Matthew’s Place
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Matthew’s Place

Is Wednesday Addams a Queer Icon?

By Christine Siamanta Kinori

Wednesday is an icon.

Jenna Ortega plays the goth, trouble-loving teenager with psychic powers perfectly in the latest Netflix series focusing on the young, Adams family daughter. In the series, she joins a supernatural boarding school hoping to find her place among people of her kind but somehow finds herself an even bigger outcast among other outcasts. As a result, a flood of social media users have been considering her representation of otherness as a way to think about the LGBTQ+ community.

In an interview, when asked why she thinks the fans view Wednesday as a queer icon, the show star, Jenna Ortega, said that she thinks she is because Wednesday is cool, badass, and with a unique sense of style. She adds that Wednesday embraces her differences and does what she wants without trying to please anybody. She is a powerful person, and Jenna thinks that “people want to see powerful women with powerful women.”

In the show, Wednesday comes from a different family that is not afraid to embrace their differences. The family lives set apart from the mainstream culture. For instance, Wednesday’s family does not use smartphones but communicates using an orb. Although she is writing a novel, she uses a medieval typewriter, not a laptop. Her roommate tries to influence her to embrace technology, but she sticks to her beliefs even when everyone else in the school uses technology. Her different way of life does not shame her compared to society at large.

In the first episode, her brother is bullied, and she stands up for him without regret. She puts deadly Piranhas in the pool when the bullies are swimming and stood aside full of pride and gleam as she watched them squirm and run for their lives. She is more afraid of people finding out she did not finish the job (kill the bullies) than people shunning her for her violent ways of standing up for her brother. While aggressive, she stands up for marginalized groups by facing bullies with unflinching calmness and without remorse.

Throughout the series, it is evident that Wednesday understands how to be herself and does not care what anyone else thinks. She knows she is different and always has a snide remark ready in response to anyone who tries to use her differences to insult her or make her feel less important. This is a crucial lesson to the queer community- telling them it is okay to be yourselves and not let anyone bring you down.

Wednesday also creates a new community for herself. The bond of friendship formed is essential to the LGBTQ+ community since it shows that there will always be someone who will embrace your differences, become a good friend, and help you get out of your shell. Wednesday has always been without friends and had been okay with it. However, Enid and Eugene helped her understand the importance of friendship.

Enid and Eugene are insecure at the beginning of the series. Enid is a wolf who has not yet wolfed out, which can be referred to as an allegory of a person still in the closet. Enid fears that since she has yet to develop fully as a wolf, she might never find a mate. Similarly, it is difficult for queer folks in the closet to find a mate since they are yet to fully develop, accept themselves, and put themselves out there to find someone to love.

Enid resonates with the queer folks who feel lonely and afraid, and in the last episode, when she finally wolfs, she becomes a badass defeating the hyde and saving her friend. Similarly, Eugene spends his time alone in the forest tending to bees. Wednesday becomes his friend who helps her come out of his shell and even make a move on Enid, which is an impossible love. Ultimately, he also shows immense bravery, representing growth and acceptance by controlling a swarm of bees and saving Wednesday.

As such, Wednesday can be revered as a gay icon since she represents embracing one’s differences, understanding one’s identity, and standing up for oneself. She refuses to submit to the mainstream culture, and we love her for it. We all wish we had her ability to smirk, and brush off the mean comments. We can all learn from her.

About the Author:

Christine Siamanta Kinori grew up in a little village in Kenya known as Loitoktok near the border of Kenya and Tanzania. All she wanted to do when she grew up was to explore the world. Her curiosity led her to join Nairobi University to pursue a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. She later got a job with an amazing travel magazine Nomad Africa which gave her the opportunity to explore Africa. She also writes for numerous travel websites about Africa and tries to create a new narrative in the media about our aesthetic continent.

Christine claims to have somewhat unhealthy addiction to TV and reading, as it is a fun way to keep herself occupied during the long journeys for her travel writing. She is also a believer of letting people be their beautiful selves. To her, love is love and it is the greatest gift we have as humans.

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Matthew’s Place is by and for LGBTQ+ youth and a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation l #EraseHate

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MatthewsPlace.com is a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation| Words by & for LGBTQ+ youth | #EraseHate | Want to submit? Email patrick@matthewshepard.org