Nickelodeon is in season two of a show that actively promotes natural human behavior. Oh, the scandal!
This is a year-old scandal now but I’ve only become aware of it recently while doing some research on another topic. Bella and the Bulldogs is currently in its second season and features a story line that revolves around a blonde ‘tween’ and the two boys seeking her attention. One seems stuck in the friend zone while the other seems destined for more.
So what’s wrong with that? Nothing that I can see. This is a fact of life and a fact of relationships that we almost all experience at some point in our maturation. Who didn’t grow up and either have similar experiences or observe them happening for others? Our biology compels us to rank ourselves socially and perform the role most suited to us. Once we leave high school and join society, we’re supposed to set that aside and play by societal (and largely religious) rules which run counter to our biology.
I also understand the anxiety surrounding the sexuality presented, but it’s only the adults who even see that. The scandal, in my opinion, is that society continues to treat sexuality like something children can never be exposed to or educated on.
Where did this TV show start to go all sideways for all the prudes and evangelicals? One of the boys is black! Worse, he’s the subject of the more romantic interests of the female. Scandal! Okay, the scandal isn’t just that but I’m sure for some that’s more than enough to cry foul. No, the issue runs a bit deeper than that.
Most of the criticism is for the subtle, but admittedly rampant symbolism weaved into the show. For one looking for it, these hints rather clearly represent and promote the interracial cuckold fetish, but sadly does so from the stereotypically ignorant perspective.
According to critics, who have called on Nickelodeon to cancel the show, the broadcast is replete with subtle and not so subtle references and symbols that echo the themes of interracial cuckold fetish porn. They include;
– The name of the show itself – Bella and the Bulldogs. A black man who has sex with a white woman while her husband watches is referred to as “the bull” in cuckold subculture.
– Bella and the Bulldogs seems to be fixated on bulls, despite the fact that the football team is named after a breed of dog. In promo shots, Bella’s hair usually covers the word “dogs” on her shirt, making it appear to just read “bull”.
– In one scene, Bella is blindfolded and led to a basement initiation where she is ordered to slap a bull.
– Another scene shows Bella standing in front of a black man with a poster behind her of a white baby crossed out.
– All of the “bad kids” depicted in the series are white with southern accents, suggesting a racial bias.
– Another scene shows Bella tied to a chair, which critics assert mirrors a bondage scene in The Cuckold.
– Butler’s Facebook page shows that he has ‘liked’ porn star Taylor Wane – best known for her roles in cuckold fetish videos.
Personally, I don’t see the necessity of the numerous references to an adult experience, but overall I see this as no different than equally subtle and sometimes very adult humor that is woven into every Disney and Pixar movie. Given how subtle the symbolism is and how well-versed in cuckolding one would have to be to make the many connections drawn, it seems like a lot to do about nothing.
Yes, all those kids and tweens watching are so totally focused on some blurry keys on a necklace.
Oddly enough, those purportedly up in arms against this show and the symbolism seem surprisingly adept at linking the symbolism to the lifestyle. What is one to make of that? Good research? I think not.
Where the zealots really go crazy is the presumed source of the symbolism and stereotyping: a writer for the show who also produced a movie in 2009 called The Cuckold.
I’m not sure where or how this ‘film’ was distributed because I can find little to no evidence of it being distributed in any meaningful form. I couldn’t find it on Netflix or Amazon and we all know what that means: it doesn’t really exist. I did find it out on Xhamster though, which also says something, I suppose. The man responsible for writing and directing The Cuckold was also hired as a writer for Bella and the Bulldogs – true scandal ensues.
Now, as Paul Harvey would say, you know the rest of the story.
I’m not writing this as an unambiguous endorsement of the writer’s work, in fact, I need to take him to task on several points.
First, I will call out his ignorance and racism in promoting the same stereotypes that perpetuate the falsehoods surrounding the cuckold/hotwife marriage lifestyle. Perhaps Jonathan Butler doesn’t personally believe that black males are superior as a race and white males are inferior, but if that’s the case it just makes capitalizing on it and perpetuating it through his media that much worse.
Second, he did himself and the cuckolding lifestyle no favors when he openly joked on Facebook about an intersection between his work and kids. While I have been on the record here stating that sexuality isn’t something to be entirely avoided for children, I do advocate for responsibly educating children and his reckless comments indicate anything and everything but careful consideration.
Third, his irresponsible behavior and ignorant capitalization of false stereotypes further polarizes the public against practices which are entirely natural for us and instead provokes ignorant reactions.
The interracial cuckold fetish is rooted in the degradation of all parties involved. The black male is objectified and dehumanized as an animal (bull) while the white male is humiliated and denied gratification. The wife degrades herself by having adulterous sex with an “animal”. References to such an abusive and psychologically violent fetish clearly have no place in a children’s television show.
There is so much wrong with that statement and Butler is very much responsible for inflaming that sort of sentiment. I’m sure this social justice crusader wouldn’t at all be opposed to story lines that promote Bella having two dads, two moms, or a parent who isn’t quite sure what their gender is.
Let’s take individual issue with each statement included in the assertion that interracial cuckolding (and all cuckolding by inference) is rooted in degradation.
The interracial cuckold fetish is rooted in the degradation of all parties involved.
Even among couples actively involved in (interracial) cuckolding, the idea does exist that (interracial) cuckolding is about degradation, but that’s ultimately not true even for them. What cuckolding is about is contrast. I write about it more extensively in the post Contrasts but essentially, most if not all behaviors related to cuckolding can be attributed to the establishment and expansion of various forms of contrast. These contrasts can be power, pleasure, discomfort, and last but not least, race. They all drive the tension which energizes the experience for those participating.
The black male is objectified and dehumanized as an animal (bull) while the white male is humiliated and denied gratification.
A bull isn’t meant to be dehumanized at all, except by those who buy into that definition because they haven’t been exposed to any other definition.
The cuckold isn’t denied gratification – that’s ridiculous. Why would any male ever agree to, let alone enjoy being a cuckold if there was no reward. Again, the idea is that being a cuckold is victim-hood. A cuckold may have a different form of gratification, delayed gratification, or both, but they will certainly have their gratification physically, mentally, and emotionally because that’s the point of it all.
For the record, the “bull” role has everything to do with agronomy and nothing to do bestiality.
The wife degrades herself by having adulterous sex with an “animal”.
In farming and ranching, when female cattle require a male for a singular purpose (for mating), a bull is introduced. This is the source of the label – the introduction of a male for sexual purpose. It doesn’t make them an animal or imply the female is an animal or interested in animals sexually for having a “bull”. To assume that black men are animals for being a bull is on its face, racist. Take that!
And last, but not least:
References to such an abusive and psychologically violent fetish clearly have no place in a children’s television show.
When the ignorant statements preceding this one are accepted as fact, such a statement stands as self-evident, but since those statements are, in fact, based on ignorance and even willful ignorance, the statement is without meaning other than for the truth that psychological violence has no part in children’s television. That’s why Barney should have been banned…
It’s not all bad news, however. In some corners of the interwebs, people have avoided knee-jerk reactions:
Quote:The entertainment agenda there is pretty obvious: emasculating men and undermining masculinity.
What is masculinity? To me, it’s a social construct based of aggression, fear, and dominance for its own sake, because its expected just because you have a penis. I argue “real men” stand up for what they believe in, because its the right thing to do, in the face of adversity. “Real women” to that too.
Either way, maybe if you stop believing in the false standards of “masculinity” that pop culture feeds you, you’ll not be “emasculated” at every little thing.
This person is onto something, but perhaps lacks a more complete perspective. The “degradation”, “humiliation”, and “emasculation” that are said to apply to cuckolding exist because our society makes no room for men who are not overtly alpha males. When a male accepts and feels welcome within the marriage as a beta, the acts of “emasculation” aren’t enacted or experienced as something hurtful – they are experienced as methods of increasing contrast between the role of a beta and the role of an alpha.
In Bella and the Bulldogs, the paradigm that represents a cuckold/hotwife marriage is clearly evident: a situation where two males play different roles in making one female’s life complete. This is the very idea that should be celebrated. Few men can be all things to one woman, but two males can work together to see to that. This is how we functioned before religion and group think forced us into living as couples.
The perceptual symbolism such as the wearing of keys or the jersey #1 for the girl and the jersey #99 for the white boy are clever, but entirely lost on anyone but those looking for them. The idea that relationships can include more than one male and that those males can be either alpha or beta and both be valued is the more important lesson. Sadly, the value of the beta male in this production may not be well supported, because of the ignorant bias involved, but within the community here, we know this to be true.
If we don’t question and actively challenge the reality we are forced into, we have no right to complain about it. Without honest and challenging media to provide counter-point to the ignorance, we will always be subject to that ignorance.