Is Netflix progressive or not?© 31 December 2020 Marthijn Uittenbogaard
This year in May on the gay website Out, was an article about the question if Netflix has too many gay characters in their television series and movies.  A criticizing tweet about the many gay characters went viral and Netflix responded: “sorry you have yet to realize that every gay person is very necessary”.  This sounds very progressive. But let's have a closer look.
Are there so many gay characters in the Netflix series and movies? Compared to television series from ten or twenty years ago the answer is: yes. In almost all series you watch on Netflix, are gay and/or lesbian characters. Netflix is a company that wants to make money. So when showing a gay character is good for their financial success they will include gay characters. The opposite is also true: when showing a gay character in bad for business, then you won't see them. So when Netflix would be existent in the 1950s or the 1960s or the 1970s, you would almost never see a gay character unless he or she is shown as a sick or an evil character. That used to be the case until very recently. Netflix in past times would only hold back progression concerning this issue.
The Dutch broadcasting system
OK, but that was true for all other broadcasters from that time. This is not totally true. In The Netherlands, we used to have only a few Dutch television channels. Two when I was young, later a third one was added. And somewhat further in time commercial television was introduced, the amount of Dutch channels grew enormously. Our two and later three channels, were filled with programs from many different broadcasting association. The Catholics, for instance, had their own broadcasting association. The labor movement had their own, and so on. You needed enough members to be represented in our system. And there were three categories: A, B and C. With enough members you got the A status, meaning more broadcasting time (on radio and television) than the associations with the B status. Some broadcasters were very conservative, while others were much more progressive. In this way a gay person could be interviewed sooner than when you only had one broadcasting service. Like in the UK where you have the BBC. We had ten or so different flavors to watch. This maybe was the main reason why The Netherlands became so progressive in the world.
Netflix is becoming a monopolist. Like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook: all are American. America is stealing our privacy and dominating more and more what news we read and what not. Making money is their main goal. Money from advertisers, who never want to be associated with controversial topics. And money (contracts) from the US secret service, which gives them their monopolies in the world. And that's a big problem for progression. Right now we live in a time where you need to be pro gay, but no-one is allowed to be pro pedosexuality. It is one flavor only. Different opinions are silenced.
The gay, but also the hetero or bi characters in the many Netflix series, are almost without exception monogamous. You can only have one sexual partner or you are a bad person is the dominating message. Abortion is bad too. In many series this topic is introduced. A woman is thinking about an abortion but hey: she never does it. She always sees in the end that she has to give birth to a child. The only exception I saw was a series (Bron; The Bridge) from Scandinavia. As a result, the young Dutch generation is more conservative about abortion than their parent's generation is. American series are all the same when it comes to social issues. It is against prostitution, against all sex out of a monogamous relationships and against pedophiles. In many series a character is introduced who 'abuses' a minor. This person is almost always killed or terribly beaten. Netflix gives us the message: kill them. If Netflix would be around in the 1950s, they would give you the message to kill gays. Nuances are almost non existent.
When a Netflix series is set one hundred years ago, you always see racism as an issue and voting rights for women. As if every woman was a suffrage. It's not very realistic and it is more propaganda in the way people should think. There is nothing wrong with this unless when it is dominant. It is better to sometimes show a main character that is not one hundred percent a good guy when it comes to issues as: racism, homosexuality and woman's rights. Also, what is politically correct nowadays may change. Again, Netflix anno 1950 would be terrible for gay progression. Americans always, like the British too, have the strong urge to let people see how people must think about all issues. Europeans (UK not included) have more the urge to let the viewer decide about issues and they more often confuse the viewer or force him or her to think for themselves about these issues.
The French movie Cuties (Mignonnes) generated a lot of criticism. Netflix did not cancel the movie, but because of the criticism, I'm sure they are now even more afraid to show child sexuality (child eroticism) in a movie than they already were. The movie Cuties was a movie where the viewer had to think for themselves. Watching it showed us 11-year-old girls dancing in a very sexual way. At the same time the message was anti childsexuality. It was progressive in a way, because the main character was a victim of the oppressive Islamic culture: the viewer was shown that this oppression is not good: girls and women in Islamic countries are victims. At the same time they showed us the message: girls in our Western societies are victims too. They are victims of (their own) sexuality. It is not how I see feminism: girl power. It is more like: all women and girls are victims; we are the weaker beings in society. Don't give us rights, but keep going on with suppressing us, in the name of protection.
There are not so many children in the Netflix series too. And elderly people by the way, are a huge percentage of the population in real life, but in series they are a rarity. As I wrote before, the child actors in US series are more becoming human characters with their own personality, in stead of a persons with the concept: child. They become more subjects in stead of objects, like they used to portrait children in US popular culture. That's positive. But still children are a rarity in series. Even in children's series, they are not so common. When you take a look at the children's series you see many animated material. Real children are much harder to find than animated ones. And Netflix is showing mostly fantasy. A debating program with adults or with children: not on Netflix. A documentary about a topic: yes, but not many.
In The Netherlands we had so many different broadcasting associations. But why do I write 'had'? Because our politicians did not like criticism and they gained more influence on them. Now a broadcasting association is not free to decide for themselves to show a program. A station coordinator has to decide for them. In a way they are placed under guardianship. And when the commercial stations started, they had to compete with them. This had as an effect that shows without much nuance won it from programs with nuance. All stations became more populistic as a result. Like the stations in the US. And after many broadcasting associations lost their identity, they were forced by our politician to merge together, with as a result half the amount of different associations left. And no one cared because they already had lost their glans many years ago.
In the 1980s, some broadcasting companies had very positive radio and/or television programs about pedophilia. Today, one of them (the VPRO) made programs about satanic ritual abuse. I never would have thought that this topic would return. But anno 2020 parliament now ordered a research into this phenomenon. Into drinking the blood of babies. In the 1980s, a research showed no one was drinking baby blood, but hey, this research was so long ago; now people thought: let's give it a try and make some ritual baby offers and drink their blood. The reasoning behind the VPRO-programs were as follows: some women in mentally health clinics said they were victims of satanic ritual abuse. We have no proof but we must take their claims seriously. Even more so because they all more or less tell the same stories. I have a brother who is schizophrenic. He, like other schizophrenics, says they placed transmitters in his brains to drain his thoughts. But unless you find people with actual transmitters in their brains, a research is a waste of time and money, and it will only feed the ongoing hysteria. I'm sure the formerly left political parties (who wanted this research the most) and the former left broadcasting station like the VPRO, are only doing this because they used to be pro-pedosexuality. And in this climate of hysteria, all what used to be left turned right wing because of the ongoing criticism that repeatedly stated that all our media are left. Which is not the case for decades now. People also still are saying that The Netherlands is too progressive and too tolerant. Which is also a lie. We are in the top countries in the EU with the most percentage of its population behind bars.
Fear for others
The Dutroux generation turned out to be fascistic. Not surprisingly because they are raised with fear for others. The US influence, that is more and more dominant in our country, has only made things worse. The question is: where will the positive change come from: from the US? That people will see we need to fight for our freedoms again. Or from Europe? Or from both at the same time? Right now, freedoms are still going down the hill.
I'm a progressive voice that keeps informing and warning people because I care. I care about the thousands and thousands locked away in prisons and in mental health clinics. I care about the families that have it difficult to pay the bills. I care about the fact that the state and local governments treat people as a number in stead of a human being. I care, and so should you.
So is Netflix progressive or not? I let you decide.
 Article: Critic Calls Gay Characters 'Unnecessary,' Netflix Responds - By Mikelle Street - www.out.com/media/2020/5/07/critic-calls-gay-characters-unnecessary-netflix-responds - Out - 7 May 2020
 Tweet by Netflix - @netflix - twitter.com/netflix/status/1258156383792279552 - Twitter - 7 May 2020