I loved Nimona, which is essentially a trans narrative. Gorgeous movie for a lot of reasons, not least of all the animation.
It’s striking how well Nimona captured one particular thing I don’t often see in media: How our allies/friends can hurt us so deeply and stand to reinforce the systems that abuse us all.
Bal is our hero, and Nimona’s friend, yet he is also in several of Nimona’s flashbacks when she’s melting down over folks being cruel to her.
At one point Bal says (to paraphrase) “Of course I’M not like this but I’m just helping teach you what the world is like.”
I think about that sentiment a LOT. Because in that moment, Bal is ‘the world.’ He is the person reinforcing the bias against Nimona, trying to bang her into shape to escape embarrassment and oppression. Bal is her greatest ally in the movie and he’s also the one we see who most often expresses transphobic (monsterphobic) sentiments to her face.
I think about all the teachers (and adults in general) who abused me because they said, “I don’t think this way, but I have to get you ready for the world.” Those teachers were the world. They banged me up way more than most anyone else. And they did it under the guise of helping me. Being allies.
Nimona has left me shooketh and this particular thread is the main reason.
I have been this Bad Ally to people. I have been Bal, unintentionally passing on the system’s abuse. I have been Nimona, abused by allies who consider themselves my friend.
(Posted on my Letterboxd 06 Jul 2023.)
(Image credit: Netflix.)