Why Loki Should Be Genderfluid - VRGyani News and Media

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Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Why Loki Should Be Genderfluid

Disney+'s Loki Season 1 was weird, wild, and wonderful; all spurred on by the god of mischief himself, as Tom Hiddleston’s Loki went to the far reaches of the MCU’s reality and back to change everything, including representation in our corner of the sacred timeline. As discussions about representation for the LGBTQIA+ community focus on seeing themselves in media, Loki’s premiere during pride month elicited discussions and excitement from fans and critics. The topic, what does Loki being bisexual. Where do we go from here has been on everyone’s mind, but the answer is simple. As Loki prepares for Season 2, it’s time for Marvel to take the next step and explore the character’s gender fluidity.

Loki’s MCU popularity is somewhat ironic given the character's original roots in the mythology. The Norse counterpart to Hiddleston’s trickster was the son of the giant Farbauti and the goddess Laufey, who managed to wiggle his way into Odin’s family. He is described as a shapeshifter; taking multiple forms like a salmon, a mare, and an old woman. Depending on the source material, Loki (much like other deities) shapeshifted and schemed his way into the myths that shape the world: When bound to a rock beneath a serpent, if the serpent drips venom on him it causes earthquakes. He sired Hel, the goddess of death, Fenrir, the wolf, and Jörmungandr — a snake eating its own tail.

Loki has counterparts in multiple other pantheons (Anansi from West African and Carribean mythology, Hermes from Greek Mythology, to name a few) but he’s front and center in Marvel and the fan dedication to the character (where else are you going to get a room full of fully grown people screaming a villain’s name?) means that Marvel can tell stories with him including stories that focus on what Loki represents in comics canon, who the character has become in the modern mythos of the MCU.

In the MCU, Loki's story is a sad one. In Thor, he discovers that he was adopted, that he will never be King of Asgard despite his brother Thor being a brute, and decides to make himself an enemy of the Gods of Asgard and the humans on earth slowly learning about what lies beyond the solar system. Outcast and alone, he becomes Thor’s primary motivation to fight, battles the Avengers and nearly takes over earth, and finally sacrifices himself to save Thor and the other Asgardians seemingly undergoing a redemption arc. In fact, Loki has had two redemptive arcs, both of which speak to people who have struggled to repair themselves and contribute to society. His story is that of someone who has always sought to accept himself — much like those in the LGBTQ+ community.

RELATED: Upcoming Marvel TV Shows: Here's What Will Be Streaming on Disney Plus

Now that his redemption is (seemingly) out of the way, there are other parts of Loki’s comic history that writers can tackle, including his shape-changing abilities and his fluid sexuality. Neither are unusual in the media (you could make an argument that Loki’s mythological arc where he gets impregnated and gives birth to an eight-legged horse is a sort of ancient world blockbuster event).

Loki being genderfluid should be Marvel’s next step in on-screen representation because all of the character’s traits point to it being the logical choice. For one thing, the story of a being who feels abandoned in their own family is one common to every sphere, but it fits in well in the LGBTQIA+ community. Statistics regarding transgender children point out that over half have ​​considered some sort of self-harm without support. Support leads to a decrease in suicidal thoughts as well as suicidal attempts. Loki never went through those things, but for many now cheering his bisexuality seeing a character with that backstory doing good and being seen in the public doing some good is much-needed representation.

In all other continuities, Loki is a bisexual genderfluid being. Using the so-called “God of Outcasts” to introduce bisexual and genderfluid characters to the MCU is a smart decision. Loki’s large fanbase puts him on avengers merchandise and front and center in Avengers canon. His villainy and transformation to anti-hero with two redemptive arcs has brought his engaging character to the forefront of his own story. As he says, he’s “writing his own destiny,” something members of the LGBTQ+ community can relate to, and he and his variants can ask the audience to question their preconceived notions of the bisexual and genderfluid community.

There are certain behaviors that come with being genderfluid. There is the notion that constraining oneself to a particular set of societal expectations of gender is ridiculous. There is a focus on individuality over conformity on such a base topic. As so many people say, gender is a spectrum and to describe individually what gender means to specific people, doesn’t do it justice.

Rather there are practices and behaviors that Marvel could study and put into stories. Loki’s change in appearance and outfits could come with new pronouns (a facet of being transgender and genderfluid, as pronouns are a source of hot debate in the cisgender community) and audiences would be more willing to accept it thanks to the dedication of his loyal fans and his anti-hero status. Loki is cunning, Loki is full of guile, and Loki has proven himself because people love the character. Villains from underrepresented groups are frequent. The audience’s love has writers wanting to explore his sympathetic backstory. That changes the equation. Members of the LGBTQ+ community understand what it’s like to be declared villains.

The show has made massive strides in representation, even casting queer actors to play Loki(s). DeObia Oparei’s Boastful Loki exemplifies just what Loki and the MCU should be striving for, representation and work — building characters who can be examples to others. Oparei went to Twitter and thanked Marvel for its work, but it’s work that must continue.

From his beginnings as a trickster god to his inclusion in the modern mythos of the MCU, Loki is a powerful figure, and the new Disney+ series has set him up to be both a real anti-hero and an embraced character. Since audiences have now embraced his sexuality, it’s time to embrace the next step and use Loki, Sylvie, and any other Loki variants to explore what being transgender, what being genderfluid, truly means in modern mythology and beyond.

Loki Season 1 is streaming now on Disney+. A second season has been announced.

KEEP READING: 'Loki' Director Kate Herron on When She Knew There'd Be a Season 2, and Telling a Complete Story in Season 1



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