Anyone love “The Last Airbender” television shows? I am a fan of both! I really like how the Legend of Korra handled sexuality. As a show targeted to teenagers, and perhaps college students, sexuality couldn’t be avoided. It is an important part of many of our lives when we are growing up. The same goes for me. The intimate relationships in my life are precious.
The media tends to depict sexuality as if it were a spectacle. So many television series treat peoples looks with more importance than peoples interactions. Honestly intimate relationships are often left by the wayside.
The Legend of Korra takes a different approach. The relationships Korra engages with are key to the advancement of the plot. The people in her life become a part of how she overcomes the challenges she faces.
Tenzin and Toph are excellent examples. These characters tend to pick at the weaknesses and disadvantages Korra has. They force her to keep moving forward in her life even when she would rather get “stuck in the mud”. These characters help Korra find what she values in her relationships.
They also are a part of decisions she is forced into making, decisions that will effect the entire world. At times, she’s forced to rely on others just as much as herself to make those decision. This necessitates she foster resilient & powerful relationships with many different kinds of people.
I watched her struggle with this throughout all four seasons. At first, her intimate relationships were unrefined. Many of these relations, whether they were romantic or not, cracked under pressure as a result.
Guess which one of her relationships didn’t crack underneath the pressure? Her relationship with Asami of course! What I love most about this romance was how it was portrayed as conventional. No indication that this romance was foolhardy or mischievous in any way whatsoever.
This was a relationship that became a part of Korra’s life, where sharing the most intimate part of their lives together proved fruitful. This was conspicuously absent from her romance with Mako.
Although the intimacy with Korrasami is real and deep, their romance was not spelled out until the series finale. I think this was the perfect move. The viewers had already understood Korra as a fully realized avatar, a person who deserves respect regardless of circumstances.
This is precisely why many fans spoke out when they became aware the ending indicated a homosexual relationship. I can understand how being forced into treating homosexual relations with so much respect and dignity could have been shocking to some. Perhaps to the point of causing incredulity and/or animosity.
The depiction of homosexual relations here is unique; it is very organic. Rather than a spectacle, Korra’s relationships carry meaning from one season to the next. They do not consume her life; they are just a component of it.
Korra’s sexuality is constantly evolving, and her relationships reflect this. Labeling her as “gay” or “straight” simply wouldn’t suffice to describe her competently.
Korra is fluid and powerful; she engages with others regardless of gender and sex. Yet she is still like everyone else. She is still human.