Last night was the long awaited “A” reveal in the season finale of Pretty Little Liars. After 6 years, fans finally got to see the face beyond the black hood. Over the past few seasons, fans have desperately compiled theories using clues in each episode to fuel their ideas.
So cue the ultimate excitement I had within when I sat down to watch the episode. All of my questions would soon be answered! 6 years of guessing were not for nought! But in reality the episode left me saying, “That’s it? That’s what we waited for?” Apparently I was not alone in this sentiment as publications such as Cosmopolitan and People posted the social media posts of outraged fans who were disappointed with the reveal. Teenagers aimed all of their youthful angst at ABC Family and the producer Marlene King last night. They were not only upset and confused but ruthless as well.
While most are disappointed with who A was revealed as, I found something else about the reveal much more disturbing. *Spoiler Alert*: A turns out to be a transgender girl CeCe Drake, who was born Charles DiLaurentis (Ali’s brother). An out of the blue transgender twist? Huh. I can’t say that I saw that one coming. While everyone deserves equal rights and equal representation in the media, I can’t help but feel this was incorporated into the story line purely because it’s a hot topic of discussion right now. A light has been shone on the transgender community with celebrities like Caitlyn Jenner & Laverne Cox at the forefront of the news lately. It seems as if this detail was plopped into the story line for ABC Family to generate some buzz (maybe get some more social clout) rather than for the right reasons. Pretty Little Liars seems to be the latest victim of the Bandwagon Effect. I truly find it hard to believe that the writers had this planned out for the last few years before the topic became so mainstream.
My first thought when CeCe was revealed as Charles was “Did they really just make a murderous psychopath their first transgender character?” Forget the bandwagon they’re riding. Where the offense lies is that they didn’t shed a positive light on the community with this character. CeCe is crazy and manipulative. Some would go as far to say she is a sociopath. Although it was never stated that her identity or transition was the reason for her mental issues it wasn’t stated that it WASN’T either. Maybe a better explanation of her feelings about her gender identity would have helped a little here. There wasn’t enough of a delve into this topic for any of these questions to be cleared up. The transgender community is where the gay movement was 30 years ago. If the main goal is the acceptance in society then portraying these characters as insane is only going to have a negative impact. Programs should be showing that they’re just like me and you, not that their identities come along with psychopathy. It almost seems like her gender identity and villainous nature are intertwined. The reality of it is that they should be completely separated aspects of her being. It was shocking for a show that tackled Emily’s sexuality as a lesbian so well. Emily’s sexuality was always shown in a positive light. She absolutely owns it. Let’s face it- half of the fans are supportive and are hoping she will end up with Ali! If CeCe was portrayed in a more positive way, it would have added to the storyline and to the show’s overall development of real, strong, and complex characters. Unlike many I still felt surprised by the reveal but unfortunately I felt more surprised by the way the network approached the transgender topic in general.