Viewers of The Young and the Restless responded–and continue to–largely in vehement opposition to the pairing of Mariah + Tessa.
Out almost 2,000 votes, more than 65 percent (1,217) of poll respondees said they don’t ship Mariah and Tessa. Five-hundred ninety-one said they do, while a mere 65 voters said they were indifferent.
The Ultimate Threat, In Soaps
The one common theme in the virulently anti-Tessa/Mariah comments our poll received was this: “If this pairing happens, I will stop watching.” Ouch! That truly is the ultimate punishment for a television show. It seems akin to saying, “If you’re gay, you’re not my family anymore.” After all, we viewers love our soaps and soap characters like family, no?
Some Points to Keep In Mind
Our stance: first of all, we at Soap Cities have on staff gay, lesbian, transgender, and straight allied people. We applaud the inclusion of LGBT characters in daytime. We don’t however, believe in censoring or banning opinions that differ from our own. We encourage debate.
Nevertheless, we did have some misgivings about some of the comments on the poll this article is based on, which you can read by clicking on the link above and scrolling down. After all, if people said, “We don’t want to see a black man and a white woman together,” would we so easily approve those comments? What about, “We don’t want to see Jewish characters, because it’s not God’s will to be Jewish.” Muslim ? Physically challenged? Heavy? As society moves toward accepting folks of different strokes, it only makes sense for soaps to represent that.
The soap industry contains a greater-than-average percentage of LGBT people, so why shouldn’t these people include their own life experience in their work? It’s unfair to expect those people, who exist among writers, directors, producers, actors, and crew, in every nook and cranny of the soap world and since its inception into the present and on, to tell only the stories of straight, traditionally-gendered people.
It’s difficult to explain the insidious, deeply damaging effect of feeling not only like you’re hiding who you are from people, but that if you didn’t hide, you’d be punished, ostracized, or even hurt. It’s a large part of why both the suicide rate and the rate of substances abuse in the LGBT community are sky high.
We have noticed a disturbing trend, readers. When certain groups who’ve always enjoyed the luxury of being members of majority or in-power groups sense that others want not to silence or extinguish them, but simply to want the same gift of recognition and a friendly nod from them, they lash out. That’s actively trying to keep others down, to want others to be hurt. In what worldview is that a desirable thing, we ask you?
In Oprah Winfrey’s final season of her eponymous, ratings-busting talk show, she talked about the one thing she found in common in all her guests over 20-plus years of hosting probably thousands of guests. Everyone wanted to know, she said, “Do you see me? Do you hear me?” It’s that simple, we think. The LGBT community wants to be seen and heard.
We hope former Soap Opera Digest West Coast Editor & Soap Opera Weekly writer Alan Russell Carter won’t mind us aping some of the wonderfully powerful arguments he made in a Facebook post on this topic. He pointed out that it’s not valid to say, “children might see this,” when daytime contains lots of adult-oriented storylines. He also pointed out, rightly, we think, that pretty much any and every life experience (except for religious diversity, it must be said) is reflected in daytime–why not LGBT ones?
Being LGBT isn’t a choice or a “lifestyle,” it’s a simply how some people are born, always have been and always will be. On the other hand, there are plenty of things that are choices that we are all expected to embrace, support, be comfortable with, and exalt in the cultural representation of (e.g., certain religious backgrounds and political affiliations).
And lastly, while the readers who commented on our Mariah and Tessa poll seemed largely opposed to the pairing of those two, there are many, many viewers who aren’t. Just sayin’…
On a Lighter Note
If Mariah and Tessa do become the next happenin’ soap romantic duo, what do you, dear readers, think they’re couple nickname should be: Teriah or Messa. Vote in our poll!
Give us your input in the comment section below. Check back with Soap Cities for more Y&R spoilers, recaps, news, and fun! Follow us on Twitter at @soapcities, on Instagram at @soapcities, and come chat with us in our Facebook group. Catch The Young and the Restless weekdays on CBS. If you want more soap action 24/7, go to Soap Fans United!