitz, campery and designer delights, Netflix original Queer Eye is about being kind - to yourself and to each other. It’s about being authentic and banishing judgment to that closet of grungy old Y fronts and cardies. Queer Eye is about being the best that you can be - and the best that you can be to those around you. And what’s not to celebrate about that?
Queer Eye has begun production in Kansas City, Missouri, and is due to be released on Netflix in 2019.
Tell us your reasons for loving the Netflix show Queer Eye in the comments below.
Cover photo: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com
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