I made the argument within my previous post that Starfire serves as the quintessential role model for young girls. However, I since that time I began to wonder what influence she could have on the young LGBTQ community. Within this 2003 animated series Teen Titans during the episode entitled Sisters, Starfire can be seen struggling with feelings of exclusion and devaluation when her sister Blackfire comes to visit her on Earth.
Blackfire is able to connect on a personal level with each of Starfire’s teammates: Robin, Beast Boy, Raven, and Cyborg. Blackfire especially hits things off with Robin who is portrayed throughout the series to be Starfire’s love interest.
Throughout the episode, Starfire begins to feel extremely inadequate, rejected, and excluded from the rest of the team because Blackfire seems to best her in every way possible.
I began make connections to Peter Barry’s theoretical framework of “Lesbian/Gay Criticism” within his novel Beginning Theory as these individuals could experience the same feelings that Starfire showed within the episode. Starfire continuously struggles with these feelings inadequacy throughout. However, she manages to cope with these feelings by attempting to have an optimistic attitude and by continuously putting her best foot forward despite her sister’s numerous snarky and belittling comments. At the end of the episode Blackfire is revealed to be a thief who had been trying to frame Starfire for her crimes the whole time. Starfire embodies the strength and resilience that many of the individuals within the LGBTQ community exemplify daily in her own way when she engages in heated battle against her sister.
Within Beginning Theory Barry also mentions the case of Bell Hooks, an African American woman who published the novel Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism during the time of segregation within the United States. During this time Hooks was fighting against the views of one of the other pioneering feminist novelists and essay writers of the time named Bonnie Zimmerman who wrote: “What has never been: an overview of lesbian feminist criticism.” I could connect this to Starfire’s character in a way because her opinion was also devalued for a good majority of this episode before the team realized that Blackfire was a liar, thief, and a crook.
Culturally speaking, Starfire serves as a role model for the young LGBTQ community. Her story shows all of the positive things that can happen when you accept someone who is different than yourself. Starfire is very much accepted and valued by her fellow teammates despite literally being an alien from another planet. She experiences challenges and struggles yet she is very strong and always strives to be compassionate towards others regardless of how they treat her. Her motto? “Kill them with kindness!”