Hold on to your hats and glasses, folks; this week’s query is bound to be a wild one.
Dear Ask Mormon Girl:
A lot of my gay and lesbian friends seem to love show Big Love. Why?
First, JKL, a true confession: I don’t watch Big Love. I know Mormons who do watch it. I know Mormons who love it. And I know Mormons who hate it, especially since the show televised to the whole stinking world portions of sacred temple ceremonies reserved only for the most dedicated members of the faith. Yup, that really bothered me too.
But my distaste for the show didn’t start there. It started much earlier, as in the first time I tuned in and beheld how the plot line in those early seasons revolved around poor Bill Paxton and all the stress he felt from taking care of all those wives and children. How was poor polygamous and hyperpatriarchal Dad to achieve any kind of work-life balance? Boo-flippin’-hoo!
Some may ask: “Oh, Mormon Girl, why must you be so cranky about polygamy?” To which I’ll reply that A) I just finished reading a slew of “I escaped from Warren Jeffs” memoirs and B) on the rare nights I do get to chill out in front of the television, I prefer shows that don’t send my mind hurtling back to the days when I used to debate myself over whether or not I’d share my husband for the eternities if it meant helping a righteous sister-Mormon get into heaven. That just doesn’t feel like diversion to me.
Phew. I feel better. Thanks for listening, JKL. Oh, and now to your actual question, which I must hazard with some diffidence, since I am neither gay nor a watcher of Big Love. And not yet having conducted a field poll of a representative sampling of gays and lesbian Big Love fans to provide a data-based answer, I will offer only my personal and totally unverified suspicions on why Big Love might be queer-attractive.
Theory one: Maybe queer folks love Big Love because according to the definition of queer developed by self-identified queer folks over the last decade polygamy is totally queer: it does not conform to state-sanctioned monogamous companionate heteronormativity. Yup, it might make Warren Jeffs or Merrill Jessop’s heads explode to think it, but according to some definitions of the term, some folks might describe polygamy as a queer lifestyle.
Theory two: Perhaps there’s a particularly charged cultural energy between gay folks and Mormons right now. We Mormons have been putting a lot of thought and energy into gay issues over the last decade, and so is it any surprise (as the marvelous Sister Dottie herself has said on this subject) that gay folks are interested in our business as well?
What say ye, readers–whether Mormon, gay, neither, or both? How do you feel about Big Love?
Do you have a query for the Ask Mormon Girl column? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow askmormongirl on Twitter.