One of my younger brothers – the oldest of the two – was a huge fan of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.
I despised the show. Of course, but I was about 16 at the time, so I hated everything. Still, the cartoons of the 80s were particularly bad, weren’t they? Most were clearly 30 minute long commercials for toys and other licensing products and, in terms of quality, Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, Jem, and even the original Transformers paled in comparison to old-school Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry.
What sparked this memory is I hadn’t actually watched any He-Man since the 80s. At least until just recently, when I caught a bit of it and discovered … or first noticed … well, shall we say … the show is pretty … well … kinda overly …
It’s pretty gay. Really gay. G-A-Y, GAY.
There, I said it.
I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. I’m saying the show, whether intended or not, is super homoerotic, so much so that video remix artists regularly make fun of it on YouTube.
It’s no wonder that my bro, whom I love with all my heart, took a liking to it when he was a kid.
Am I calling my brother gay? You bet your sweet ass I am. He’s an out and proud gay cowboy living outside of Palm Springs and, unlike other gay men of his age, he made it. No amount of bullying can overcome the love of an entire family to surrounds an LGBT kid who is honest about who they are. When he finally admitted it to us, parents included, we expressed nothing but acceptance.
He’s lucky that way. We all are.
But now, only now do I understand how starved he was for strong fictional characters when he was a kid, ones that represented his experience. He latched on to what was available, and He-Man, his favorite by far, was the ultimate example: A half-naked, meathead weight lifter who fought for good against darkness; a one-man army, with his mighty tiger, who made the exuberantly effeminate Skeletor – oh, come on, you and I both know Skeletor was SUCH a girl! – consistently pay for his crimes against Eternia.
I can think of worse role models.
Just don’t ever ask me what happened to his Stretch Armstrong.
I haaave the POOW-AAAAH!