Editor’s Note: This article was originally posted on MSA’s literary arts blog, curated by junior and senior literary arts students.
Almost exactly one week ago, I found myself falling down the endless void that is my TikTok ‘For You’ Page for the second time that day. About twenty minutes passed before I stumbled across a familiar face: JoJo Siwa. For those of you who are unaware, JoJo is a dancer, singer, and social media personality who is best known for her hit song “Boomerang,” being on two seasons of Dance Moms, and her wild, colorful style. In this video, the 17-year-old sported her iconic ponytail and glitter-covered bow hairstyle and lip-synced to Lady Gaga’s pride anthem “Born This Way.”
I immediately had the feeling that this video was more than it appeared to be at the surface level, and my suspicions were confirmed a day or so later by the gray ‘liked by creator’ tag hovering below many of overwhelmingly supportive comments congratulating her on coming out in her newer TikToks. Four days ago, JoJo took to Instagram to express her gratitude towards humanity and said, “For the last–what would it be now?–72 hours, I have gotten the most endless amount of love and support…I think humans are really incredible people.”
A certain warmth encapsulated my heart when I realized, and I am still overjoyed by this wonderful addition to the community. Many people have taken to social media to reflect on their experience as non-straight youth, and they expressed how the lack of Sapphic representation in media affected their understanding of their sexuality. Positive representation not only reaffirms for these kids that they are valid in their attraction and experience; it also serves to increase acceptance and support for the LGBTQ+ community as a whole.
Like always, there is still a small minority of people spreading bigotry-fueled negativity. A handful claim that Jojo is too young to understand her own sexuality–you heard it first hear folks! You have to be 18 or older to figure out if you’re not straight, but of course, those who are heterosexual are ‘allowed’ to know what their sexuality is the second their parents decide that they want to start forcing heteronormativity on their children. Some parents have expressed concern with their children consuming Jojo’s content. Next up on news: having a gay idol does not make anyone gay. If a person realizes something about themselves after witnessing someone like her live authentically, it was already who they were to begin with.
In spite of this, JoJo has remained resilient. She responded to one of these negative comments on Instagram in true icon fashion, silencing the crowd with only four letters.