Thirty years ago in 1981 the iconic video game character of Mario first appeared in the arcade version of Donkey Kong, and a few months ago, much ado was made in the press about the 25th anniversary of the Super Mario Bros. series.
Mario Bros., an arcade game where Mario runs around the sewers of New York City attempting to rid them of strange creatures, preceded Super Mario Bros. and introduced the character of his twin brother Luigi, but it was the Super Mario Bros. series that transformed millions of people into hopeless turtle-stomping addicts. The Super Mario Bros. series and its various spinoffs like Super Mario World and Mario Kart spawned other characters that have become household names, such as Princess Peach, Bowser, Toad, and Yoshi.
While the general population probably considers Mario and Luigi to be nothing more than a couple of cartoon blokes in overalls and Toad to be a small mushroom with legs, lesbians will have a unique perspective on anything in pop culture, including the Mario Bros. series.
Here is a recap of the queerest series of conversations about Mario Bros. ever. The original conversation started, as usual, on Facebook. Queer club promoter Ellie Conant, whose next event Choice C–ts – DADT: Over and Out will be held at Identity Bar & Lounge this Saturday to celebrate the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, mused in her status message a couple of weeks ago, “I’m convinced the character you chose as a kid as your driver in Mario Kart says a ton about you. I am always the genderless mushroom character.”
Further down the thread, a few femmes remarked that they always chose Princess Peach. Like a virus, the conversation then spread to other people through gchat and then, later, brunch with unlimited mimosas. Here are a few choice snippets.
“Mario brings out my inner butch. While I consider myself a femme, I just can’t drive around wearing Princess Peach’s godawful pink dress.”
“Definitely more effeminate than Mario.”
“Maybe he’s a secret top. You know the phrase, ‘Femme in the streets, butch in the sheets.’”
“While he is a boy, he is an anthropomorphic turtle without the usual masculine traits.”
“So he’s a boi? A twink? A twertle?”
[Editor’s note: Yoshi is actually a dinosaur.]
“I didn’t like the fact that she was a passive character in the original Super Mario Bros. series and always had to be saved.”
“But in Mario Kart, she is on equal footing with Mario, Luigi, Bowser and everyone else. By the time Mario Kart was released, there was gender parity.”
Do you think that the Mario Bros. character you played says something about your gender identity or anything else about you? Are you confused as to how “femme in the sheets, butch in the sheets” managed to insert itself into a conversation about a Nintendo game? Does this make you embarrassed to be a lesbian? Is there anything you would like to add about Mario Bros. in general? Open thread on all things Mario!