Poe’s Point > Who cares if He-Man’s gay?

he-man

Running beneath the bilge water that makes up the majority of the Mattycollector Facebook comments wall is a disturbing undercurrent of homophobia.

The LGBT community has been loosely associated with He-Fans and She-Ravers for a while now, but as He-Man.org founder Val Staples wrote recently, “I don’t think He-Man.org has any more gay fans than any other community for any other ’80s cartoon and/or toy. It’s just that more gay fans feel comfortable being who they are here because they know they aren’t going to be attacked for being who they are.”

While I think Val is right that gay fans feel comfortable at He-Man.org, I do think there may be a slightly higher-than-average number of gay fans of He-Man and She-Ra, for a variety of reasons–but that’s really neither here nor there.

The homophobia that shows up on Facebook and elsewhere is primarily centered around the idea that He-Man is gay. Now, I won’t be a hypocrite and say I’ve never made a humorous allusion or two to the fact that Prince Adam wears purple tights and a pink vest and  frequently transforms into an oiled-up, half-naked muscle man with “fabulous powers” and a bouncin’ and behavin’ blond bob. The important thing is, if some canonical source revealed He-Man was gay, I wouldn’t care–he’s a hero no matter what his sexual orientation happens to be.

That said, the preponderance of the evidence does point to him being into women. While the 1980s cartoon was very, very sanitized for a pre-adolescent audience, the early comics–particularly the DC Comics miniseries–were a tad more adult in tone. In the first issue of the miniseries, we find Adam employed in that most famous of medieval pastimes: good old-fashioned wenching.

heman_wench

(Of course, that last line makes Adam sound sexist, but we’ll save that ball of wax for another time.)

And then there was all that flirting between Prince Adam and Teela on the 2002 cartoon. Or maybe he’s bisexual–maybe everyone on Eternia is bisexual and it’s no big thing.

Hold on–I just had an image of an orgy involving Fisto, Double Trouble, and Ram-Man and their respective action features. Must wash mind’s eye…

Comments now closed (48)

  • I don't think it's that people literally think he's gay. They just use it as a derogatory term to basically say "He-Man sucks". It's like how people use "retarded" to mean stupid.

  • Scott: I hate that people (including me sometimes, which I'm ashamed of) call something being gay meaning it is "stupid" or "dumb", because I have gay friends and relatives. Being gay should not be a negative.

    Poe: You ever see the video of He-Man singing the 4 Non-blondes song? It's one of my favorite viral videos of all time.

  • I'm not saying I think it's right. I'm just saying that's what I think people are doing.

  • There was one troll a few weeks back who was definitely pushing the homophobia on the Facebook page. It was actually commented upon by some other readers here.

    @Paul: I haven't seen it, but I'll look it up.

    Fun fact: I originally was going to make this post a list called "5 Reasons He-Man Probably Isn't Gay," but I couldn't find five compelling reasons. As Rob of Topless Robot said when I told him about it, "I'd try an easier task, like metal teleportation or something."

  • I think this just came about because of the dumb ass filmation decisions made when the cartoon was created.

    If they made everything like the very first mini comics which made him look like a womanizer, there would be no talk at all about this. Not saying being a womanizer is right…just saying that this only began because of all the idiots at Filmation.

    I love MOTU for the minicomics not the dumbass filmation toon. Boring…corny…worst cartoon ever in my opinion.

    I mean Filmation making Adam look the way he looked? I blame ppl that have something against gays but I don't blame people for thinking Adam is gay. Ppl just have ammunition to piss ppl off on matty collector because of filmations screw up.

    What pisses me off is WHY NOT JUST HAVE THE FILMATION HEMAN SAY HE"S GAY…instead of all this is he or isn't he business? It's like Filmation was REALLY implying he was gay with Adam's outfit.

    I have gay friends as well, but I don't like the filmation toon…NOT because Adam looks gay but because the toon is HORRIBLE. lol

    You can bet ppl will have a TON more gay comments to make when or IF the Adam figure comes out (no pun intended).

    Fans bickering about this stuff should only blame Filmation for all the ruckus.

  • Wearing pink did not make Adam gay, Bret Hart wore pink all the time is he gay? No.

  • I tolerate gays, I have nothing against them and a friend of mines is gay, but I still do not agree with it.

  • Pink was an "in" color for guys in the 80's. I think a lot of the gayness associated with He-Man goes back to the filmation cartoon. I always thought that He-Man was in to Teela. Bow's hetero stat though is definitley in question.

  • He-Man the character isn't gay. The Filmation version acts gay, but not be design. Watch one or two of those old eps now and don't tell me there ain't some gay undertones.

    But overall, no He-Man isn't gay. He-Man obviously has a bigger gay fanbase than most. Which is odd, but not entirely.

    My favorite thing about Filmation's He-Man being gay is this parody video on Youtube:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ge6T1h4pq-k

  • hah Mark. You can't agree with someone who can't have romantic/sexual feelings about the opposite sex? It's not really a choice.

    Oh man, I can't wait to see the can of worms I just opened up.

  • If you go by the Filmation cartoon, I think there is a lot of evidence; there was even a segment on one of the "I Love the 80s" on VH1. I mean, if you are gay and you want a name that is all about men, can you do better than "He-Man"? I enjoyed the cartoon, though it was definitely for little kids–I mean 15 brawny men and women fighting with swords, whips, tridents and such and no one gets even a cut? At any rate, He-Man can be homosexual–who cares?

  • i think he-man is kind of like seized on as a gay icon in the same way spongebob is. he's never really carried on a serious on-camera relationship, he's got behavior that indicates homosexuality (spongebob's effeminate and flamboyant ways, he-man's oiliness/adam's fashion sense), but as its a kids cartoon sexuality is never really brought up beyond kiddie crushes and flirting. it's not that anyone seriously thinks the character's gay, necessarily, it's just a way of subverting the character by making you question it. i think it's sort of to get people to ask themselves "well, what if he was gay? does that change him? he's been there all along. why would he be any different if he was?"

    jk rowling really took this another step after she explicitly outed dumbledore from the harry potter books. i definitely applaud her for that. take a series of books that are almost universally beloved, and take the most righteous, respected character, and say "surprise! he's gay. it doesn't change his nobility or honor at all, and he's still just as courageous and wonderful as he was before…but gay!"

    i think a lot of the he-man gay jabs are kind of to stick it to people who look up to him as an icon of machismo. kind of like what people insist on doing with the whole batman/robin thing.

  • I hesistate to say this, because I think people will probably just try to use it make me seem homophobic . . . but if He-Man were gay, I would have difficulty identifying with the character. I'm not gay, I don't have any gay friends or family members, and if the one person I've ever met who is gay hadn't come out and said so, I would be able to say I don't know any gay people at all.

    It just . . . doesn't have any meaning for me. Like, I know the shallow surface facts, but nothing more. It's not a part of my life.

    And so it'd just be that there's this huge element to this character and stories you'd tell about him that just wouldn't have any meaning to me. They'd just be there, but they wouldn't be for me.

    It's not the same. Maybe it should be, but it isn't. It's ill-serving and ill-informed to pretend that this sort of thing doesn't add different connotations.

  • Wouldn't bother me in the least if he is/isn't gay. To be fair, I have always pretty much exclusively collected the villain figures anyway. But it wouldn't make me think any less of the franchise or the heroic nature of the He-Man.

    Let's be honest, Luke Skywalker being gay hasn't hurt Star Wars at all, so why would a gay He-Man hurt MOTU?

  • @Monkey boy, thanks for saying most of what I wanted to.

    He-Man can be a gay icon and not be gay. There was a thread on the .org not to long about the very topic about him being a gay icon which was instantly filled up with "He-Man is NOT gay" posts, when that has nothing to do with him being a gay icon. Judy Garland is THE gay icon (though I've never entirely figured that one out).

  • @Andrew – “but if He-Man were gay, I would have difficulty identifying with the character. I’m not gay,”

    I can’t say that I’ve ever identified with He-Man. I’ve always thought the entire concept was goofy, and the action figures a little odd. I love a lot of the character designs, but I can’t find anything in the setting that I would say I identify with.

  • To be honest, I never read the MOTU DC Comics (as I never much read any comics). As far as the mini-comics, I'd say I got more than half of my collection used, either from a second hand toy shop in town, or yard sales, so I didn't read all of the mini-comics. I'm really hoping they release a TPB with all of them.

    So that said, 98.9% of my exposure to He-Man was from the Filmation series.

    I think its more the culture and how its changed in twenty years, we're a lot more cynical, and gay is the new black, so of course people are going to start to distort things that were once innocent and make them into something they're not.

    NoisyDvL5

    Judy Garland is THE gay icon (though I’ve never entirely figured that one out).

    I believe its the whole Dorothy/Wizard of Oz/Somewhere Over the Rainbow connection. Either way, my brother's gay, and he's got a TON of WoZ figurines, knick-knacks, porcelian dolls, collectable plates and memorabilia. It makes shopping for him easy! ;-)

    I took this from a WoZ site, ironically it mentions He-Man…

    Oz is a place where the heroes are not all macho he-man types. Look at it this way: The protagonist of The Wizard of Oz is a young girl who is lost and trying to find her way home. She is accompanied by three friends who are all male, yet flawed and labeled by society as incomplete or outcasts. Nevertheless, she accepts them for what they are, and all four of them help each other to get what they want.

  • I’ll prolly have more comments once I digest everything but….

    Jim
    06.02.2009 16.07

    …idiots at Filmation.

    I love MOTU for the minicomics not the dumbass filmation toon. Boring…corny…worst cartoon ever in my opinion.

    …because the toon is HORRIBLE. lol

    Hrm… where do I begin?!?!?

    WHHAAAAAAAT THHHHHHHHEEEEEE FFFFFF!@#$$$#%#$##%#%^#$#%#%#%#^#$#^#^#&&^^%%@$&*@*$&@%*(^@&$^@&*%^@*&%^@#*%^@*&$@%^@(*%@@^%(*@^%(*@%^@*#(*!&%(*!^%KKKK????????!!!!!!!!!!????????!!!!!!!!????!!!!!!!!

    Okay, now I got that out of my system, but really? You think the Filmation series is that bad? I think any corniness is what made it so charming and appealing to kids. They definitely left a lot of things pretty ambiguous, but heck, this was the ’80s man, when I was a kid I was just concerned about He-Man beating Skeletor, not He-Man beating Skeletor off… I didn’t even know what gay was until much later on, kids now are so much more sophistocated. Heck, I didn’t even start liking girls until the 5th grade! ;-) *cough* *cough*

  • @Jim

    I think it's supposed to be what old circus strongmen with the fancy mustaches wore back in the '20s and '30s.

    I know Stan Lee thought it was stupid, so that's why most of the Marvel guys don't have it, and even Batman ditched it for awhile, going with one piece unitard.

    Besides, it gave us an excuse to try to wear our underwear outside our pants when we were kids.

  • Somebody who’s read the Roger Sweet book “Mastering the Universe” could put it better, but I thought he designed the He-Man toy precisely to inspire young boys to be masculine and not adopt the more effeminate traits stereotypically associated with our modern negative connotation of the word “gay”, but not specifically anti-homosexual. In that sense I don’t think the Prince Adam character was meant to symbolize a homosexual but the weak and effete “girlie-man”; it just happens many in our society tend to lump those together.

  • @ PrfktTear: I guess Mr. Tear but I still like the mini comics a lot better and the point is I think the ppl that say He-man is gay are basing their comments on the toon.

    Not so much the mini comics. If filmation made the toon more like the comics I don’t think those guys would be bashing heman…maybe some would still find something to comment on but not to this extent.

  • I think the ONE person who can give us an explaination is Roger Sweet.

    Dumb Question but is he still alive?

    Someone should ask why he made Adam where what he wears. I think it’d make a good “Did you know…” for he-man.org

  • Roger Sweet didn’t design Adam though, DC did. (He first appeared in the DC comics, anyway.) Filmation then altered his clothing to the pink vest/purple tights design we’re familiar with.

    It never entered my mind that He-Man could be gay. Even with all of the BS of that kind on the internet, I never took it seriously. Like monkey boy said, it’s just like the ridiculous gay remarks made about Batman and Robin. If he were, IU wouldn’t really care, but there’s no real evidence that he is. (Goofiness in the Filmation toon is not evidence that HeMan is gay, anymore than scenes of Batman and Robin sleeping in the same bed in 1940s comics means they are. Both are just products of the times and circumstances under which they were produced.)

    The purple tights never bothered me when I was a kid– purple is a color representing royalty, after all– but I thought the pink vest just looked stupid. I remember tearing it off and tossing it, and the pink sword, in the thrash when I got the figure. I gave Adam the blue Sword of Grayskull from the weapons pack, and later had a friend of mine who could sew make a brown vest for him to wear. He still has it to this day.

  • @Drunken Fist: interesting…so what’s the name of the guy at Filmation who colored Adam?

    Oh and I’m not really saying the “goofiness” caused people to think he’s gay…I’m refering to the filmation show as a whole with the pink vest and other questionable acts heman/adam do…I think that’s where the gay jokes orginate from.

  • I think it’s also like the question:

    Why the hell did all the comic book designers back in the day draw superheroes with there underwear over their tights????

    lol

    I mean…seriously…does ANYONE have an explaination for that?

  • As a gay guy I have to say–this article and thread is hysterical.

    Anyhow, I never REALLY got a gay vibe from He-Man or Adam. And as a kid and continuing on as an adult, my main attraction to the series was the outlandish character designs.

    I mean, one of the main characters is a giant orange mandrill…

  • LOL LOL those last posts after mine were funny. I'm too lazy to respond to everyone but prrrrettty fuuunny. :D

    @Vasta: Oh yeah! I forgot about those circus guys wore that! WOW! Every one I know from relatives and ex gf's has asked about that and now I finally have an explanation! And it's interesting to note Stan Lee didn't like them. Cyclops and wolverine's first costumes had them. Guess he wasn't too happy about that.

    @prfkttear if you want to read the rest of the minicomics go to heman.org

    @American Hyena: Really? I have 2 gay friends and they both made comments about Adam in the toon.

    @Mark: HAH! Extendar!

    They have them all logged.

  • ***********EDIT************

    ***********EDIT************

    When I said "they have them all logged"….that was for prfkttear regarding the heman.org minicomics.

    That looks odd with the Extendar comment.

  • the guy doing the cartoons might have been gay but there was no sexuality between the characters in the 80's show i watched, so no biggie.

    there was Teelah, the Sorceress and Evil-lyn…i think that's it, among about a 100 ripped guys.

  • If you over look things you could say it about a lot of characters from various shows…..now Wheelie….as far as Transformers go, puts doubt in my mind…..an I am not on about his US version but his Japanese counterparts, if anyone has ever watched the dubbed version of Transformers Takara Headmasters….if I am not mistaken there is some funny phrases were he sneaks up an Daniel and says 'I know exactly whats on your mind'…LOL.

    Aanyway what about Power Rangers….now they were GAY.

  • @Mark:

    At one point Wheelie actually says "You really know how to please me!" to Danny. I think it's the same episode where the Swiss kid dry humps his goat. (I am not kidding.)

    @Motorthing:

    There's waaaaaay more filth available about Megatron and Starscream, and there's no indication that they even have genitals. There are an awful lot of strange people out there trying to sexualize our childhood memories/toy commercials. (Just look up Ray Jones sometime. Or don't.) Or am I the only one brave (depraved) enough to have actually read any Bumblebee/Sam slash fiction?

  • Who actually cares?

    It was a made-for-under-10’s children’s toy series and all the cultural pointers aside I think sexuality had nothing to do with any of it.

    It’s why people want to sexualise a a toy character that starts getting annoying and says pretty much all you need to know about the mindset concerned. If you want sex, well that’s what the other 2 billion websites on the Internet are for….just leave He-man and co alone. There’s little enough innocent fun left in the world as it is……

  • He-man can't be gay because he doesn't exist and I'm pretty sure you have to exist to be really be bonifide gay.

    To me saying He-man is gay is just a way to tweak fans that take MOTU far too seriously. (Yes, I've done it, in the past, not because I wanted to impugn He-man, but because it's fun to see knee-jerk homophobic allergic reaction.) It's easy and it gets a reaction.

    Watch…

    James Kirk is gay!

    Rocky Balboa is gay!

    Dumbledore is gay!

    What is funny is not the "gayness" per se, what's funny is that people get all bent out of shape about the nonexistent sex lives of imaginary characters.

    And as far as Dumbledore being gay, if it had really been an important part of the character and Rowling really had the balls and inclination to make a statement about his sexuality, why didn't she just write it into the first book? You know, kind of slip it in there that Dumbledore is buggering Mad-eye Mooney or Hagrid or something?

    But no, after completely ignoring the character's sexuality and well after not wanting to write the books anymore she comes out and says that Dumbledore's gay.

    Really?

    Well I say he isn't, I'm thinking he was just pretending to be gay to freak out Voldemort.

    Cuz sometimes it's fun to freak people out…

  • HAH! October 2007 he was revealed to be gay. Where have I been? Don't remember hearing this.

  • I think I heard Dumbledore was gay as well….even the world of magic aint safe.

  • Is He-Man gay?

    Well, the answer to that question probably tells more about the one who asks than He-man himself.

    To quote Shakespeare, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder " ;)

  • HAH! Poe you're a genius….I bet you knew you'd snag a lot more viewers with this post! LOL

    Topics like the "Don't worry about the Figure Flaws" and "Is He Man gay?" are the most controversial topics to discuss that make for an exciting discussion.

    Wonder what the next one's going to be.

  • mark- you should always be suspicious of anyone who casually whips out their magic wand.

    i do back to what was said earlier by one of y'all, where does the speculation even begin? i don't think there were any overtones in the mini comics, but then again, the quality of those (and consistency) went out the crapper after about the second round of figs… the filmation series is where most of that stems from ,and it was aimed at kids and near as i can tell, is devoid of sexuality at all. it's like a friggin' rorshach test… some people see boobs, some people see meathammers. some of us just saw a kid's show. i don't see the sophistication that modern kid's shows evince (writing for both the kids and the parents who view w/ them ala spongebob) in the filmation series, it's specifically written as under 10 year olds. it's harmless. no one is asking if skeletor or hordak are analogous to satan are they? cuz they're not. they're evil dudes, but they aren't satan, grayskull isn't heaven and he-man isn't christ. but if i wanted to read into things, skeletor could certainly be seen as the fallen judas, teela is mary magdelen, man at arms is john the baptist, he-man is jesus, extendar would be thomas, ramn-man is peter and hordak is definitely satan. the sorceress represents the holy spirit, you get where i'm going here… but that doesn't make it REAL, the connection is implies, just as it is that the character is gay.

    on the other hand, as a child, teela and evil lyn were lesbians doing things i wouldn't discover until another decade passed were real expressions of lesbian sexuality. so maybe i read into things what i want to and others are free to do the same. even at like 7 years old, EL was the dominant mistress, teela the submissive, and oh the tortures EL could inflict if she got the sensuous teela all by her lonesome.