The Apolitical Politics Of 'Love, Simon'

The Apolitical Politics Of 'Love, Simon'

The realities of coming out of the closet in a "post-homophobia" world

I generally try not to get too excited about movies that people continuously hail as “important” before they actually come out. Almost every review of movies like this, that deal with a social issue and are meant for mainstream audiences, no matter what they actually have to say about the movie itself, makes sure to reiterate how important it is that there is finally a mainstream movie out there that deals with the issue. The cynic in me always suggests that these critics want the world to know that they, too, have progressive politics.

Love, Simon is definitely one of these “issue” movies. And I loved it. Politics aside, its portrayal of the often-painful coming out process was incredibly realistic, and not whatsoever gimmicky. Advertised as a teen rom-com with a twist, it depicts a teenage guy, the titular Simon, struggling with his conflicting desires to be open about his sexuality and to retain a sense of normalcy. He seems to live in a fairly progressive area, and knows that in the end he will be accepted, but is still repressed by both his own insecurities and the expectations others place on him. His struggle with his sexuality is far more central to the story than the romantic subplot, but this seemed fitting to me.

Based on a novel written by a (heterosexual) clinical psychologist who specializes in dealing with teenagers, the core theme of repression struck a chord in me. Even though Simon is lucky enough to live in a fairly accepting area with a fairly accepting family, there’s always that caveat, fairly. People won’t care that much. Most people are open-minded. You probably won’t have any issues. And that’s the reason why he continues to repress who he really is.

As someone who also grew up gay in a fairly liberal enclave, I can definitely relate. I’ve lived all over, but most of my childhood and the first part of my adolescence was spent in a college town in northern California. This town, Davis, had all the liberal cultural hallmarks‒a thriving farmer’s market full of organic food, its own offshoot of Occupy Wall Street in the local park, and lots of Hillary Clinton yard signs.

It’s easy to forget, then, the “yes on Prop 8” yard signs of my childhood that supported a proposition in 2008 that repealed gay marriage in California in the name of “family values” (yep, the bluest state in the nation). It’s easy to forget the flamboyantly gay kid at my elementary school who was so relentlessly bullied (by people who would grow up to post Instagram pictures of themselves getting wasted at San Francisco Pride) that he transferred to another district, or about one of my best friends, whose parents threatened to excommunicate her when she came out of the closet.

The movie doesn’t overtly deal with any of this‒politics are mentioned only in passing and the setting is left deliberately ambiguous to appeal to the widest swath of Americans as possible‒but it is still a movie that seems very attuned to the realities of its time.

The core conflict of the protagonist‒to be normal‒is one that I can personally relate to, and questions the idea that we’ve somehow, since the federal legalization of gay marriage three short years ago, suddenly leapt into a post-homophobic America, at least in our liberal enclaves. Maybe I’m giving the movie too much credit for reading into it that much, but I think it deals with the subtle struggles of being “different” in a society that supposedly celebrates difference remarkably well.

The conversations that Simon has with his family and friends about his sexuality are the strongest points of the film. Each one feels like a release of tension, and through this tension we see the weight of all that secrecy and repression. For the most part, it’s a light-hearted story, but these conversations have a poignancy to it that reflect the reality of coming out.

Sadly, it’s almost always going to be a risk.

Cover Image Credit: Love, Simon trailer

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11 Things Psychology Majors Hear That Drive Them Crazy

No pun intended.

We've all been there. You're talking to a new acquaintance, or a friend of your parents, or whoever. And then, you get the dreaded question.

"So what are you studying in school?"

Cue the instant regret of picking Psychology as your major, solely for the fact that you are 99.9% likely to receive one of the slightly comical, slightly cliche, slightly annoying phrases listed below. Don't worry though, I've included some responses for you to use next time this comes up in conversation. Because it will.

Quick side note, these are all real-life remarks that I've gotten when I told people I was a psych major.

Here we go.

1. So are you, like, analyzing me right now?

Well, I wasn't. But yeah. Now I am.

2. Ugh so jealous! You picked the easy major.

"Lol" is all I have to say to this one. I'm gonna go write my 15-page paper on cognitive impairment. You have fun with your five college algebra problems, though!

3. So can you tell me what you think is wrong with me? *Shares entire life story*

Don't get me wrong; I love listening and helping people get through hard times. But we can save the story about how one time that one friend said that one slightly rude comment to you for later.

4. Well, s**t, I have to be careful what I say around you.

Relax, pal. I couldn't diagnose and/or institutionalize you even if I wanted to.

5. OMG! I have the perfect first client for you! *Proceeds to vent about ex-boyfriend or girlfriend*

Possible good response: simply nod your head the entire time, while actually secretly thinking about the Ben and Jerry's carton you're going to go home and demolish after this conversation ends.

6. So you must kind of be like, secretly insane or something to be into Psychology.

Option one: try and hide that you're offended. Option two: just go with it, throw a full-blown tantrum, and scare off this individual, thereby ending this painful conversation.

7. Oh. So you want to be a shrink?

First off, please. Stop. Calling. Therapists. Shrinks. Second, that's not a psych major's one and only job option.

8. You know you have to go to grad school if you ever want a job in Psychology.

Not completely true, for the record. But I am fully aware that I may have to spend up to seven more years of my life in school. Thanks for the friendly reminder.

9. So you... want to work with like... psychopaths?

Let's get serious and completely not-sarcastic for a second. First off, I take personal offense to this one. Having a mental illness does not classify you as a psycho, or not normal, or not deserving of being treated just like anyone else on the planet. Please stop using a handful of umbrella terms to label millions of wonderful individuals. It's not cool and not appreciated.

10. So can you, like, read my mind?

It actually might be fun to say yes to this one. Try it out and see what happens. Get back to me.

11. You must be a really emotional person to want to work in Psychology.

Psychology is more than about feeling happy, or sad, or angry. Psychology is about understanding the most complex thing to ever happen to us: our brain. How it works the way it does, why it works the way it does, and how we can better understand and communicate with this incredibly mysterious, incredibly vast organ in our tiny little skull. That's what psychology is.

So keep your head up, psychology majors, and don't let anyone discourage you about choosing, what is in my opinion, the coolest career field out there. The world needs more people like us.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Netflix Cancels One Day At A Time And Fans Are Livid

The family comedy discussed topics other shows don't talk about--and Netflix cancelled it.


The Netflix original series "One Day At A Time" has been canceled after three seasons, and fans are not happy about it, including me.

I recently got into ODAAT, which recently released its third season on Netflix. I had never heard of the show that was actually released in 2017 but decided to give it a shot. And I am so glad I did. ODAAT discusses a number of topics that people are not talking about in other shows, or at least not as much.

The show is based on the 1970s/80s sitcom but has a modern day twist. It follows the life of the Alvarez family, a Cuban family living in Los Angeles California. Newly single mom Penelope, works as a nurse after getting out of the army. She struggles with depression and anxiety and coping with it while taking care of her family, which consists of her daughter Elena, son Alex, mother Lydia and even their landlord Schneider who becomes like a family member.

The family is witty and colorful, and the comedy makes you actually belly laugh. It is fresh and new and goes to the places that most comedy series do not. Elena comes out as a lesbian to her family, and this serves as a big conflict for her as the family tries to accept it. Raised in a Cuban and Catholic home, it is not easy for her parents to swallow, including her father, Victor. He denies that she is gay and her choice of wearing a pantsuit to her quinceanera.

ODAAT even tackles immigration, and how Lydia had to leave her family behind to come to America. It talks about the ugly side of immigration, the sadness and struggle immigrants have to endure when wanting to become a United States citizen. Many of the episodes refer to her time back in Cuba, and what she had to leave behind and how that affected her.

This show was not afraid to talk about these topics, and I think that is truly what set it apart from other series, especially on Netflix.

On March 15, Netflix announced the cancellation, and fans were livid. They took to social media to express their sadness and even had #SaveODAAT trending on Twitter. People are upset because this show actually was teaching us lessons through comedy, and now Netflix is dropping it because over low viewership. There are certainly people that watch it because they were on social media trying to save the series, that is for sure.

As far as it being picked up by another network, it does not look hopeful. Due to a deal with Netflix, it could take months or years before ODAAT could be actually allowed to be picked up. As disheartening as it is, I really hope someone finds a way to revive it. This show clearly has value to many people and sends good messages. Hopefully, someone out there can find a solution and keep the story of this Cuban family alive.

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