Pose and the Importance of Adopted Motherhood
Yesterday was Mother’s Day, a celebration of the women biological or otherwise, that work to fill that role in our lives. On television, there are many depictions of motherhood—good, bad, and everything in between—but I want to celebrate someone that I think is one of television’s best mothers: Blanca Evangelista from the FX series Pose.
When we first meet Blanca, she is a creative young woman living with her own mother, Elektra, as a child of the House of Abundance. Elektra is an overbearing mother-type who treats her children as subjects and belittles them quite often. Blanca pushes back against Elektra’s tyranny but takes it mostly, until she finds out that she has HIV. Blanca decides that she is going to start her own House, the House of Evangelista, and build a family out the community that is around her.
Blanca takes in Angel, a trans woman sex worker; Damon, a talented dancer made homeless, kicked out of his home for being gay; Lil Papi, a drug dealer, and Ricky, Damon’s boyfriend. Blanca cares and nurtures each of them, pushing them to peruse education, legal means of survival, and doing her best to help build a world that they can be safe in. When Damon starts dating Ricky, she has a very in-depth sex talk with him about what gay sex can be like, makes sure he has protection, and that he knows he should only do what he feels comfortable with. She encourages everyone to get tested so that they can not only be safe but that they don’t infect other people.
In the episode “Mother’s Day,” we see Blanca getting the news that her biological mother has died, and she attends her funeral and wake. Her biological family dead names her, and her brother violently assaults her, calling Blanca a pedophile and other homophobic slurs. Still, Blanca does all of this to set an example for her children. They have all been set aside in some way, but Blanca does this to get closure because she wants to heal for herself. That kind of example-setting is part of what makes Blanca such a good mother.
Within the same episode, we get more backstory between Blanca and Elektra, where we see Baby Blanca go to her first ball and get dragged by everyone there, but Elektra, seeing Blanca’s bravery, decides to take her in. Present day, Elektra gets her reassignment surgery and while none of her current children show up, Blanca does. Blanca tells Elektra that in her life she’s had two mothers, the one who has passed, and Elektra, so while Elektra hasn’t been the best mother it doesn’t mean she won’t show up for the only mother-figure she has left. It’s a beautiful scene and shows why the rivalry between the two is more than just petty snipping. What Blanca says also inspires Elektra to try and be a better mother to her children.
Blanca fights to build a better world for her kids and pushes them to take all the opportunities that they can get. What’s more is that she gives them love, real love, and care, even when it’s hard. She knew what it was like to lose a mother’s love, so she gives it out as much as she can. Motherhood isn’t about biology, it is about making your children better people and wanting to change things for the better, so that your battles don’t become their battles.
Blanca Evangelista is everything a good mother should be and much more.
Who are your favorite adoptive/chosen mothers on television?
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