I always thought of Voltron as a show that was more progressive in it’s writing rather than the vanilla: protagonist boy meets girls, fall in love and live happily ever after. Apparently not really. It’s a deeper issue than that however. This is, face it a show for kids and the message the last few seasons spread was very uncomfy. I spent time in a very unhealthy relationship and I could see that some of that same pained kid in Lance, the red flags, the triggers of—dare I say “toxic masculinity” that cause identity crisis in lots of young guys. Lance is obviously someone struggling with insecurities, but he hides them by acting cocky and boisterous so he doesn’t seem weak—we all know a Lance type. But if you know them you also know that they will hide their emotions to an unhealthy extent by being that class clown and never feel like it’s okay to honest with others or even themselves sometimes until it breaks them. In the later seasons we can obviously see this taking its toll on Lance when he starts to become more low energy and pessimistic. How is this solved? Through Allura? I think not. I spent so much time believing I could save someone, but inner happiness doesn’t come from a relationship, and if that’s what you believe it will break you—because it broke me. You’re teaching kids we’re nothing until we find that “one” and I guess I was stupid to have more faith in the writers than that. Lance becomes a shell of a human after Allura and he’s so young as if there’s “nobody else for him.” Well I’ll tell you what, I became a shell of a human too after my break up because I thought I was worthless and I had lost my “soul mate.” I lost so much time believing my life was over BUT MCFREAKIN GUESS WHAT?! Life is actually so much more beautiful and meaningful when you realize life is so much more than finding a soul mate and love is so much more than just one relationship. Don’t give kids the idea they can give up after they lose in love—because that’s what the world taught me and it took me 3 years and a lot growing to overcome it. But other people don’t recover. They may continue to bury themselves toxic relationships, drugs, alcohol, or isolate themselves like I did but never come out of it. Not only was the relationship itself problematic but the development as well. Lance kept flirting with Allura and she was obviously disinterested in the beginning, but he kept pursuing. This just reiterates that it’s okay for boys to harass, pester, and pursue a girl even if she doesn’t return your feelings. From Allura’s end, instead of being firm with Lance especially when the mice tell her Lance likes her she won’t give him a clear answer and it never really seems like she returns his feelings, she just pity’s him. I felt like this encourages the gender stereotype of coy submissive women. If Allura is such a strong female character she should’ve given Lance a firm clear answer to teach girls it’s okay to tell a boy no without feeling guilty. The final thing I found very problematic and icky was Lance saying, “I love you” to Allura. That scene was just so uncomfy. It projected so much insecurity. That is not what love is and I hate that it’s teaching kids it’s okay to say something with that much weight to it so early on. “But they were friends first” Yes that holds true but I would argue they weren’t particularly close enough to yet feel love. (I know there are many kinds of love but just shh and bare with me) Lance hasn’t been in love before, and I know the kind of love he thinks he’s feeling. It’s happened to me 2 too many times. He finally feels like he has someone who will listen and he can share his feelings with and it’s, “I love you,” but it’s not the same for girls that may see more emotionally intimate relationships as a close friendship. You’re not in love yet and it’s really uncomfortable to put the opposite party in that position—but maybe this is me projecting my own personal experiences too much (why tf has it happened to me twice). To conclude and sum up this word vomit: Lance became a shell of a human being over a girl because of all his deep insecurities, and why in this day and age are we still reinforcing dumb gender roles and toxic relationships like that. Regardless of it being a “children’s cartoon” and that “kids won’t read this deeply into things” just remember that kids subconsciously absorb everything they watch. It did for me and it didn’t do me any favors.