“Hollywood is back at it again!”
Thus saith MovieGuide, a non-profit aimed at preserving Christian values in the media, in their petition to cancel the release of Habit – an upcoming film in which Bella Thorne plays a runaway nun with a Jesus fetish, and Paris Jackson plays the lesbian Jesus who comes to save her.
Yes, you heard right: lesbian Jesus. I’m already wet.
MovieGuide’s petition goes on to say, “This time they’re attacking the historical and Biblical portrayal of Jesus Christ. We need your help to stop it!”
“Historical,” eh? Historical doesn’t necessarily mean real. There are plenty of Christian denominations that accept homosexuals, seeing no discrepancy between Jesus’s teachings and the gay lifestyle. And some scholars still argue about whether Jesus existed, was a poor man, or was a man at all. But I digress.
One Million Moms has also created a petition to cancel the film, currently clocking in at 55,000 signatures. It bears the spiteful statement: “This is a repulsive display of corporate arrogance and complete contempt for the faith of Christians. You are denigrating Jesus.”
But are they? The critics calling for Habit’s cancellation haven’t actually seen it. The movie doesn’t have a release date yet, or even an official trailer. We don’t know anything about the plot, or the characters’ development, or the ultimate message of the film. All we know is that a lesbian Jesus is involved at some point and to some unknown degree. So what is there to cancel?
Lesbians, that’s what. That’s always what. And considering what happened to JK Rowling recently for defending lesbians from the transactivist mob, this reactionary hatred is not surprising – though it is still maddening. If it’s not bad enough that same-sex couples are despised by the likes of Christian media watchdogs, the same homophobic sentiments silence us even within our so-called “community.” The censoring of women’s love stories never stops, even in the year 2020.
Where are we to turn, then, for our voices to be heard? Hopefully, we can turn to the theater. Despite the backlash Habit is already receiving, I am very much looking forward to watching it when it comes out. I mean, come on. Bella Thorne and Paris Jackson? Both of them are openly bisexual in real life – not to mention wildly attractive. Talk about a match made in Heaven! (Or Hell. Or Purgatory. Or wherever these Christian media watchdogs think same-sex matches are made.)
Although I will be watching the film as both a bisexual woman and a supporter of free speech, I am hesitant to say I “support” it just yet. As AfterEllen’s readers know fully well, media representation of women-loving-women relationships typically misses the mark. Either we’re hypersexualized, or undersexualized, or both (which is kind of impressive, not gonna lie). Considering the passionate public image of Bella Thorne in particular, and of bisexual women in general, it’s not impossible that this movie might fall back on tired stereotypes that reinforce problematic ideas about female relationships. The handling of lesbian culture in this film remains to be seen.
But I have high hopes. This film was written, produced and starred-in by women. And it seems Suki Kaiser, the film’s co-writer, had a missionary mother – no doubt she has plenty to say about how religion has impacted her life. My bet is that all of the ladies involved in this film have quite a story to tell through this film, and I’m ready to do for them what MovieGuide and OneMillionMoms are utterly failing to do: listen.