27 December 2010

THT: Gays in the Media

I've thought a lot about how gay people are represented in the media. Until recently, gay people were  pretty much used for entertainment value. They are funny. We can laugh at them. Laugh with them. We all love gay people when they are entertaining us on television, but present a gay drama and you can count most people out. Think of all the sitcoms and shows that involve a gay character. I think it is much like blacks were somewhat respected as entertainers, but not much more than that before the civil rights movement. It was okay for them to preform jazz, but not share a bathroom.

But today, the popular television show Glee presents a gay character who is played by a gay guy who deals with dramatic issues. Granted Kirt is still an entertaining character who sings and makes us happy, but he also struggles with real-life issues. Brokeback Mountain was also groundbreaking film. It is a drama, not a comedy. It presents the raw, real-life struggles of two men in love. I think there is still a long way to go.

"Happily-ever-after" is still defined by boy-meets-girl. The "American Dream" is still the wife and kids, a house with a white-picket fence, and a SUV. Our music, our fairy-tales, our movies, the majority of media still leave boy meets boy or girl meets girl outside of "happily ever after." Obviously we can't expect this alternate happily-ever-after to become as prominent as the traditional ideology, but I do hope that more quality media will be made so that gay kids don't grow up feeling as though there can be no happiness for them.


El Genio said...

You left out Brothers & Sisters! :)

Anonymous said...

You're so right. In movies and television getting wacked in the crotch and gay jokes are guaranteed laughs.

It's the hypocrisy of the performers that drives me crazy. Kathy Griffin is one of the worst. She talks about "my gays" and cracks jokes and makes big bucks at their expense. But they just sit there and laugh and support her. Her gays ought to wake up to her and others like her.

Last year's Academy Awards presentation was guilty as well. All that lip service to embracing and supporting gay rights and then a skit with a gay joke included.

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