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I Am Not Okay With This- why does it always have to be a guy?


















"I Am Not Okay With This" is a television series created by Jonathan Entwistle. Based on a comic book written by Charles Forsman, the show follows the story of Sydney Novak, a teenage queer girl dealing with her emerging superpowers while navigating high school and personal struggles.


Sydney Novak is a complex and multidimensional character who grapples with her own identity, emotions, and the pressures of conforming to societal expectations. Sydney's character provides a nuanced portrayal of a young woman coming to terms with her own power and agency. Sydney is not portrayed as the stereotypical "girly" character who is passive or delicate. Instead, she is a character who often through her voice over informs the audience of her anger and frustration at things that bother her. While Sydney is shown as a strong character who has superpowers, is not afraid to express her emotions and does not hide behind her insecurities (showing her neighbour Stanley Barber her thigh pimples) her character at the end of the day is still reduced to needing a guy to help her. In an episode, Stanley also appoints himself as Sydney's mentor. It is understandable that the writer might have been trying to portray the challenges that teenagers face alone as they grow up, and the difficulties of navigating life especially with an absent parent through Sydney's inability to control her superpowers. However, the show also focuses on how a guy Stanley Barber helps Sydney hide the mess of her superpowers which gives the perception that a strong girl with superpowers still needs a guy to help her balance her life and save her from trouble because she is unable to control her powers. While Sydney is strong enough to *spoiler alert* blow up a character's head in the show, there is still reliance on Stanley Barber, the more chill character, someone who smokes and dances and somehow is mostly free to help.













This is not your average show. The show's main lead is a female queer character, who does not fit into the traditional "perfect model" title. Her repressed sexuality, desires and emotions come out and are labelled as superpowers instead of being called "tantrums." Sydney is attracted to her best friend Dina, whose boyfriend Brad Lewis becomes a reason for Sydney's inability to control her emotions and superpowers. Understandably, Sydney is still coming to terms with the fact that she is queer and does not want to compromise her friendship with Dina, but Dina being her best friend, still isn't the one to know about Sydney's superpowers.


While the show is more complex than this and Sydney is battling with a lot of emotional trauma and coming to terms with her sexuality, Stanley Barber, the stoner guy is still the only person who seems to know what triggers Sydney's superpowers and is someone who is present to help her. The show also ends with the introduction of a mysterious male entity who says "let's begin," implying that he can teach Sydney more about her superpowers.

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Khadija Nasir
Khadija Nasir
Jun 22, 2023

Absolutely loved your post about the show! I haven't seen it, but your analysis of it has given me a pretty understanding of what it is!

I really appreciate how Sydney's struggles with her sexuality and emotions as a teenager are portrayed as a superpower instead of the general negative common depiction that we are used to. Being associated with something that is usually seen as positive i.e. superpowers, it allows the audience to imagine that their adolescent struggles are not weaknesses. Still, rather they are rather powerful means of discoveries. The use of a male lead character, either for comic relief or just for the sake of having a male character, just adds a disappointing stereotypical representation to the…

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Love this, you are right about how this show does a great job at subverting the negative depictions of adolescent struggles by replacing it with superpowers! It makes you feel so much better about the changes that you go through as you grow up which can be a very scary experience.

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I completely understand your frustration with the portrayal of Sydney's character. It's disappointing when a show that offers a refreshing perspective and explores important themes still falls into certain tropes and stereotypes.

While Sydney's character is initially presented as an independent young woman dealing with her emerging superpowers, it's disheartening to see her eventually relying on a male character to help her control her powers and navigate her life. I think it really undermines the potential for Sydney to fully embrace her own agency and growth. The fact that Sydney, a character with superpowers, is still portrayed as needing a guy to guide her and save her from trouble makes the show seem like a missed opportunity to break away…

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Thank you for this, you are right! the show does do a good job at addressing complex issues especially by making the lead a complex character who is in no way the perfect girl and who grapples with challenges much like we do like I highlighted in the blog that she is not your stereotypical "girly" lead.

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Loved your post! I really miss this show :( its been a while since I watched it but I’m still bitter about Netflix abandoning the story on a cliff hanger and never renewing it for a season 2. I think that’s the beauty of having interesting coming of age tv series; you get so immersed in the characters' storylines that you remember them for years. Something else that stood out to me in this show was the fact that unlike other comic based adaptations that feature multiple people with superhero abilities or supervillains for the protagonist to connect with, Sydney literally had no one to match her power. Stanely seems dull in comparison, so her turning to him of all…

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True, I wish that if they wanted to show help, they could choose a girl instead of Stan so that the show would not have been reduced to Sydney needing a guy for help.

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Mubashir Mémon
Mubashir Mémon
Jun 15, 2023

Loved the read! When I watched this show, I felt it quite elegantly delves into the process of self-discovery and the path towards adulthood. Sydney's supernatural powers, which she discovers throughout the series, serve as a metaphor for her journey of self-acceptance. Her ability to *again spoiler alert* move objects with her mind represents the uncontainable emotions and frustrations of adolescence, highlighting the internal struggles she faces as she tries to understand herself. She learns to embrace her individuality and reject the idea of fitting into a predefined mold, ultimately finding strength in her uniqueness.

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Thank you for this, curious to know whether you think the father has a crucial role to play when it comes to her superpowers.

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interesting read! This is definitely going to be on my watch list. I liked how you mentioned that it is a rather complex show where sydney is emotionally overwhelmed and still trying to navigate through life which aligns with most of our realities (minus the superpower bit). I agree completely with a man being the Saviour and how a woman, ultimately needs a man, but i would also like to point out that a man, in many of these shows and movies are often synonymous with a woman's need for love. What probably stands out and makes this different is probably that sydney is queer and has feelings for her best friend, but ultimately the idea revolves around a woman's…

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That is true, Sydney does want love from Dina but that is not made central, her coming to terms with her sexuality and her repressed desires when unable to be controlled, come out as powers. (but these are just some of the reasons) So it is more like Sydney trying to discover herself and the show does not at any point hint that Dina liking Sydney back would solve all of Sydney's problems. Hope this helps.

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