Ben Mitchell, the BBC, and diversity

I’m going to do the unthinkable and blog about a soap opera!

Yes, i watch Eastenders. Sometimes it’s really good. The whole Stacey and Jean bipolar storyline has been the most powerful drama i can ever remember watching. Both Lacey Turner and Gillian Wright are incredible at acting, and they portrayed the story with heart-wrenching emotion.

Jean and Stacey

Sometimes Eastenders really annoys me. The Syed and Christian storyline has been bothering me for almost a year because apparently nobody has ever considered the possibility that Syed could be bisexual. I strongly disapprove of the notion that Syed has to choose between straight and gay, and having slept with Christian and enjoyed it, Syed is for evermore labelled as gay. This, as far as i am aware, is definitely not how sexuality works. Eastenders had the perfect opportunity to do a good bisexual character, and they messed it up time and time again.

Christian and Syed

My latest gripe has been with the Eastenders treatment of Ben Mitchell. Ben is an annoying winging kid whose whiney voice often gets me screaming at the television! (Do these kids go to acting school?!)

Ben Mitchell

But Ben had a moment of glory dancing to Love Games by Lady Gaga. I cheered at that. It’s not the first time we’ve seen Ben enjoy dancing and shunning “traditionally masculine” activities. Of course, everyone thought they saw exactly where the BBC was going with this. I saw where it might be going and hoped desperately that they weren’t about to do the obvious.

So it was with some frustration tonight that i saw Ben’s dad, Phil Mitchell, bring up the gay thing. Credit to the BBC they did the best thing for diversity that they possibly could do: effeminate flamboyant dancer Ben Mitchell fancies a girl! Hooray! Or is it?

Ben definitely played the pronoun game to start with. Whether that was for dramatic effect by the script writers or if they are paving the way for a future coming out for Ben, i don’t know. I sincerely hope they’re not going to fall prey to stereotypes and make Ben gay. I think there is so much more potential for Ben as a role model for young straight boys who are comfortable enough with their sexuality not to feel the need to be tough and act macho.

Which reminds me: BBC: don’t do this horrible “abused becomes abuser” thing that it looks like you’re about to do. Seriously, we don’t want to see it. Ben can be tough and strong without becoming a bully.

Thank you, that is all.

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67 comments on “Ben Mitchell, the BBC, and diversity

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  3. I cant watch eastenders im afraid, I can feel myself becoming depressed with all the doom and gloom as it goes on. It used to be best when grant and Phil ruled the square!!

  4. Good post, i do agree about some dramas and other episode conforming to single sexuality. Why not both? Some people need to be more open minded. Great stuff, keep on blogging!

  5. Ugh…not again…People should really just leave well enough alone with the whole issue of sexuality…as long as no one is getting hurt- who cares, right?

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  8. I like this show a lot, too. I never have time when it runs so mostly I watch it online. And yeah, that little kid got the most annoying voice.

  9. i cant comment on this too much as i dont watch this program or any other soaps to be procise,but there seems to be a guy person in every soap on the tv these days wats this about?

  10. I wish I could see the Eastenders in the USA, just to see what you're talking about. US soaps are pretty bad though, so count yourself fortunate if you don't get them in the UK.

  11. Good post before reading this post i don't have knowledge about that but now i will understand what it is but it is bad for kids please keep it in mind.Thanks

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  14. I agree that sexuality should not be so rigidly defined. Its a very complicated process. Heck theres even people who enjoy the company of horses…

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