SpongeBob and Patrick found a clam, depicted as an infant, and nurtured it together. Well, it wouldn’t have created such an outrage except that SpongeBob acted as the doting, stay at home housewife while Patrick…
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Needless to say, this episode enraged certain groups, especially religious ones, claiming that it promotes homosexuality and advocated for the boycott of the Nickelodeon staple. The show’s creator, Stephen Hillenburg, was quick to answer that SpongeBob is asexual. The show’s creator, Stephen Hillenburg, was quick to answer that SpongeBob is asexual (The Week Staff, para.2). What exactly that meant? It leaves much to the imagination, but, simply that he is neither male nor female. Hillenburg may as well just have found a way to get out of the mess but the androgynous quality of his characters resonates to reflect the blurring of the lines of gender identity.
When you think about it, this cartoon is able to encompass a wide audience that does not limit according to sex. It is entertaining to both girls and boys where even the age brackets are often irrelevant. Strauss found that its viewing audience includes ages between 5-49 (qtd. in Tarr and Brown 21). The main character, despite his name being Bob, is a yellow sponge who has pretty straightforward goals in life. His best friend is a pink starfish named Patrick whose gender we could only assume as leaning more toward male identification despite his skin color. “SpongeBob SquarePants offers an imaginary, humorous alternative to the world in which we live” (Tarr and Brown 29). SpongeBob Squarepants is not the kind of children’s fixation that focuses on love interests and damsel in distress plots. Unlike what Susan Brownmiller spoke of as “the fairy tales that were read to me at night” that conditioned her to declare, “I loved being a little girl, or rather I loved being a fairy princess, for that was who I thought I was” (205). Diffendal comments and cites, “Whether or not SpongeBob has a crush on his starfish pal — the BBC claimed that SpongeBob ‘is seen as an icon for adult gay men in the U.S., apparently because he regularly holds hand with his [starfish] sidekick Patrick’”
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