Pride Month Character Spotlight: Santana Lopez
Welcome to the thirteenth article in our Pride series for the month of June! Each day we will be highlighting a different LGBTQ+ character who we think is a great example of representation, dynamic characterization, and overall badassery. Check out the rest of the series here.
As a pre-teen or teen tuning into Glee, you couldn’t help but be enamored with Santana Lopez.
Santana, played by Naya Rivera, was the bad girl of the hit teen musical drama, Glee. Her snarky comments and breathy arrogance landed her more and more screen time as the show progressed. Her character started out pretty paper thin, no backstory or reason… just her attitude. Then, by season two, her storyline began to progress. The fans then realized that Santana was gay. Since the character started out as a promiscuous heterosexual, this news was a shock to most. Santana, however, learns to love herself by the middle seasons of the teen dramedy.
Santana is more than just her sexuality, and she would not let herself be defined it. However, it is a very important part of who she is. She does not let herself get made fun of or put down by others for it. Her coming out process wasn’t all that easy, because a political ad run in the town had named her as a lesbian, which then forced her hand into coming out. You can see that play out in the episode, “I Kissed a Girl.” She was not given the chance to express herself in her own time, unlike her male counterparts. In the end though, she prevailed.
Santana had an off and on again relationship with her best friend, Brittany. They became a power couple and a role model for the lesbian community, as well as for anyone who enjoyed watching two people who love each other fight for one another. Throughout the show, you are able to watch her grow, explore and find love. Her character development, in my opinion, far surpasses her male counterparts. For a show to pay that much attention to her love life in a true serious way was very nice to see.
Her character and main love interest faced many bigotries. They had to deal with being told they could not kiss in public because other classmates felt uncomfortable by their display. While this was heartbreaking to watch, it was honest, it is a true reality for many. Glee really explores the double standards of straight relationships and queer relationships, with Santana and Brittany being at the forefront. Santana as a character helped bring many issues into light. It was nice to see a show use a lesbian character for a sense of reality and not comic relief or male pleasure.
Santana is a role model for so many people. Her loud demeanor, her snarky attitude and the fact she would stand up for all of her friends are all admirable and so fun to watch. Her authenticity and her sense of self that came from her self love towards her sexuality is what made her a person everyone could relate to. The fact that she is a lesbian does not define her, but empower her. I hope Santana has empowered others as she has empowered me.
Do you have a character spotlight suggestion? Leave it in the comments down below!