#1425 – Are Asexuals Talking About Maleficent?

Because we should be!

(Spoilers below – obviously)


I watched Maleficent last Wednesday and since then I’ve been trying to pinpoint why I can’t stop thinking about this movie. Yes, it’s partly the kick-ass female villain. Yes, it’s partly those killer cheekbones – and every other stylistic choice in the film. And yes, it’s partly the soundtrack I’ve been playing on repeat for eight hours. But the real reason, the important reason, just hit me.

This is a movie made for asexuals.

Here we have a big budget film wildly popular (no matter what some reviews say) across the country, one little girls will obsess over for years… and the main character is a female villain who is never sexualized, never engages (to our knowledge) in a sexual relationship, and whose ultimate redemption is realized through a completely platonic true love for someone of her own gender.

That’s the greatest, most beautiful twist of the movie: Maleficent’s true love is Aurora, the little girl she has grown to protect and cherish over sixteen years. Even when you see this twist coming, it still hits you right in the heart, because this is something we simply don’t see in truly mainstream media. Motherly love? Sure. Sisterhood? Sometimes. But never like this. Platonic love never outshines romantic love, not in an industry that still believes every woman on the planet requires a romantic plot line to keep her interested in a movie. But in Maleficent romantic love fails to wake Sleeping Beauty, and only Maleficent’s platonic love for Aurora can break the spell.

Is anyone else not super fucking excited about this? One of history’s greatest fairy tales, again on the big screen, and there’s no romantic plot line. We never know whether Aurora and Prince Phillip get together; in fact, they barely spend more than one scene together in the whole movie. We never find out if Maleficent falls in love again. And why? Because it doesn’t matter. This is a movie about one woman’s journey through betrayal, anger, regret, and ultimately redemption. She doesn’t need to fall in love. She’s her own savior.

This isn’t supposed to be an in-depth analysis of Maleficent’s pros and cons as a feminist tale. There are countless other people writing those reviews, both positive and negative. But as an asexual who has craved all her life for something mainstream that shows you don’t need romance to drive a storyline, that proves love comes in all forms (and that all forms of love are equal), I just feel compelled to voice my admiration of this movie. Whether the creators know it or not, they’ve given something to the asexual community, and for that I’m grateful.

11 thoughts on “#1425 – Are Asexuals Talking About Maleficent?

  1. Stunning review,perceptive and original, that goes straight to the heart. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I”m always a rooter for the woman who can save herself without a romantic entanglement. Agape is the greatest form of love, and that includes the platonic kind that is so powerful. Thank you for your enlightening view.

  2. But isn’t Maleficent’s relationship with Stefan earlier in the movie kind of a suggestion of her romantic preferences? I agree with you completely that this film really dug into the not-everything-is-about-true-love ideology (and I think Frozen’s emphasis on sisterly love set a good precedent) but I don’t think the romantic love is absent. I really admire your take on the movie though!

    • Romantic preferences, yes; but plenty of asexuals have a romantic interest in one or more genders. I think the romantic history between Maleficent and Stefan is really more just a clumsy means to an end, though – it felt like the writers needed a reason for his betrayal to have such a powerful impact, so they went with a romance you never really saw anyway. But I never got the sense they were hinting that Maleficent and Stefan had a sexual relationship, so on the surface what we see is just romance without sex – something many asexuals hope and strive for. It’s not perfect by any means, and I know there’s no sexual element because it’s a movie for kids, but it still felt like a positive step to me.

      Thanks so much for your comment! :)

  3. Just watched this film for the first time after being inspired to see it by your post! While there were a lot of problematic aspects, I do appreciate that, as you said, Maleficient wasn’t sexualized at all, and of course the idea of her platonic love for Aurora being the actual true love. I do feel like that idea was done better in Frozen, although I can see why Maleficient could be more appealing to aces–in Frozen it’s family love as opposed to platonic love for an unrelated person, and Frozen does have a typical romantic storyline. Although even that was handled well, I feel like, with the love at first sight turning out to not be love at all, and Anna and Kristoff’s relationship only turning romantic once they’ve gotten to know each other, and Anna being very much Kristoff’s equal, and him asking permission before kissing her at the end (can you tell I love this movie!). But yeah, there are definitely things to appreciate about Maleficent–it’s pretty amazing to see a mainstream movie based on a fairytale have romance factor into the story so little.

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