Élite Season 2 Perfectly Explores Femmephobia in the Gay Dating Scene
'Élite' Season 2 Perfectly Explores the Gay Dating Scene's Femmephobia
The new season of Netlix's hit teen drama touched on something that still doesn't get explored enough in mainstream media: femmephobia.
After captivating audiences all over the world late last year, Élite is officially back on Netflix for its triumphant sophomore season, and besides serving up all of the necessary drama, mystery, and suspense that the fans have come to expect, the murderous teen drama is also giving viewers a glimpse of something that plagues the gay community but is not often explored in mainstream media: femmephobia.
Warning! Some minor Élite season 2 spoilers ahead!
Picking up shortly after where the first explosive season left off, season 2 of Élite sees the students of Las Encinas still reeling over the death of their classmate Marina (María Pedraza), who, as viewers know, was killed by her classmate Polo (Álvaro Rico) via a blow to the head with a trophy. Because the authorities wrongly arrest his formerly-incarcerated, working-class brother Nano (Jaime Lorente), it's up to scholarship student Samuel (Itzan Escamilla) to prove Polo's guilt to the police and to try to end all of the chaos that now plagues the Las Encinas community in the wake of Marina's tragic demise.
Now, don't get me wrong. There's a lot to love about Élite's second season (especially with the introduction of three new wild yet loveable personalities), and while the main focus of the show is obviously all of the craziness and obstacles that involve a poor student trying to solve a murder and taking on the hyper-privileged, upper-class world that hates him, there's a pleasantly well-done mini-arc that involves the series' resident, fan-favorite queer couple, Omander, that I literally can't stop thinking about.
After being kicked out of his super-religious Muslim household, Omar (Omar Ayuso) now has to live with his boyfriend, Las Encinas student and former tennis prodigy Ander (Arón Piper). The situation sounds like a dream that came straight out of a queer Tumblr fanfic run by a gay YA fangirl, and in some aspects, it is. Throughout the season, Omar stars to (for lack of a better phrase) come out of this shell and embraces his most authentic self. He starts wearing the kinds of clothes he wants, he's more comfortable having fun with people his age, he lands a job as a bartender at a club the Las Encincas crowd likes to frequent, and for a Halloween party being thrown by the new rich kid on the block Rebeka (Claudia Salas) he experiments with his gender expression, dressing up as Rocky Horror Picture Show's Dr. Frank-N-Furter, complete with a dress, wig, heels, and makeup. While it's a really fun costume, especially for a gay boy whose sexuality and gender has been the subject of intense policing his entire life, Ander is very uncomfortable with the whole affair, even going so far as to call Omar a "drag queen" and an "eyesore."
For many gay men, this type of blatant, anti-feminine mindset is all too familiar, especially since there's a large chunk of the community that is obsessed with being hyper-masculine (the kinds of gays that write "masc4masc" and "straight-passing" in their dating app bios immediately come to mind). This particular brand of femmephobia (which is defined as "the hatred of all people who are perceived as femme, feminine, effeminate, and/or twink regardless of their gender") is the direct result of society at large always putting masculinity on a pedestal. Élite takes on this ugly mindset and shines a light on it in a way hardly few teen dramas with LGBTQ+ characters ever do, and for closeted queer boys who had to constantly hide their femininity in order to not be shunned by their families and communities, it's understandable why Ander feels this way about Omar, who is starting to become more and more comfortable in his own skin. While it was painful to watch Ander say hurtful, mean, and actually discriminatory things towards the love of his life (I just want my favorite TV ship to be happy forever, okay!?!), it was actually interesting to see femmephobia addressed in a way that seemed realistic yet not overly preachy or self-righteous. The show never condemns Ander for his thinking, especially since it's definitely a product of being stuck in the closet for so many years, and after an open-minded heart-to-heart, Ander finally starts to open up to Omar's self-expression.
After season 1's HIV storyline and season 2's lesson on femmephobia, it seems like the creators and showrunners behind Élite are committing themselves to accurate and truthful (albeit very intense and dramatic) depictions of LGBTQ+ youth, and after this season's massive cliffhanger, we can't wait to see what other queer sensibilities Élite has in store for the fans in the future!
Season 2 of Élite is currently streaming on Netflix. Watch the trailer in the video below!