I’ll be honest: I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went into the new Scooby-Doo movie. After all, it’s not like they’ve never done anything like this before they’ve had characters come out over the years, but that was always an afterthought. So even though I was excited about seeing Velma “Coming Out,” it didn’t occur to me until after The New Scooby-Doo Movie came out on DVD that her sexuality would be acknowledged during the film itself.
There was a Rumor Going Around
The rumor started when an image of a promotional poster for the new Scooby-Doo animated film went viral on Reddit. The poster featured Velma as a lesbian, with her arm around a woman who was wearing a dress and holding hands with another woman who was dressed like Shaggy.
However, this isn’t entirely inaccurate the character does appear to be holding hands with another character (which is what makes it look like they’re having sex). But it’s important to remember that this information comes from an image rather than something written down in script form or shown through animation; therefore there’s no guarantee that anything here will come true as part of the final film itself.
I had Mixed Feelings About this News
As you can imagine, I had mixed feelings about this news. On one hand, it’s exciting that a beloved cartoon character from childhood will finally have her sexuality represented onscreen; on the other hand, it’s hard to get too excited about seeing a character who had long identified as a queer person finally have her sexuality represented in such an underwhelming way.
While I understand why people would be disappointed by the lack of representation of canon Scooby-Doo characters (who are still around), I felt like there was no reason why everyone shouldn’t be able to enjoy seeing Velma “Coming Out” in this movie if anything should make people happy about it being included at all: It’s not necessarily what happened in this particular scene.
Her Sexuality is Represented Onscreen
However, I did get excited at the idea of seeing a cartoon character from my childhood whom I had long identified as a queer person finally have her sexuality represented onscreen.
I’m sure you’ve all heard about how cartoons can be important in helping children who are struggling with their sexuality or gender identity feel less alone by seeing themselves reflected positively in stories, characters, and artwork. But what about adults? How does representation change our lives? How does it help us come out and feel more comfortable with our sexuality or gender identity?
A recent study published by the American Psychological Association found that kids who see LGBTQIA people represented positively on TV are more likely to accept homosexuality when they grow up.
We know for sure that Velma is indeed Queer
Now that the movie is out and everyone has seen it, we know for sure that Velma is indeed queer. It’s never explicitly stated as being gay (which would be fine), but she says “I don’t know what came over me” when Shaggy asks about the kiss at the end of the movie. She’s also a young woman of color a rarity in cartoons and this is an important step toward representation for those who have always lacked representation on screen.
Big-budget Movie with Real Actors
However, because this is just an animated movie, not a mainstream, a big-budget movie with real actors, Velma’s sexuality is never explicitly stated. Instead of being lesbian or bisexual, she ends up kissing Daphne at the end of the film. When Shaggy asks her about it she responds “I don’t know what came over me.”
So Although we can all agree She’s Gay
So although we can all agree she’s gay, there’s no actual acknowledgment of that in the film. This sucks.
The movie is a cartoon, not a mainstream movie; it was made by kids and marketed to children. This means that what you’re seeing is not intended to be realistic or realistic at all—it’s meant to be fun rather than educational. It would be like if you were watching something like The Simpsons or Bob’s Burgers and one character came out as transgender (or gay). It would feel weird because it doesn’t fit into our worldview; it just doesn’t make sense!
Queer Onscreen is still Something to be Celebrated
While the current iteration of Velma may be a bit more modern, her character arc is still rooted in classic Scooby-Doo tropes. She’s the geeky girl who serves as the brains behind her friends’ investigations and performs most of their deductive work. The scene in which she comes out to Shaggy and Daphne is meant as a moment of comedy and it’s funny! But it also serves as a reminder that even today, queer people are still not represented often enough onscreen (especially when they’re characters who aren’t focused on being gay).
For this reason, it’s important for me that Velma get some screen time: not just because seeing an animated cartoon representation of an LGBT person would be amazing (it would!), but also because seeing such a beloved cartoon character represented as queer would mean something different than if they were real-life models instead.
Now that the movie is out and everyone has seen it, we know for sure that Velma is indeed queer. However, because this is just an animated movie, not a mainstream, a big-budget movie with real actors, Velma’s sexuality is never explicitly stated. Instead, Velma ends up kissing Daphne at the end of the film and when Shaggy asks her about it she responds “I don’t know what came over me.” So although we can all agree she’s gay, there’s no actual acknowledgment of that in the film. This sucks! But regardless of how this plays out in the new movie and whether or not it’s explicitly stated that Velma is gay, seeing a young queer woman of color who had an enormous impact on me growing up represented as queer onscreen is still something to be celebrated.