The Fosters is an American drama show, written and produced by Peter Paige and Bradley Bredeweg, that aired between 2013 and 2018. It follows the lives of a lesbian couple and their biological and adoptive twin children. It paints the portrait of a not so fair foster system and the complexity that comes with adding foster kids to the family. Indeed, everything is going fine in the house until Callie and Jude arrive. They have stayed in many different foster homes in the past, each as bad as the other. When they are placed with the Fosters, things are different this time, and they end up getting adopted. I chose that show because of how much it taught me, and because of the impacts it has had on our generation’s thinking and perception of social differences.
Firstly, Callie, the main character, is who I believe to be a perfect example of strength and perseverance. From the youngest of age, after the death of her beloved mother, she had to take on the role of caregiver for her brother. And that, even if far apart and in the worst of situations. The show actually begins with her getting out of juvenile detention after having wrecked her foster dad’s car with a baseball bat, trying to defend her brother from his violent acts. She is also the one who introduced Jude to the Foster family, once again trying to get him away from the vicious man. On multiple occasions, she had to do so as she was ready to do anything for her brother to live a regular life. These situations, as well as many others, caused her to be the victim of several crimes and injustices and to ultimately build herself a thick skin. It is also due to this that Callie became a social justice fighter after getting adopted, and that I believe her to be a model of determination.
Secondly, there are two other strong characters that I believe represent well a fundamental concept of feminism; equality. Indeed, Lena and Stef Foster make up an interracial lesbian couple who have five kids under their care. They are what one can consider as unique, and they are not scared to show off their colours. In the show, it is possible to see them teach their children, as well as the viewers, valuable life lessons. For instance, Stef experiences troubles trying to organize their wedding as she realizes internalized homophobia prevents her from enjoying the event. She then has a talk with her children about the importance of accepting oneself and of always trying to find the underlying meanings behind mental obstacles. This issue is one that is common among LGBTQ+ members due to the taboo nature of sexuality. They also teach kids that the traditional composition of a family is not one that is necessary to the development of a child. As long as a proper division of labour is done, everything can work out well in the end.
Lastly, another important character on the show is Aaron, played by actor Eliott Fletcher, a trans man. His character is also one of a transgender man who is Callie’s love interests. This relationship is not one that is really common on television – transgender people’s love lives are a complete mystery to some. This new-on-screen type of love demonstrated to the youth watching the show that it is fine to be different and to be attracted to difference. Throughout the episodes he was in, he tried to convey this message of positivity and acceptance of oneself. His presence in the show got the support of the trans community, furthermore spreading awareness and the normalization of trans individuals in the media.
All in all, The Fosters is one of my favourite shows for many reasons, the main one being that it paints the portrait of a world that actually represents modern society. It conveys incredible messages and, even if it controversial for some, this series demonstrates perfectly this need for change and acceptance that society longs for. I have yet to find another show that so brilliantly touches all taboo subjects, trying to normalize things such as the existence of other sexual identities and orientations. Hopefully, people will learn from the show and model their own version of it so that more generations get to understand the importance of living in a society promoting equality.