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In almost every one of my Once Upon a Time reviews, I get called out in the comments for talking “too much” about Swan Queen (the subtextual romance going on between Emma and Regina). If you knew how much I THOUGHT about this dynamic every episode, you’d praise my restraint. I’ve never wanted to be a shipper, or as our own Price Peterson memorably put it, someone who picks a couple on a TV show and “roots for them with the intensity of a Green Beret,” but the recent representation bait-and-switch with Mulan’s bisexual reveal and the aggressive pairing of both Regina and Emma with super-masculine love interests (seriously, Season 3 could just be called Once Upon a Dick) has sort of forced me into DEMANDING JUSTICE for the big ghost ship in the room that OUAT refuses to acknowledge, yet in the face of falling ratings is certainly trying to placate. Guys, let’s talk Swan Queen: intentional or unintentional, why Mulan kinda sorta came out, and how the show refuses to let the Swan Queen flag fly but still tries to keep the ship from sinking.


First off, I want to make it crystal clear that no one who's rooting for Swan Queen is saying that the actors are having a relationship with each other. While both JMo and Lana Parillz are super cool ladies and gay allies, they’re big ol’ heteros in real life, and they're both in committed relationships with anatomically male folks—no one is arguing they're not. Blessed be! That doesn’t change the fact that every time their characters Emma and Regina have crossed paths since the start of Season 1, they've stood nose-to-nose and whispered hot nothings to one another.  I seriously doubt that OUAT has only the one boom mic to record its actors with, so why do these two stay close enough to smell each other’s hair in literally every scene? Re-watch the first four episodes of OUAT Season 1 and watch any sense of “personal space” disappear as Regina and Emma fight over their son.

If you’re a little old biddy like me, this kind of dynamic—passionate enemies who are total opposites but share a common goal—harkens back to classic “Sam and Diane” style of relationship-building. (Those were characters from an olden-times stage show called Cheers, available on microfiche at your local library. What great romance DOESN'T involve the love interests hating each other immediately? (Holla at me, Darcy and Lizzy!) When two people antagonize each other to the tune of sneaking into each other's houses/offices and confronting each other on a daily basis, stealing each other's clothes, and having insanely vivid dreams about tying each other up, the line between love and hate can look awfully thin.

OUAT showrunners Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz have said that all the early lingering looks and double entendres between their two female leads were/are unintentional. And they are the showrunners—this is their barbecue, and what they say goes. But either their directors and editors had a whole 'nother perspective, or they were obliviously operating in the old-world paradigm where two hot ladies hating each other is the default expectation of the audience, where two strong female characters with the same goals must necessarily see each other as threats. (Hi, Dynasty!) Thank God, we now live in slightly more enlightened times, times where in more and more cities, same-sex couples can just enjoy brunch without being sneered at, so A LOT of viewers (especially younger ones) didn’t see Emma and Regina and think, “Classic! Bitches hate bitches! I love a good catfight!” Instead, they saw a show about a world of people silently suffering because their true identities were being repressed, and they thought, “These two moms are INTO each other... and they’d be great parents together!” And I think that’s kind of beautiful.


Usually I'm too busy obliviously sucking down the hundreds of books, shows and movies catering to YA audiences my age group to notice the lack of LGBT representation in pop culture, and that's my bad. But the thing that always gets my attention and makes me hot under the collar is story logic. Good structure and plot and complicated character dynamics and getting the most out of a premise MATTERS DEEPLY. And that’s why I care so much about Swan Queen: Not only would it make the show infinitely better, it would justify so many aspects of the show’s otherwise wobbly premise. That Emma and Regina are two ladies is incidental, that they’re written as perfect soul mates is what gets to me.

Like anyone who’s written something, I can also totally understand Kitsis and Horowitz feeling territorial about their show, their characters, their intentions. OUAT, much respect, was a very risky idea they gambled their careers on, and they won big. It must suck to have several thousand strangers who didn't come up with the idea in the first place step in and say, “Wait a minute, THIS interpretation would be better than what you had planned.” But in making a show about pre-existing Disney characters, Kitsis and Horowitz traded on the fact there would be a built-in audience of viewers with deep, visceral reactions to the fates of the characters they grew up with. That sword cuts both ways. These characters resonate in ways that Kitsis and Horowitz didn’t create and aren’t responsible for, and they shouldn’t be surprised when fans try to collectively interpret and modernize a decades-old, deeply engrained American mythology that preceded their show by about 80 years.


Frankly if they were real hustlers they'd CLAIM they thought of Swan Queen even if they hadn’t, because it makes a lot of their crazy-ass hot porridge of a premise look suddenly considered and deliberate. In a show where magic is regularly equated with sex/romance feels/true love, Emma and Regina have the best magic. Emma is the product of True Love and the Savior, Regina is warped from a lack of love and needs saving the most.  Henry just wants his family back. They both just want to be a family with Henry. AND THINK OF SNOW’S REACTION! God I want to see that episode so bad. 


Fans and bloggers built this ship long before I got on board, but they’re rarely mentioned in media, let alone by the official OUAT media streams. Maybe that's part of their grassroots appeal to me; Swan Queen is kinda punk rock. While the show keeps pushing a very hetero, cookie-cutter love triangle at the audience and making the dialogue and romantic pairings more and more didactic, Swan Queen fans are collectively weaving and believing a much more interesting, modern, and heartbreakingly romantic narrative, independent of what The Man keeps telling them to feel.


In the face of a very vocal faction of Swan Queen fans, the show responded by promising a gay character, as if any old gay character was what fans wanted, as opposed to a very specific pairing. Because that’s how it works for hetero couples on TV; Ross and Rachel could easily have been replaced by Phoebe and some male extra, right? That's a reference to Friends, available on VHS in thrift stores everywhere. So OUAT, in a nod to representation, had the extremely minor character Mulan almost-but-not-quite come out to minor character Aurora, who interrupted her with baby news. BABY NEWS. HAHAHAHA no seriously that’s sad. Sad, but hardly unexpected from a show that regularly depicts adoption as futile and biological parents as better human beings, even if they throw their day-old baby onto a highway via a magical tree trunk. 

Another layer of problems on top of Mulan getting baby pwned is that on OUAT, POCs (people of color) NEVER get ANY kind of happy ending ever, not once, in three seasons. POCs are either guardians (Lancelot, Mulan), victims (Gus, Sydney Glass), or villains (Tamara, Regina). Like, where the hell are Tiana and Jasmine? WHY ARE ONLY THE WHITE PRINCESSES HAPPY?!


But let me handle one thesis statement at time: Recently, Regina and Emma have been getting hella straight-washed. We were told in no uncertain terms that Regina’s True Love is Robin Hood, no room for argument, no time to show character development—meet Robin Hood, he is IT for the most complex character on the show, period. Then in the next episode, Emma burst out crying about having always loved Neal, and she made out with Hook in the episode after that... with a kiss that was highly promoted, despite being written as though it was meant to be a surprise ending. People who ship Hook and Emma were totally cheated out of a really cool moment, and you have to wonder if, after OUAT's plausibly bisexual Mulan-outing made headlines, ABC decided to aggressively market some classic hetero smoochin'. And YET, simultaneously, Emma and Regina have been acting more like a couple than ever, teaching each other magic, and teaming up to save their son.

OUAT experienced a fan drop-off between Season 2 and Season 3, and it seems quite clear that the show has no intention of alienating its thousands of rabid Swan Queen fans. As long as the writers can feed Swan Queen viewers subtext and keep everything looking hetero on paper, they will. But apparently they can’t afford to alienate viewers who consider LGBT relationships to be somehow incompatible with fairy tales.


The problem is as much with the audience as with the show. I seriously doubt that ABC or Disney or OUAT's showrunners are full of hateful bigotry (vintage Disney notwithstanding). Similarly, I don't believe Kitsis and Horowitz have any more of an agenda than "let's get several more seasons and keep our awesome, awesome jobs." That would be my attitude! What I believe is that restricting Swan Queen to subtext, not even discussing it as a notional plotline in a show that will portray literally ANY whacked-out story reconfiguration, is a systemic issue.

Mainstream media tends to hyper-sexualize gay relationships. Hence, many OUAT fans argue that you can’t have a gay couple on a family show about fairy-tales (often in very misspelled social media posts). But um, nope, that's just not true. When viewers say they want to see Swan Queen, it’s not a request for the show to become sexually explicit, to be Once Upon a Time in My Pants, it’s asking the show and the show’s audience to recognize that all those idealized elements of true love—authentic connection, sacrifice, and loyalty—also happen in LGBT relationships. LGBT romances deserve an idealized, flowers and hearts, aspirational depiction that parents and kids can watch together and sigh and say “Awww!” the way they do currently with hetero ones.


I'm no folklore professor, I don't own an amulet or Tevas, but even I know fairy-tales are one of the earliest ways we teach kids basic life lessons: what is good, what is bad, don’t talk to strangers, someday you're going to find someone who will make all the terrible stuff worth it. If we can’t talk about gay relationships in fairy-tale terms, then we’re teaching kids who grow up to be gay that there isn’t a happy ending for them. Like, what other message does it send when Mulan walked away, sobbing, before she could even tell Aurora how she felt? “Believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a powerful thing” is the show’s own thesis statement.Why not let gay kids, gay teens, and gay parents aspire to a happy ending too?


Look, I ain't Kathy Bates in Misery over here. If for story reasons the writers have something better than Swan Queen up their sleeves, cool! I hope we see it soon! It's just that while I love watching a show that has passionate fans who are willing to fight for the couple they root for, sometimes it's hard to watch a fight that's not fair. Sometimes it's hard to watch the show play both sides—to subtextually seed in Swan Queen while shouting about a hetero love triangle—and in the process, to be complicit with the bad guys who regularly oppress some of their most devoted fans IRL. Mulan's bisexual reveal kind of/sort of felt like that? I know even if the show desperately wanted to make Swan Queen a storyline, they could probably only do it if the audience ratings would support it. And so we're left with a debate that is getting more and more pertinent: Is it the duty of a progressive audience to demand that TV change, or does TV have the responsibility to progress its audiences’ thinking? Who is in control of normal? Who decides what "happy ending" really means?

QUESTIONS:

... Regina and Emma: Intentionally getting a subtext in Season 3?

... Mulan and Aurora: Any hope of a happy ending there? Or at least a freaking follow-up episode?

... Do you think ratings would take a nose dive if Regina and Emma became a thing, or do you think it'd find a ton of support? Was the show testing the waters with Mulan, or just throwing fans a bone?

... OUAT and race: What's up with that?

... Has a work of fiction (especially a televised one) ever changed your beliefs about something?


Editors' note: Feel free to disagree about Emma and Regina in the comments, but please defend your opinions with story logic and civility, not hate. Hate will not be tolerated.


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 12/4/2016

Season 6 : Episode 10

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just finished watching season 4 and i noticed those "hate-filled looks" lingering for a bit too long so i'd say either one of the leads or the producers decided to play with the gay element from the very beginning. as a Xenite i can say there is nothing new about the producers denying ( but not really)their ignorance about it. Personally i do love the way this "slow cooking" friendship/love/hate relationship is forming between Emma and Regina. The bond between them exists almost like an undercurrent, it goes above and beyond their respective story-lines and pairings and Henry sounds way too damn proud and smug when he says " yeah, i have two moms" .

There is no hope for aurora and Mulan i think (although i haven't seen season 5 yet (damn you netflix!) we all know there is ONE cardinal rule in OUAT : the Main Princesses ALWAYS get paired with their true loves (Aurora,Snow, Ariel) Mulan isn't part of those... sadly BELLE is so i'm guessing good ol' Rumple will get his happy ending in the end (no pun intended).

Since Regina is not one of those main princesses and nor is Emma, I do believe the pairing has the potential to occur HOWEVER, American society and culture is going backwards since their highest peak was reached in the 90's apparently which is reflected by the way they depict their stories... White and Hetero. That being said and even after i just found out i'm not the only one who thought these two lovely characters would be quite the pairing, i wouldn't terribly mind each of them got their "happy endings" with Hoodie and Hookie. They both Deserve. i understand our desire to have"our" happy ending reflected) on our favorite tv shows (XENITES will understand this quite well) but i'd feel also quite please if Women are also depicted as POWERFUL and INDEPENDENT BEINGS instead of dumb, depended, voluptuous accessories to men. the reason i adore OUAT is mainly cause all these princesses are shown as NOT NEEDING TO BE RESCUED (most of the time anyway ) and to me, that's great. Also they get points for not being "saints".

OUAT and Race.... tough one. Once again, that's the reflection of American Society. plus there is that HUGE issue about wanting to please CHINA cause they are the biggest fans of looking "western" (their idea of it anyway). "Racism"(only one race, people..HUMAN race) and Greed are the biggest obstacles right now for us to seethose stories reflected on the big and small screens.

Xena . no contest there. i was 9 when i started watching that show and before i used to think i need to act less of who i was. i felt i needed to act, weaker, softer, slower, "girlier" (is that even a real word?) and dumber because that's what a girl should be like since when i beat up boys (even older ones) they resented me and the boys who lost against me would recent me even more cause they would get teased since they has lost to a "girl" . Xena changed all that and even though i already knew who i was, she made me feel more comfortable i my own skin and be proud of it. Regina is just the modern version of that idea Xena represented and that's why she is my favorite character.
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If they made #swanqueen canon it would gain many viewers, all the LGBTQ fans would come rushing back in a second because the ship with the most character development, the most chemistry and is the only ship besides Snowing that has two core cast members. It would give all the young gays, lesbians and bisexuals out there some decent representation. Some hope that one day we can get our happy endings just like our 'straight' friends get to do. We won't be considered the scary evil things that all kids should fear becoming.
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There is something else I just realized when watching some of their scenes together. How many times have both of them said, "trust me" to the other and each time they have. The two people that have trouble trusting anyone yet they have continuously trusted each other. Also I think Regina and Emma have saved each other more than anyone else has saved them. That last scene where Emma gave up everything for Regina was an act of a very deep love for someone. Those two together would break down all their walls and allow for both characters to continue to evolve. I feel the most chemistry with these two than any other couples on this show. You rarely see this kind of chemistry so I have become a huge fan of SwanQueen.
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I must confess I was surprised to find out that there are people shipping Emma and Regina, of all people! My first thought was “Wait. The Evil Queen and Snow White’s daughter? This is a joke, right?
Well, now I see is not a joke. People are serious here and… Honestly? The idea is has no importance to me. I actually don’t care. Maleficent is my favorite character, so as long she finds her ‘true love + happy ending’ (aka her daughter Lily and maybe Lily’s father) I will be happy. The others can die. See if I care.
But if I am to analyze the whole situation, my answer is:
"It does make sense."
Sure, if there is any hope for the couple, Edward and Adam will have to work on a damn good text, but it would definitely be more interesting than "Captain Swan" (what a boring couple, by the way). Emma seems to need some real passion (I'm not sorry, Hook).
The funny thing is that all Swan/Queen "moments" were not even intentional. Such information makes me find even harder to actually see Regina and Emma becoming a couple.
This and the fact that OUAT is a family show – with family being for many a man, his wife and their children.
One may think I’m being stupid, but let's face it: just because the law of USA (and mine too, since I'm from Brazil) approves same-sex marriage it does not make people accept it. Law has no religion, but it comes from our moral which is greatly influenced by religion of all kind. People may accept the fact that there are women who fall in love with women, but most of them don’t want to see it in TV. Some barely tolerate it.
I consider myself as ‘devoted’ to my faith, so yes, I’m a religious person. But I also know that I will not stop watching a good show just because two women fall in love or whatever, but there are people who will and this is bad for business. Mr Kitsis and Mr Horowitz want success, money (not that I blame them), and they want to win America’s heart. Aware that some people are conservative to the bone, they sometimes need to write what people like, not what they want. Sure, there is Mulan, but where is her happy ending?
It is just a theory, of course. No need to be mad. Maybe it will never come true because...It was not in their plans, perhaps?
Anyway... IF for a miracle Swan/Queen turns out to be canon, I cannot deny it would be entertaining, as Cruella would said, and I see myself watching Snow’s reaction to the news. Oh boy, I would surely laugh for days...
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a family DOESN'T consist of just a man,woman and kids. there is such thing as same sex families. Lesbians can have children as can gays. they make good loving and caring families just as the hetero families do.
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I believe Emma and Regina could have the most real and passionate relationship on the show. Their chemistry would far exceed Robin Hood and Hook. How ironic would it be for the two women who found it the hardest to let anyone in to end up together. How cool would it be for Henry to have both of his moms together. I get where the writers are coming from because they really don't know how the viewers would see it. You could always test the waters. It could be something like what happened with Xena and Gabrielle in Xena the Warrior Princess. They had moments where you could see how deep their love was but the writers never went any further than that. We have come a really long way since that showed aired. What if Emma dies, or so Regina thinks, and Regina realizes her love at that instance and you can see and feel the true connection between them, but Regina only puts her arms around Emma. A little heavier subtext but depending on reactions could go either way at that point. Two very complex characters joining forces as a couple.to fight evil. I love it!
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I honestly think Swan Queen is one of the best portrayals of a potential same-sex relationship on TV, ever. Too many attempts at creating a same-sex relationship on TV seem forced and unnatural, too dripping of a political agenda. This one, especially with Henry in the middle, feels natural, supportive, and nurturing, with obvious chemistry full of positive feedback between the characters, and a lot of it might actually be because they are NOT trying too hard to create an "actual" (that is officially acknowledged) same-sex relationship. In addition to the positive background vibes and natural chemistry, this "will-they-or-won't-they" question keeps the tension going.
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And another problem is . . . I have no problems with Regina's romance with Robin Hood. Whether you like it or not, I believe they have chemistry. Now . . . Regina can have a relationship with a woman or a man . . . as long as that person IS NOT Emma Swan.

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You know, I actually used to like the idea of SwanQueen. But not anymore. Emma Swan annoys me. And I get the feeling that a romantic relationship between her and Regina will always be one-sided. Emma seems incapable of owning up to her mistakes. Yet, at the same time, she and everyone else keeps insisting that Regina does. Snow White, who could be very self-righteous in the past, seems more capable of admitting her mistakes than Emma. Which is probably why I am more invested in a relationship (of any kind) between her and Regina than Swan Queen.
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I really like this article. It raises great points, all of which are well thought out. I agree with pretty much all of it - I also have another peeve which I don't think was mentioned.

Mulan - Her *left for interpretation to avoid offending current homophobic viewers* 'coming out' pissed me off because the show now has one single gay character - and that character is the most obvious, blatantly stereotypical choice. Because all lesbians dress in guys clothes and pretend to be men, right? Just like every girl who has short hair and doesn't like wearing dresses is a lesbian. Right?

Wrong, but thanks for perpetuating a shitty stereotype, OUAT.


I really hope the next (if it happens at all *probably not*) gay character is not so terribly clichéd...

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I think this is a case of perception, and what we perceive is based on our own views and our own lives. Until I started reading reviews, it never even occurred to me for a moment that anyone would look at Emma and Regina and think they were in love, on any level. I can see where you're coming from, when you lay it out like this, but I still don't see it. It seems like this is a case where if "you" are LGBT then that's a natural perception; I'm not. I didn't see it.

I don't think I would hold my breath for Disney to get on board. However open-minded we are, TV is decades behind society an this show airs at family viewing time. I don't think they'll risk it.

And seriously, if anything was a hint on how they felt about, the very fact that Mulan kinda sort came out and then DISAPPEARED forever is a clue, lol. That screenie you did awhile back with Philp, Aurora, and Mulan asking Neal if he had their storylines was so prophetic.
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You know it would make sense if this was the way the powers that be were headed. I mean think about it. Every romantic interest that Regina and Emma have had has died up til now. Robin Hood's wife returns which throws a monkey wrench into Regina's new relationship and Hook is starting to regress to the man he used to be. I imagine it won't be long before Hook realizes that he can't keep pretending to be someone he's not and he bails too leaving both Emma and Regina alone again. It really feels to me like they are testing the waters as you said only they are doing so by giving them more on screen interaction and watching for ratings fluctuations. If it's true that the pairing brings more ratings, and the actresses are willing, they will eventually allow the story to evolve into romance.
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I agree with everything you mentioned in your piece, which by the way was extremely direct, to the point, and humor-filled. I just want to say well-done and thank you for sharing your thoughts and input.
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And I loved how this was published November 2013 and in 2014 the Rapunzel episode depicted a Black Princess getting her happy ending.
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i ship for swan queen. and other less important ships, but OUAT is a great show even though they took my sheriff graham away from me XC. Disney owns rights to the show since they made the characters famous, but this would be a great chance for Disney to show they support same sex relationships, but i also think we need some new ships and not once that get taken away from us after like 10 episodes aka emma and graham once that last a whole season not like mary margret and david due to there ment to be togetherand i would like to see ruby have some sort of relationship
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I ship for SwanQueen, but I respect the other ships as well...we are all kind of in the same boat lol. But my heart broke with Mulan, I really wanted her to at least say how she felt. With SwanQueen, I really hope they do have their happy ending, but if the creators go with a SQ true love I just hope they don't accelerate the story like they did with Robin Hood. It really just felt wrong, like Regina was just thrown in that relationship without any relationship evolution. If they actually do it between them or not, these two ladies deserve a very well evolved relationship, not a love triangle.
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I only recently got on board the OuaT fandom and so far and I must say I'm ready to hop right back off. There's just no respect, anywhere.

I think Swan Queen is a wonderful and beautiful idea. As a bisexual woman I would love to see those two represent that side of me, through fairytales. Because I never got that as a kid. Sadly I know it wont happen. It's almost predictable really. So sad that we've supposedly moved ahead, yet we haven't. If there's one thing OuaT has taught me, it's that.

Won't even bother with season 4. It'll be the same cycle of subtext to keep is watching. It's better to leave it behind.
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I think it's a beautiful and different idea, but I also happen to be enamored with captainswan. Their chemistry is amazing, he allows her to be the strong woman she is and always believes in her, and he understands her. I know though that I would love to see the friendship between Regina and Emma get even stronger, to a point when they both thoroughly acknowledge the impact they have had on each other's lives... I do however want Mulan and Aurora to be together, though I'm not happy they gave into the stereotype of having a woman whom is a strong warrior kinda give in to that stereotype of being gay. Somehow I think there should be a joining of two woman with a beautiful femininity and devotion. Two woman who can't live without each other and with that amazing connection we have seen so many times on the big screen with a man and a woman. Two woman who really demonstrate the beauty of love between woman and woman.
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As for the point about the ratings. It's interesting that the two episode's in season 3 which pulled in the most viewers were 3x11 and 3x13...the two Swan Queen heavy episodes.

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I thinks its fascinating that so many people have clearly read this article just so they could bash it. It's clearly marked Swan Queen. If I don't like something I don't click on it or comment.
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Everytime this show and its creators/writers/cast/crew make me feel like i'm crazy for even dare to think of SwanQueen i came here and read this. Thank you!

"Something beautiful has been lost, something that with a little courage could have materially changed a lot of lives! Apparently that's not OUAT's problem, though, so moving on" indeed, so I'm moving on from this show

Your reviews and Lana's acting were the only things that excited me this season so i better take their season finale's hint and let it go

Thank you so much for put up with this nonsense and share your wit with all of us.


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That was beautifully written. ty
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What gets me about all of these "ship" fights is that they regard any character to walk across the screen as romantic material. They neglect one of the most important "ships" of all. FriendSHIP. Two people do not need to have sex to have a strong relationship. I love my ALL of my family, but I certainly don't have sex with everyone. Sexualizing every character interaction is reducing it down to one very tiny aspect of any relationship.

Regina and Swan are becoming family. Slowly, surely, and beautifully. They can have sex with whomever they want, and it does not weaken any bond they are developing. In my opinion, saying that their love for each other has to be romantic if it is going to be real only debases and reduces love down to the act of sex.

I sincerely hope that they don't turn it into an over-sexualized romantic relationship, regardless of how nice it would be to see two strong female characters have one on TV. I like the steadiness and reliability that Regina and Swan are developing, and I would hate to see it ruined. Blind passion is anything but reliable. At the end of the day, I want my best friend by my side whether or not we share sexual tension.

When Once Upon a Time becomes Happily Ever After, the story and the drama are over. Start enjoying the journey and stop pushing for a conclusion.
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Exactly, and even further, why can't you have a strong female who chooses NOT to be in a romantic relationship? Why is that so required? I love the idea of Emma and Regina as besties. They would be like Emily and Nolan. Best friends are way more reliable anyways. I can totally see Emma and Regina as friends. I don't see them romantic though. {shrug}
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I agree. I see this is remolding of the Snow/Regina relationship in the modern day, and Regina's statement at the end of the finale about always ruining things like your mother furthers that theory to me.
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I'm not bothered by the fact that you want SwanQueen to happen as long as you're not one of those bat-shit insane SQ'ers from twitter and/or tumblr who has been harrassing and threatening everyone (including cast members and the writers) non-stop. The only thing that bothers me is how reduce male characters like Robin Hood, Neal, and Hook and basically any man that crossed Emma's or Regina's path as a potential love interest as nothing more than a 'dick'. I highly doubt you'd be so happy if someone reduced Emma or Regina to nothing more than a 'vagina'. Please don't dehumanize men, thank you.
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wow, this has nothing to do with dehumanising 'men' as talking about a lgbt couple has nothing to do with men in anyway possible. By the way women are constantly reduced to being a 'vagina' As women are highly sexualised in the media. Would you like it if Men were highly sexualised,in the media and that all straight couples were reduced to only sex buddies? No you wouldn't so back off the whole fact that RH and the pirate aren't liked all that much. They aren't been de-humanised at all. or 'reduced to dicks' as you put it.

The way that both those characters are portrayed shows them as being 'dicks'.
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I'm one of those fans of Once Upon A Time who watched the show for a long time before becoming an online-fan of it during season 3. And I was very surprised - to put it mildly - when I learned that there was an online community that romantically shipped Emma and Regina together. Not because I'm some sort of bigot but because I never saw it on my screen, in the actual story lines playing out before my eyes. I respect everyone's right to interpret the "texts" they enounter in any way they please - we all of us bring our personal experience into our interpretations whenever we look for something's meaning to us - be it a painting, a poem, a novel, or a TV show. However, unlike an abstract painting by Miro or Joyce's Ulysses, where the audience/reader is encouraged to see whatever he/she wants in those "texts" (as in the theory of intertextuality) - and even those "authors" had very clear intentions about the reactions they wanted to elicit - authorship is something very prevalent in TV and movie scripts. There is a clear intention behind every story that's being told and the author is very much NOT dead. So while I'm certainly free to interpret the stories presented to me in whichever way I want, I cannot force the author to change his/her story because I happen to believe that my interpretation is "better" - especially if that would mean compromising the author's artistic integrity and rendering every actual plotline outlined since the beginning null and void - in order to please a group and make what seems to me to be a political point more than anything else.
If Adam and Eddy ever decided to "rewrite" the whole show and important character arcs within that show - Emma finally deciding to open herself up to the one person who's been constantly by her side, helping her to embrace every single aspect of her and being finally in a place where she can laugh (!) and putting her together with someone she has never expressed any romantic interest in (on screen); taking away Regina's right to choose happiness above anger with the person she canonically feels a romantic connection with - they would lose all those fans who enjoy the show exactly the way they've been telling it from day one. And how exactly would that be "better"?

I think it would be much wiser for people to love their favorite shows for the stories those shows intend to tell instead of loving them for the stories they think they "should" tell. Demanding that writers/creators change the story they've been plotting out in ther hearts and minds for years, when Once Upon A Time is one of those few shows that exhibit a discernable vision, is tantamount to demanding fan service. Personally, I'd much rather invest my energy into a show where I can rely on the fact that its creators will follow THEIR vision, tell THEIR story, instead of catering to ANY fan's wishes, including my own. Provided that I, with all my personal experiences and everything that makes me who I am, like said vision; if it resonates with my heart, my mind and my soul. I want to follow the ACTUAL story - every aspect of it - wherever it may lead. And up until now I've watched few shows where this was more rewarding than on Once Upon A Time.
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I'm with you, in certain regards. I didn't realize that there was a Swan Queen online following either, but I must say that for the longest time, I really, really disliked Emma and most of the other good guys. It wasn't until I started disagreeing with my boyfriend that I turned to the Internet to see if I was alone in my opinions.

I didn't see SQ from the very beginning; I saw a biological mother trying to take back a child that she had no right to. As the story progressed, I grew more frustrated. Emma was so stale, in my opinion. Why wasn't she learning anything, growing as a character, etc.?

Then, along came Season Three, and I ate my words. There was Emma, growing, changing, and willing to do the things that I would, personally expect from a mother, and Regina right beside her doing the same thing: sacrificing. To me, the characters weren't forced together, the relationship was contrived or open or highly publicized. It was a natural progression. To me, it makes more sense in the context of the plot, characters, etc. for SQ to happen rather than the "deus ex machina" of Regina/Hood. Regina has so many issues, and it's taken three seasons for the two Mommies to call Henry "our son," and trust each other rather than blame each other. Yet, I'm supposed to suspend my disbelief regarding the fast-paced new relationships because it's "true love." Pah. You can't have love without trust, right? Regina has more trust issues than I can count, so to me it doesn't make sense.

I think the problem everyone has is not that they want the writers to CHANGE what's there. As a writer myself, my issue is that they seem to be so focused on what they WANT to happen that they're not paying attention to what is already happening. Stories and characters sometimes take on a mind of their own, and in staying true to these people that have been created, sometimes a writer needs to take a step back and realize that their plot no longer fits their characters.

I hope that makes sense.
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But isn't this same progression true of all blended families regardless of sexual orientation? Anytime a birth parent and an adoptive or step parent share custody of a child, especially one who is young enough to need parental control but old enough to form decisions, problems will arise and force the parents to work together. I mean it's basically Stepmom.

I've seen a lot written about how OUAT is insensitive to adopted parents and places a heavier weight on birth parents as the "good", but I don't know if I see that in actuality. Regina was literally evil and Henry is talking about splitting time between her place and Emma's. Emma takes two full seasons to accept her birth parents. Bae loved Rumpel deep down but it's not like OUAT painted Rumpel as a great father. In fact, they used Hook, his figurative step father, as his confidant, and there's quite clearly a connection between Bae and Hook as father/son (even if the Emma thing makes that a little weird). Pan was Rumpel's real father. Cora was evil and the real mother to two characters who hated her. Actually, it often paints an almost desperate longing for children to be accepted by their birth parents, and a pretty dismal look at the way parents use or take for granted their children.

I just don't buy into the heteronormative argument about OUAT. It has some serious, serious flaws, but I've never felt gender roles and a heteronormative agenda were one of them. Yeah, yeah Snow and Charming blah, but otherwise it's female characters are far more butt kicking and powerful. They occasionally fall into tropes, sure, but it's a story about fairy tales and some part of audience does want that, frustrating as it may be.

I'd love them to introduce an actual gay character, not Mulan who I'm pretty sure stayed in the closet because of contractual obligations. I think Archie would be fantastic, as he plays the moral center of the OUAT universe, or yet to be introduced character. Here's hoping. But I don't think Emma and Regina are it.
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that is so much IT. They wrote something they didn't realize they were writing, and now they are trying to push the characters in a direction that doesn't feel natural for them to go.
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"To me, the characters weren't forced together, the relationship *wasn't* contrived or open or highly publicized." Woo for cellphone auto corrects. :-(
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It's hard to say with a show like this, that is targeted at a more family type audience, despite the many screwed up relationships and storylines these characters have, as opposed to a series like Buffy (also available on VHS under your older sibling's bed/closet/dungeon), which had more of a teen/YA target. I'm talking about, of course, Willow and Tara, which for me, was the first time I saw a fairy tale type awwww relationship on a show between two gay characters (yes, I know they didn't quite have that storybook ending, and it wasn't perfect, but they definitely had the whole they're meant to be together thing going on).
And, in terms of TV making a difference, Buffy was how I introduced and explained to my old fashioned mom that anyone can be gay and still be nice normal people (it was just a foreign concept to her, from upbringing and just having never had any gay friends before that she knew of), which was an interesting thing to "teach" your parent at age 15.
If you think about it, that was 14 years ago (yes, Buffy started almost 20 years ago omg). it's a little sad to think that we haven't really progressed very much further than that, as I do understand why the showrunners might be worried about ever letting the Swan Queen ship be an obvious thing. I'm personally not a Swan Queen shipper, but I do agree that it seems to be their most successful, in terms of chemistry that they've had with anyone else paired with either, so by all means, if it happens, I'm all for it.
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Might be that despite the Pixie dust, Robin hood dies. That its a"red herring" and the plan has always been Swan Queen. Why because it was way to Captain Obvious. Here some background on Disney the company always supported Gay rights, Why Walt Disney himself was kicked out of the service.
Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz have said that all the early lingering looks and double entendres between their two female leads were/are unintentional. My answer to that is there using a writing technique called LYING.
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... and spelled her name wrong. Lily Sparks' article ;)
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If SwanQueen is not where they're headed, the alternative better be beyond epic or it's going to damp squib out. My thoughts (before I read Lily Spark's damn fine article): http://tmblr.co/ZhIwsp13HABIG
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Well, considering the actress who plays Mulan is on different show....it looks like the lesbians lose again.
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I am what you would call a queer woman. I am bisexual, might be pan, but I have a preference for women for the most part. And frankly I'm tired of Swan Queen being considered the ambassador of same sex couples, and I am sick to death of their fans and yourself speaking for me as a queer woman. If there was any actual chemistry other than "eye sex" then I would agree with you. Swan Queen is not happening, and it isn't because of heterosexism, it's because it's a glorified crack ship and both characters would have to be ooc for it to be even remotely canon. I'm telling you this as both a Regina stan and an Emma stan.

As a Regina stan: Regina does not have any feelings for Emma and never will, she's never seen Emma as anything more than an inconvenience. At worst, she's seen Emma as the destruction of her "happy" life. Henry was the only thing Regina had and Emma was going to take him from her in her mind. Why the hell would she willingly pair herself with a person like that?

As an Emma stan: Regina has tried to kill Emma at least 5 times and killed Henry in the process of one of said tries. Emma already has enormous trust issues, give me a reason why she'd trust a woman who has tried to destroy her and her family multiple times? Regina is also the reason why Emma grew up with literally nobody, and don't give me the whole "Charming shipped her off willingly" crap either because it's been established that Regina was planning to kill Emma, both by the writers and the dialogue. If it weren't for the curse then Emma would have had a family and a good support system, instead she grew up in perhaps one of the most difficult lives imaginable. Regina is to blame for all of that, Emma even said so in season 2.

I'm all for lgbt representation, which is why I like Sleeping Warrior and Fairy Queen, I understand that. But by dismissing what the writers did with Mulan as "half-assed" makes me unable to help but think that you're being dishonest. Do you really want representation or do you just want your ship to happen? I don't have a problem with most of the shippers, just the dishonest ones claiming to represent me. Also, you're 100% wrong when you said that no Swen shipper is saying Jen and Lana aren't straight. When Lana got engaged, people sent her hate calling her a closet case, it even got to the point that her fiance had to make a statement defending her. Please stop accusing the writers of things they are not just because the show isn't going your way. It's really unfair.
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it is not a 'crack ship' as you say because the characters are from the same show. please educate yourself with a dictionary.
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I feel the need to reply here.

Also while it's unfair to you as a nonshipper swan queen is considered a ambassador type ship because it is both a very large ship made up of a high percentage of queer women and because Emma and Regina are both highly billed characters. A relationship between them would be significant to both it's viewers and the show itself. Sure Mulan's declaration was representative, but has not been seen again since. This isn't necessarily the show's fault as her actress got a job elsewhere, but even if she had stayed it would only likely accounted for a small story arc or less and faded into the background. To truly make an impact people need to see it preferably often. Else people think. Fairy queen or even red snow could fulfilled this criteria, though one member being a minor char isn't quite as nice as two leading characters like Emma and Regina. Given they're both Henry's mother the ship pretty much writes itself.

I believe it was stated in the article that hate at first sight has long been a classic prelude to happily ever after in fiction. So saying Regina hates Emma and always will is how these kinds of relationships always begin. As it progresses their dynamic changes as well. Which is seen in season 2 and more so in season 3. The they hate each other and always will mentality has however long since been abandoned. Let's not ignore 2 seasons worth of character development.

Also while it is popular to say that Regina tried to kill Emma this is a huge misinformation. Regina has NEVER actually tried to kill Emma. Run her out of town, punch her , discredit her certainly. She even tried to put her under a sleeping curse. She may have wanted to kill her, but she never attempted to do so. May I remind you that Regina was explicitly told by crumple killing Emma breaks the curse. So killing her is counter productive for her. The sleeping curse isn't supposed to kill anyone. Snow was under it for days possibly even week or two. Auroras was under nearly 30 years. The fact Henry died from it could be evidence of magic works differently here or that modern medicine can tell the difference between death and magically induced sleeping.




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Very well thought out Argument! But you forget 4 things.
1 Regina never bothered to get to know Swan before trying to kill her.
They work together since then and they both discovered they both had crappy childhoods.
2 Hate something with to much intensity and it become its apposite. It makes no sense but it is true.
3 It would get Regina everything she ever wanted.

4 Snow white would go insane claw out her own eyes and fall over dead. Upon finding out they wear a couple and kissing.

Now I still do not see this happening but I Love being the Devils Advocate.

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So instead of starting a new poll, given all the free time I just happened to have, I decided to tally the sentiments of the users who commented on this article. The numbers below are the number of unique users belonging to each category:

Pro-Swan Queen = 45
Users who admit they are SQ shippers, love the idea of an SQ ship or are just rooting for Regina and Emma to end up together in the end.

Anti-Swan Queen = 11
Users who hate/dislike the idea of an SQ ship, who think it will ruin the show, will stop watching if SQ comes to pass

Not a Swan Queen shipper but wouldn't mind it if SQ did happen = 10
Users who are shipping other ships (Captain Swan, Swan Fire, Rumbelle, Sleeping Warrior), or don't belong to a ship at all, but aren't opposed to Swan Queen from happening

Not against Swan Queen but doesn't see it or doesn't see it happening = 17
Users who despite having seen the show and this article still don't see how SQ is a thing, or even if they do see it, they don't see it progressing beyond fan fiction

Indeterminate = 37
Users who, based on their posts in this article, haven't made clear where they stand exactly regarding an SQ ship. Some of the users here commented on the race issue alone and not on the Regina/Emma dynamic.

*Of course the numbers above are simply based on my interpretation of the comments provided by everyone below. I'd give a margin of error of +/- 5 to give allowance to my misinterpreting any of the comments given.
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Before I get into this, something that turned out to be a very long response to your questions, I would like to thank you for your never ending support, your articles on Swan Queen and your reviews each week. Your reviews give me a laugh that is often needed, the subtext analysis I wanted and the chance to give my opinions and answer your always amazing questions. I thank you for the questions that let me voice a response I would never have thought of had you not asked them. Just thank you. :)

... Regina and Emma: Intentionally getting a subtext in Season 3?

I think that Kitsis and Horowitz are playing up the Swan Queen subtext this year. They have seen how influential “Swen” can be and I think that because of all that happened at SDCC especially, and the aftermath of that, they are playing it up with no intention to go anywhere with it. I believe they are doing this to keep those of us who don’t feel like continuing the show a lot of the time. I am one of those people so I know what it is like to almost stop watching only to be dragged back in. I watched the panel at NYCC with Jennifer Morrison and because of what she said, I felt like I should probably give season three a chance. I did and I was disappointed. This leading into the next question you have asked.

... Mulan and Aurora: Any hope of a happy ending there? Or at least a freaking follow-up episode?

Oh how I wish there was. They thwarted us with that one, I am an avid Sleeping Warrior shipper alongside Swan Queen and I felt as if they played that one up too much. They thought that they’d give us an almost canon LGBT character only to completely destroy it within seconds, not even giving Mulan the chance to admit her love to Aurora. This gave the people who do not feel there is room for LGBT romance, or the homophobic viewers, the chance to interpret that in their own way. For them to say “Mulan was about to admit her love for Philip!” Sarah Bolger and Jamie Chung are great advocates for Sleeping Warrior, Bolger does love Aurora/Philip also which isn’t a bad thing at all! I support so many hetero ships on the show as long as they’re not being completely ridiculous. For example, Snowing. I ship them as long as they’re not preaching that Regina is evil, or that Regina is a bad mother, or that Regina ruined all of their lives. And I can even say I shipped Swan Fire for a hot second until around the end of Tallahassee.

They said to us that we would be happy with something LGBT related by the end of the first part of the season, but all they have done is disappoint us all. They need to do a follow-up episode at least because there is no way I will accept Mulan just moving on and nothing happening with them. Any hope of a happy ending? We shall see. Hopefully.

... Do you think ratings would take a nose dive if Regina and Emma became a thing, or do you think it'd find a ton of support? Was the show testing the waters with Mulan, or just throwing fans a bone?

I do not think the ratings would fall, at least not enough to affect much in the scheme of things. I believe that Regina and Emma getting together would really boost the amount of people watching the show. I’ve seen many people who think Regina and Emma are together on tumblr because of the fandom, only to watch for a few episodes and realise they are not. This causes people to stop watching. I think they could easily stay on the air should they ever become a thing.

With Mulan, I think you could say it is a little bit of both. Maybe not testing the waters for Swan Queen (well, who knows, they could be) but for a possible female love interest for Mulan who isn’t Aurora. Who that would be, I’m unsure. I’d like to theorise that Rapunzel could happen, although it is highly unlikely. I think juxtaposed to testing the waters, they were just throwing us a bone. However, they may not have thought it through well enough. There are Swan Queen Shippers out there, those of whom do not ship Sleeping Warrior. There are those of us who do. But giving the fandom the littlest bit of a lesbian pairing wasn’t something they should have done, or should have built up to give us false expectations.

... OUATand race: What's up with that?

I don’t even know. This is a recurring problem that they have and I feel as if they really need to step back and take a look at what they portray on their show. White, cis gendered, heterosexual characters mainly. Very few POC’s (Regina and Mulan being the only (?) two with roles still) are on the show and when there is a POC, they are either killed off after one episode or a few more, or they’re evil or they disappear for good (Sidney Glass). I have a problem with this show and I love it, I do but they need to re-evaluate some things that they should have gone through in detail and realised, before airing the show in the beginning.

... Has a work of fiction (especially a televised one) ever changed your beliefs about something?

I have to admit, Glee changed a lot of my beliefs in life. I grew up in a very homophobic, racist, bigoted etc place, still living here now actually and when I was 13 I hadn’t a clue about much. To this day, I have still never seen two women, or two men kiss that hasn’t been in a game of “Spin the Bottle”. I have seen very few LGBT relationships, it is rare for me to see a POC even when I am out from morning to night. When I was 13, it was likely I would be confused if I had seen POC’s or a gay relationship and I watched Glee not realising that even though I would come to dislike it and stop watching at 15/16, it will change how I view people and things in life.

It gave me a place to look when I was confused about what something meant, it gave me a place to look to see people of colour, people who were gay, people who had the same problems as I did. And I thank Glee every day because of that.

Had Once Upon a Time been the show I’d gone to at 13 instead of Glee, I would never be the person I am today. Or it would have taken a much longer time to get to this place where I am fully accepting of each and every person on Earth. Now of course, I ship a lot of LGBT characters and watching shows with LGBT characters, main characters and POC’s as main characters
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Lily, I just saw a news article that made me think of your review....evidently, Michael Coleman (he plays Happy on OUaT....I had to look that up....) had some VERY negative comments about SwanQueen shippers, and the shows exec producers, Lana Parilla, and Jennifer Morrison were NOT amused....

Here is one of the articles about it....fascinating stuff!

http://www.justjared.com/2013/12/23/jennifer-morrison-fires-back-over-swan-queen-twitter-drama/
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I think that the writers should move the relationships of the characters in the natural course they are taking. I personally never saw a spark between Regina and Emma in a romantic sense, so I don't really see them going that route. I know you've pointed to incidents where Regina was invading Emma's personal space, but I feel like she does that with most of the other characters (I think it might be a European thing in real life to stand closer to people than people in the US do). Any other hints SwanQueen fans have pointed out, I can understand the view, but I just don't feel that connection that I feel whenever Emma and Hook banter with each other. If things were different, and I saw that same spark between them, then I'd be all for it.

That being said, it would be awesome to have a LGBT romantic relationship develop over the course of the show. With Mulan, the writers kinda just threw that at us out of nowhere. I also didn't see any romantic connection between Mulan and Aurora. Perhaps instead, one of the current main or secondary characters might meet someone of the same sex and feel an instant connection with sometime next season. Now that I'm thinking about it, I could see Regina and Tinkerbell's relationship gradually develop into a romantic one possibly. I'd have to see it play out though.

I get that making the two main characters of the show LGBT is a risky thing in the present day, although I wish that it wasn't. But I do think that there's enough fan support to keep the show going strong. I just want the LGBT relationship to feel natural and have lots of chemistry, and not just thrown together for the sake of having one.
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Having read a great many comments on this page I feel that there is little I can say that hasn't already been said and re-said. However, I do feel that there are a few points I would like to add my voice to.

Firstly, I feel that many people here are thinking of sexuality in the wrong way. The point has been made that both Emma and Regina have only chosen male sexual partners in the past and therefor are unattracted to the same sex. It is true that they have only had male consorts, however, sexuality is a spectrum. No one is completely gay or completely straight. There are in fact bi-sexual people in this world too. I don't see past patterns as an argument against future possibilities. Even if they did become sexually involved that wouldn't mean that they now don't find men attractive. I just feel that some people have not thought on this topic enough.

I also feel the awkwardness of the producers here. They plainly stated that this was not their intent, yet a rather impressive portion of the fan base is shipping SwanQueen. They don't want to cave in to viewer pressure either way and want to tell their own story... however, their job is also to please their viewership... of which many are getting bored. I feel that even if it was unitended it is here now and people are talking about it. There will come a point when the SwanQueen shippers will lose interest or the producers will have to admit that this is happening. This holding pattern of subtext and denial can't last forever. It seems to me like they are just throwing men at the two women to see who sticks. That might actually backfire and end up backing both characters (who have many commonalities, not the least of which is a shared magical connection accompanied by frequent lessons) into a corner where the only meaningful relationship to persue would be with each other. That would be irony at it's finest.

Anyway, just some of my thoughts.
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Except, you know, Regina is Emma's step-grandmother, so, that'd be creepy. Also, Regina is a person of color? She looks pretty white to me. Please explain.
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That step-grandmother thing doesn't really stick. For one, Regina never considered herself Snow's mother, there is a difference of probably 8 years between them, maybe less depending on how old Regina is supposed to be when she saved Snow. Second, I don't really think there was any kind of sexual relationship between her and Snow's father, he wanted someone to be good to his daughter and be at his side as royalty would see fit. BUT, if there was any kind of sexual relationship, I can't see it as being consensual, being Regina a 16 to 18 year old girl and her husband in his 50s (or probably more if his face is anything to go by).
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Really? Then how about the fact that Hook had slept with Henry's grandmother? I see no one yell "creepy" when Emma kissed Hook. By the way, Lana Parrilla is LATINA. She's half Puerto Rican half Italian.
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Now that you mention it, that's kind of creepy too. In fact, the whole everyone is somehow related everyone thing makes a lot of the potential relationships on this show pretty creepy. Thinking about it now, Neal is competing for Emma with Hook, the man with whom his mother cheated on his father. That's actually super creepy. The more I think about Hook and Baelfire/Neal's relationship, the creepier it gets. Also, I clearly didn't know Lana Parrilla was half Hispanic. That's why I asked. No need to shout.
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I sure swanqueen will never happen, a least not the way of them be together as a couple. But I think the writers will continue giving us the "Unintentionally" subtext to infinity and beyond. One thing that would be awesome, is if one the actors Lana or JMO, should do it like Lucy Lawless in Xena. Do or say things specially for the swanqueen shippers.
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I love Swan Queen myself but I'm afraid that I don't think it will ever happen which is hugely disappointing.
Throwing Mulan at us felt like a half-assed attempt to appease a particularly vocal fan-base without bothering to delve any deeper into important but, in their eyes, possibly risky storytelling.
OUaT has a chance with Swan Queen to create a story that could inspire countless LGBT people who are just looking for a little hope and acceptance. Will they do it? Probably not,
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I think I'm viewing this quite differently to how I thought I would. I like seeing strong female characters with depth and history. I like seeing people who aren't defined by their current romantic relationship. I like seeing natural connections.
I don't like people being tethered to one another and losing what makes them them. I don't like the resulting relationship being the central focus of the series. Suddenly it's all about the typical cliched relationship woes. Sometime life is just a series of events you have to traverse and you don't get time to do the 'normal' stuff.
I think a relationship for either of these strong women either with each other or with anyone else would diminish them as characters. It's the intimation of a relationship (romantic or otherwise) that's compelling. If two women can't be strong without joining together as a couple what does that say about women in general? That we're nothing alone? I like enjoying these people for who they are - I don't want Hook to lose his edge now he's a lovesick puppy, I don't want Regina to soften, I don't want Emma to lose her strength and ingenuity. They are who they are and a relationship will change that cos they don't know how to write a relationship where you still get to be you yet. There's a standard way they write it and it ruins everyone by the end.
The insinuation however small or in your face is what keeps you coming back. The intricate dynamics will have you hooked.
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They should let the sub-text build over the rest of the season to become less, umm, sub, then end the season finale with a kiss between them, such as after a big magical event when they joined magical forces to take down Pan or something similar.

If they did it at the very end the entire time between seasons could be used to let the debate run, then at the start of season 4 we could see if they are willing to let it run it's course or if they caved to criticism.
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I'd watch it but I think it would still be a long journey for it to actually work (for the non-shippers I mean). It could definitely be something after a couple of more seasons, when Neal and Hook plots have had half a conclusion. I think just writing them off now would not be good storytelling. Also, Hook is pretty much my favourite character at the moment, not to mention that O'Donoghue and Raymond-James are two very hot guys. I need to see how this triangle developes. In the end though, there definitely could be true love between the two moms.
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spoken like a true rhombus shipper!
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As far as LGBT representation, they had a chance with Mulan and shot it down immediately. I don't get why they bothered. I don't think if a gay relationship was introduced, the audience would freak out like some think. I don't know if an Emma/Regina ship should happen or not. I've always seen the emotion between them as antagonists, polar opposites. I say do what works for the overall story, whatever that may be.
I totally agree with POC getting shafted. I was looking for more characters in season 1. Sidney Glass stayed for awhile but he was not a major character. The fairy godmother was black and lasted, like, two seconds? And you're right, they added more non-white characters but they either haven't lasted or have been bad guys. Get with the times, OUAT
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I agree with you that OUAT is aggressively hetero, plus hostile to its nonwhite characters. Mebbe it's unconscious. Although--- in TV land? Today? Really?

But all the signs point against a SwanQueen 'ship: although Emma and Regina are flawed opposites in competition for Henry (and put together they don't equal one good mother), dramatic tension does not necessarily translate to romantic tension. How could either one ever trust the other and be friends, much less lovers? Think about it. Even after cooperating to eventually save Henry, even if magic went away forever, Regina is still a scary ruthless murderer and Emma still the emotionally stunted daughter of R's worst enemy. They might at best achieve a detente for Henry's sake. Plus, both characters are historically hetero-- they even competed for the sheriff's affections. So I'm not "I don't see a mouse here" but "This critter I do see doesn't have four legs, a tail, or fur."

OTOH, the characters are only occasionally consistent, and the plot only accidentally plausible, so the writers might do ANYTHING. But I have no confidence they'd write a happily ever after for a gay couple, and none of us need to see a doomed gay relationship.

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I actually wish they had written the show a little more grey to allow for a Swan Queen ship, but I don't think they have, and here's why:

If you're going to say Emma shouldn't be with Neal because he abandoned her, then you have to be consistent and say the same for Regina. Regina is the reason that Emma was an orphan, has walls a mile high, didn't feel she could be a mother to Henry, and had such low self esteem that living in a dirty motel room with a man nearly twice her age still seems to her like the best life choice she's made.

I had my very first boyfriend, first love, first everything, at age 14. I loved him the way you can really only love when you're 14 because of the perfect storm of powerful hormones, total naivete, incomplete self image, acute Disney-itis, etc. As is usually the case in these stories, he cheated on me, repeatedly, publicly, shamelessly, and made me look like a total idiot. It was crushing beyond description. Over a decade later, we ran into each other and he started telling me what a fool he'd been, how he wished he could take it all back, that he knew I was the true love of his life. He started talking about all these things 14 year-old me did for him as though that was still what he expected - that time wouldn't have changed me, that I wouldn't have grown up, that he really dug that doormat-type and just wanted me to revert to the most painful and stupid part of adolescence, into the girl he loved.

Apart from the pity I felt in his showing a horrifying lack of growth (seriously, he was a teenager then and is now in his 30s... Jesus H.), it really pissed me off. It pissed me off because HE had destroyed what HE was now missing. I will never be that person again because of HIM. I will never be totally open, blindly trusting and giving. In a perfect world I would still be able to love with the reckless abandon of a 14 year-old, but in this world, he proved to me that you can't love that way. It costs too much and people are rarely worthy of complete trust.

The point is, for Emma to embrace Regina as a lover would mean she was clinging to her abuser (as much as embracing Neal). It would mean the person who caused her pain, the person who made it impossible for her to trust and love, the person who robbed her of a family and stability and the skills to raise the son she loves, the person who a few days (weeks? whatev) ago was willing to crush Snow's heart and make Emma lose her mother TWICE - that person would be her true love. That's sick. That's like telling present-day me to run back into the arms of someone who made me incapable of love without fear. It's self-flaggelation.

If they had written Regina more thoughtfully in the beginning, there might still be room for a Swan Queen relationship that wasn't completely horrifying in its implications. As it stands now, her options seem to be Archie or long lost Red.
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I agree that if the show depicted relationships as they go in real life, then no swanfire or swanqueen would be possible. But as it is, Swanfire was very possible (except now he's dead, good riddance), and Regina has shown a HUGE growth in this season. Snow has forgiven her, Charming has forgiven her, they all seem to be a big happy family when there's no apocalypse approaching them. Emma seems to be the only inconsistent one regarding Regina. She was a fierce protector of her (for Henry, of course) by the end of the first season and beggining of the second. And now that Regina's had so much development, Emma is starting petty fights with her, calling her a monster and wanting to taking her child away to New York.
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Though I get your point...but logically, according to the storyline, just because Emma doesn't belong with Neal, it doesn't mean she also doesn't belong with Regina, or couldn't belong with Regina. Neal's relationship with Emma is a write-off, for all the reasons you're articulating really quite beautifully, but there is still room for redemption and healing between Emma and Regina. Going back to the pilot and seeing how their relationship progresses is a very different thing from Neal/Emma. It's paralleled only by Rumbelle and Snowing.
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I just have seen a lot of people say that Emma shouldn't choose Neal because of how he treated her, but they aren't saying that about Regina (who has treated her far worse).

The way the writers have (un)developed these characters would make it really easy for Regina to just apologize for her homicidal psychopathy, have the Charmings forgive her while Snow chin-quiveringly whispers "I knew there was good in you," and then have Emma fall in love with her. In fact, I totally wish that would happen because it would be the first interesting thing to happen on this show in about 2 years. But the SQ shippers also have to concede that Neal could proffer a similar apology and be as deserving of forgiveness as Regina. That's just for those who are saying that SwanQueen makes more sense or is more morally acceptable than an Emma-Neal pairing. I frankly think they are both horrible.

If we are talking about the less serious but equally as valid assertion that shipping SwanQueen simply makes the series more interesting and watchable, then hell yes, everyone do what you need to do to swallow this crappy show. There is something very comforting about a routine. Something about pouring a glass of wine after dinner on a Sunday night and devoting an hour to something familiar, even when that something is SO STUPID IT MAKES YOUR EYES BLEED IN PROTEST. So whatever spoonful of sugar helps people take the bitter medicine that OUaT has become, more power to you! :) For me, it's focusing on Robert Carlyle's beautiful mouth. Internal monologue: *Don't listen to the words, brain. Just watch the lips move.*
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Intent, is a huge factor in the way that both Regina and Neal have treated Emma.
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Just revisiting this wonderful, fascinating discussion. We're finally seeing a wee bit of rancor/arrogance in some comments, and I love how people are calling it and then letting it go, rather than spending much time on it.

BTW, saying 'I don't see it, so therefore it doesn't exist' is never a persuasive argument. As an example: 'I think I saw a mouse in the living room;' and someone else responds 'I didn't see a mouse in the living room; therefore there is no mouse in the living room'. There's really no point in the response, and it's more obstructive than persuasive.

But the vast majority of comments are still really interesting and respectful. Ain't this discourse a super-cool example of the importance of art in human affairs?? (Pun sorta intended ;-)
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OMG! I never thought about it but its true! Their relationship is building wonderfully and would make more sense than that stupid Mulan twist. If they want to fill their LGBT quota, this is it. I don't know if people are ready for the leads being gay though. The relationship is so complex they don't need to be explicit... its the moments...just like you said.

Either that or I can really see them heading into BFF ville once they get over their Frienemy issues.
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I really dislike pieces like this that try to push LGBT on viewers simply because there isn't enough LGBT people on TV. I have no issue with anyone's sexual preference but it only works when it actually FITS THE STORY (Dumbledore being gay was really irrelevant to the story but it wasn't a stretch)!
Let me first try to educate you on something. All Disney fairytales are built on older "Eurasian" mythology which is in itself predicated on how nature interacts. So long long ago when these stories were first thought up, different aspects of nature was given a human characteristic of male or female based on which gender it most reveals. Then stories were made up on how they interacted with each other. Since nature is predominately dependent on the male + female dichotomy, mythology is also based on this same concept.
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A couple things:

1. I think you should consider for a moment how your enjoyment of TV would change if heterosexuality was the minority sexual orientation. What it would be like to almost never see a heterosexual couple onscreen in network television and never, ever in movies. And even when you just wanted to believe a couple who didn't have love interests (like, say, Mulder & Scully) were sort of into each other, just because it made the show more fun to watch for you, if everybody you encountered was like "UGH stop PUSHING HETEROSEXUALITY on PEOPLE! GROSS!!!!"
Doesn't that sound like a nightmare?

2."So long long ago when these stories were first thought up, different aspects of nature was given a human characteristic of male or female based on which gender it most reveals. "
Hey, you know what was also common long long ago in the European/UK/Scandinavian areas where this fairy tale mythology Disney draws on was primarily developed?: people having a life expectancy of 29 years of age, the feudal system, childbirth killing 30-40% of moms, regular and thorough visitations of the plague wiping out entire communities, a total lack of democracy, face boils the size of turnips, etc. I mean, don't get me wrong the clothes were great, but a lot of the "dynamics" then simply do not apply now and OUAT is supposed to be a mash up of fairy tale characters & the real world.

3. go through my author profile and find one other piece where I argue for more, more, more!!!!! LGBT representation. Unfortunately you won't find one because my eyes have been woefully shut to this issue until I started wondering why OUAT was suppressing this pairing and the light dawned on me. I am not pushing anything on anyone, I am analyzing specifically one couple in this show, and you should as well- this isn't college and larger discussions that make broad brush statements about "nature" are always going to draw on pseudoscience , because frankly out understanding of nature is still a work in progress (hence the public debate about issues as simple as the concept of global warming)

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Lily,
You make very good points, except Mythology dates before the black plague and my guess was propagated by the Indo-Europeans as they spread through Eurasia. That means they likely fed Sumerian/Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek, Celtic, & Germanic Mythology.
Anyways, my core premise is do not change the basic aspects of OUaT because it borrows from mythology which borrows from nature. To change a major relationship would, in essence, violate the laws of nature. To clarify really quickly, homosexuality is very present in mythology as two "male" or "female" aspects of nature can interact with each other. Rarely though do these "interactions" represent core relationship; roughly translated they may have a opposite sex spouse but they dabble with the same sex.
From a plot perspective, both these characters have never given any inclinations of homosexuality or bisexuality....though Regina's obsession with Snow is borderline. That aspects makes it tough to transition. More importantly though is the fact that Regina/Emma, if you look deeper, are really two halves of a whole or two halves of 1 person. So it is of no wonder that people think they would make a good couple. Then if they were to do that would mean self-incest.
Henry is the perfect combination of Dark (Neal son of Rumple) & Light (Emma daughter of Snow). Regina is also the product of Dark (daughter of Cora). When dark and light mixed they produced Henry, which is why he is so significant. Now Henry is the son of two mothers, Regina (daughter of Dark) & Emma (daughter of Light). It's not really a stretch to combine these two in the form of Chinese symbol Yin/Yang. So as I said, Regina & Emma are really two metaphors for two aspects of 1 person. It really would not make sense to put them into a sexual relationship. That said, a friendship between the two would bring balance. Since Light/Dark are seldom ever in balance and are usually at war with each other, these two are never likely to get too close.
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What? I'm sorry, but constructing 'nature' as male/female is biological essentialism that went out the window sometime around the late 1940s. Have you read Donna Haraway's work? You really should. And until you do, you might check your arrogant need to 'educate' everybody on gender, sexuality and representation.
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I am not educating people on gender or sexuality. I am trying to educate people that mythology is based on NATURE! To change the mythology means mythology no longer mimics nature.
Nature takes a male and female to reproduce in a majority of things I am sorry if this concept offends you.
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As someone who's apparently never heard of Zeus and Ganymede, Appollo and Hyacinth, Archilles and Patroclus, Hercules and Iolaus, Cúchulainn and Ferdiadh, you maybe shouldn't be so quick to educate others on mythology. Loki is a gender-switching, shape shifting pansexual who fathers a wolf and a snake and gives birth to an eight legged horse, but sure, keep telling yourself that mythology is based on NATURE, that is a totally convincing argument.
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Lets take a quick look at the story of Snow White. Snow White represent light which in the spectrum of human eyesight has 7 colors or dwarves. The evil queen in this represents Dark or also the material (body). Dark is jealous of light and wants to take over so it puts light to sleep. This is the basic state we humans are all born into. We are born into material bodies with "light" within us. Over time, at least for most of us, we loose sight of our inner light and become just creatures of flesh. But hey, its just a story right?
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Fine, don't engage with my argument. I wasn't really expecting a productive debate anyway.
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One of the easiest examples of a creature of mythology being completely based on nature is the DRAGON.
The basic concept of a Dragon is it lies dormant, lives in a mountains, hordes gold, and is very destructive when it finally wakes.
Lets take these basic aspects and apply it to a volcano. Volcanos are mountains that lay dormant, contain gold, and when they wake they destroy the local landscape.
No if you truly examine mythology you will find a very accurate description of the environment wrapped in very eloquent story telling. It's as if they wanted to pass down this knowledge of nature in a way people could remember, but only the initiated could truly interpret.
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“We’re trying to do our own take on fairy tales and that mythology and try to create our own mythology." -Kitsis

Quotes like this are why parts of the audience want to see more diversity within the relationships (myself included). I agree that it doesn't need to be forced, but I feel, based on Kitsis-Horowitz's quotes, that it deserves screen time.
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They aren't really making there own mythos though. They stick to the basic parameters of their core material and building from there.
Besides the Queen is obsessed with Snow White not Emma.
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well which is it? are they tied to essentialist constructions of a binary gender system (which are mainly eurocentric, given that the Navajo have 4 genders, some Cree language categories list 8, how many more examples do you need? oh and 'in nature' some animals eat their own young so I still don't get your other point) OR are they building on the fairytales...ok, you're saying they're sticking with the parameters. So Ariel must lose her legs again and lose her human Prince, that'll be sad! Oh, no, wait, I'm sorry I skipped that part in the original story where she went to Neverland (wtf?) and had a chat with the now retired Evil Queen of the Enchanted forest after having stabbed her in the neck with a fork years before. Also, Mulan is in love with Sleeping friggin Beauty. I missed that in the original Disney movie. What is your real problem getreal? Does a made-up character (Emma Snow) and her potential romantic relationship with a now re-made character (the now-retired Evil Queen turned Mayor of a made-up town) really threaten your beloved childhood fables? Are you even watching this absurd show? Do the 'basic parameters' include The Queen of Hearts shagging Captain Hook or the Evil Queen having a 'complicated history' with Tinkerbell?
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Sorry, I wasn't making a case for Emma/Regina (though I have no problem with them being together, if the writers so choose). I was simply stating that, based on the creators comments, more diversity should be included, but it's not at the moment.
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Although they are building upon an already constructed mythology, built by Disney, they have at times gone into a realm that is a little darker than what many viewers have grown up with. This is why many of the audience would like for the story line to follow the progression of the characters, wherever that might lead. Any writer or creator knows that the story/creation sometimes takes on a life of their own and when you try to stifle that natural progression you get stilted/ forced relationships.
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That's what I wanted to say. Thank you :)
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Wouldn't it be really cool if the writers, intentionally, meant for the basis of the show to be "Snow took away Regina's first love but has now provided her with her true love"? Talk about a fairy tale.
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Aww shit this theory is the best. I read this and literally laughed aloud at its brilliance.
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Over-thinking
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thinking about representation is what some people do for a living. They're called writers, directors, actors, etc. believing that what happens on screen is unintentional is just deliberate ignorance.
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Ok, thanks for explaining it to me. I said over-thinking because I think this theory is a really big stretch. I'm sorry I spoke, I'll sit down now.
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Please do sit.
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Thanks :) I am. Later on I will stand, then I'll probably lie down.
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I completely missed this one, and even now its been pointed out to me, I still don't see it. I'm not against gay relationships, and it doesn't pose a problem for me. I just don't really feel this one. Hook and Emma definitely have a thing. And while I don't like Regina and Robin just being thrown at each other, we haven't seen them in a scene together either. I called Mulan/Aurora back in season 2, so that reveal felt right. But I've never seen anything between Emma and Regina that would make me think that, even now that I'm looking for it.
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I'm not saying people can't be rooting for them. Would definately make the show more interesting ;) A lot of people seem to be pushing for it. I'm just saying I don't see it. If other people do, that's great. I'd be a fan if it happened though.
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Hey, that's cool. And I'm not saying if you aren't rooting for this couple you're homophobic or something. Personally I never was into Ross and Rachel. We all just have our pairings that we care about. But I don't think its fair to tell someone else rooting for a pairing "No, sorry no, stop thinking that way." I mean, we're all enjoying watching the same show. People have all kinds of crazy theories about where OUAT is going- that's the point of the show, its supposed to make you wonder and pull you along and engage the audience's expectations, like BSG or LOST. And honestly the show is seeding in a subtext- Dark Hollow was quite a blatant example.
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Don't worry, you're not alone. I mean Mulan, sure; everyone saw that coming and good on the show for having their gay character - regardless of whether it's the one Surette wanted. Mind you, he has a strange obsession with the LGBT community - he's over on the Revolution reviews obsessing that Miles and Munroe are also gay lovers; yet most others can't see it there anymore than we can here. However this is the first time he's gone this bonkers about it.......

No doubt he'll be saying the same about Dracula soon; seeing as Harker and Dracula have stood closer than 12 feet to each other and actually held the other's gaze whilst talking - apparently from Surette's reasoning that's straight up gay right there.

As it happens I have two gay cousins - one homosexual and one lesbian - whom I'm very close to. They've seen both OUAT and Revolution and I put Surette's theory to both of them; when they stopped laughing they said that if you used Surette's theory every time two same gender people who're extremely close (for various reasons, such as Revolution and OUAT), it was likely the entire world was gay.

They doubted the ultra conservative right wing in the US would be thrilled at that prospect.....'man cave' takes on a whole new meaning at that point (and this was where we all fell about laughing again).

However I await with amused interest the backlash he'll get when he tries his 'reasoning' of what constitutes a gay attraction/relationship on Sons of Anarchy......now that backlash will be fun to witness.

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It's not just here I've seen it though. I read a couple reviews for OUAT and they all seem to have a lot of "SwanQueen" shippers. But it's good to know that I'm not the only who's not seeing it.
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katpup: I agree, I have no problem with it being there if it was. It'd be nice to see such a different storyline for a change. But not every show is going to have the 'gay couple' in it. Surette is obsessed with it though and is desperately trying to convince everyone that Miles and Munroe are also gay over on Revolution. I just think it completely dismisses people who do have really close and loving friendships, regardless of whether they're the same or opposite genders, without sex or romantic love being involved. It basically calls them liars and that's so wrong. As for OUAT I doubt this will ever gay couples in it as it's not that sort of show - still I'm more than happy to be proved wrong.
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Just because YOU don't see it and you happen to have two gay friends who don't see it, doesn't discredit the thousands of viewers who do see it (and who also may be straight or male or from any demographic since this group is a pretty diverse one)
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oh my god Tracy that is so offensive. I am a bisexual woman and I see it. Please stop. Stop trying to use a sample space of 2 gay people to speak for everyone. Given they're in your family they may be more likely to share your more reserved view of relationships despite being gay, who knows.
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Reginamills, please read my post - they're not friends, they're family. And as gay people then surely their 'gaydar' is going to be working better than anyone's? However, just because you DO see 'it', please don't discredit the thousands of viewers like me and Aeidail who don't see it (and who also may be straight or male and from any demographic since this group is a pretty diverse one).......see my point; this goes both ways. So please don't be so angry just because people don't see things from your point of view - even gay people......who, in my case, are FAMILY.
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Not saying anyone's right or wrong. Everyone interprets things differently. I'm just saying, I don't see it. If you do that's great. Would make the show much more interesting to watch if it did happen though. And Henry could add yet another confusing and really hard to explain line on his family tree ;)
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Yeah, but the fact that the writers have one half of the swan queen "ship" tied up in a love triangle and the other half "destined" to Robin Hood kind of does. Just because YOU don't agree with a comment doesn't make YOU correct. I admit, the are many a comment here that agree with YOUR point of view. But let's be honest, can you really see OUAT taking the swan queen route. If they did, it would be pretty awesome. One small step for OUAT, one giant leap for abc-kind. I'd be all for it. BUT COME ON, it's not happening. If I be wrong, may lightning strike me where I sit...Nope...still here!
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Can't we just have a femliason?
Get hooked on the budding strong friendship of two females that doesn't include boyfriend discussion or any other romantic plot?
Why is there only the term "bromance" I ask you. Why do only Charming and Hook get one?
What of we girls?
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Sorry kou_shun_u; apparently Surette believes that two people cannot have platonic relationships - even same genders have to be gay. Sad but oh so true. Personally I'd like to just ignore his 'theory' and look at the show from a less....unusual perspective. To me I think opposite genders and same genders can definitely have deep friendships that doesn't include the usual subjects. It happens in the real world, why not on TV for a change? Not everything has to lead to romance.
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What's sad is that we're told that when two women or two men fall in love or could fall in love on our on-screen shows, those characters should A. stay friends (otherwise they're just being smutty which WHYYYYY omg there just are NOT enough platonic same-sex relationships on television todaaaaaay) and B. as viewers we shouldn't 'read into it' and the characters should just be friends because otherwise we're being 'unusual' in our readings and making other people 'uncomfortable' and blahblahblah. Aren't there enough straight couples for you on once upon a time? I mean you get the mermaid and the dude with the nose, you get rumpel and belle, you get whale and ruby, you get a newly resurrected prince guy with a woman who isn't even hooking up with mulan, you get snow white and charming, you get grumpy and a fairy...how much longer does this damned list go on for...hook/tink, neal/tink, plus all that stupid 'love' triangle stuff...we want ONE couple who happen to be total add-ons for Disney, so no skin off their nose. I'm not letting comments like yours stick without some rebuttal. The 'unusual' thing is really offensive.
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So you, like Surette, believe that there is no such thing as a platonic friendship, regardless of gender? If two women are extemely close then they're obviously lesbians, if male - their homosexual? I actually have TWO gay cousins - one homosexual and one lesbian. They have other gay friends and straight friends - some of which they're extremely close with. I can assure you there's no romances there - not a single one. My lesbian cousin is true to her partner and my gay cousin is still looking for a boyfriend.
That is the point both me and kou_shun_u are making. Just because the friendships are extremely close and same sex - DOESN'T make them gay romantic relationships. I actually think my gay cousins would take offence at your insistence it does. My lesbian cousin read Surette's burble and thought it was ridiculous. You will find Surette does this a lot - most recently with Revolution.
Perhaps speaking to gay people might put a different perspective on it for you; having gay family members I'm very close to certainly made me aware of how offensive the PC take, and some people's obsession with the gay world, can make things for the GLBT community.
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Yup, what she said.

The test I refer to is the Bechdel Test. There appearently is a spinoff of it for the LGBT community called the Russo Test.

This was inspired by Virginia Woolf who wrote in one of her essays in 1929 on this, what I brought up exactly:

“Chloe liked Olivia,” I read. And then it struck me how immense a change was there. Chloe liked Olivia perhaps for the first time in literature. Cleopatra did not like Octavia. And how completely Antony and Cleopatra would have been altered had she done so! As it is, I thought, letting my mind, I am afraid, wander a little from Life’s Adventure, the whole thing is simplified, conventionalized, if one dared say it, absurdly. Cleopatra’s only feeling about Octavia is one of jealousy. Is she taller than I am? How does she do her hair? The play, perhaps, required no more. But how interesting it would have been if the relationship between the two women had been more complicated. All these relationships between women, I thought, rapidly recalling the splendid gallery of fictitious women, are too simple. So much has been left out, unattempted. And I tried to remember any case in the course of my reading where two women are represented as friends. There is an attempt at it in Diana of the Crossways. They are confidantes, of course, in Racine and the Greek tragedies. They are now and then mothers and daughters. But almost without exception they are shown in their relation to men…
Also, I continued, looking down at the page again, it is becoming evident that women, like men, have other interests besides the perennial interests of domesticity.
“Chloe liked Olivia. They shared a laboratory together…” I read on and discovered that these two young women were engaged in mincing liver, which is, it seems, a cure for pernicious anaemia: although one of them was married and had—I think I am right in stating—two small children. Now all that, of course, has had to be left out, and thus the splendid portrait of the fictitious woman is much too simple and much too monotonous. Suppose, for instance, that men were only represented in literature as the lovers of women, and were never the friends of men, soldiers, thinkers, dreamers; how few parts in the plays of Shakespeare could be allotted to them: how literature would suffer!”


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Exactly! And its definately way worse for females on tv and movies. In fact I beleive there is some kinda test out there that rates on this factor.
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PRECISELY! Women don't have to fall into acquaintances or 'mean girls' catagories - why can't women have the sort of friendships that are thisclose without sex being involved? Why can't men? i think it's ridiculous and completely insulting to both the straight and GLBT community.
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