Discuss the representation of sexuality in tv Essay

When we talk about to minorities in films, we have to think about how things are represented on screen and the meanings that are being portrayed through the media. "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence" is a 1980 essay by Adreinne Rich that looks at how heterosexuality is set up in the mainstream as the norm and everything else around it is seen as different or odd. In her essay, she argues that heterosexuality is not innate or natural instincts, it is observed behaviour that is learnt through many cultures and societies that render women in a subordinate situation. Her essay brought up a lot of attention in film representations and how the LGBTQA+ community is shown on tv and film. Stereotyping is a big part of representation in films because there is a lot of stereotypical gay characters in films especially in modern cinema because there are gay characters visible now in cinema more than in the classical film era. Stereotyping works in society both to establish and maintain the hegemony of the dominant group and to marginalize and exclude other social groups. Throughout the history of cinema, there are more and more queer movies as it is becoming more acceptable in society to be in the LGBT+ Community. The first gay movement in cinema was in Germany in the early cinema period with the film different from the Others (1919). This is a movie about a successful violinist, Paul Körner, who falls in love with his male students, who also comes out as gay and Paul is being threatened by an extortionist to expose Paul as homosexual. Throughout the film, we see their struggle of being gay and trying to survive with their family and friends judging them. At the end we see a doctor giving a speech about self-love and to change prejudice on homosexuals. This movie is still shown is many gay rights movements, for example, it was shown in the official program at Outfest in 2012 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Teddy awards. In the 1970s and 80s, there was a lot more coming out and consciousness-raising on the gay rights and there were more film festivals dedicated to this like the Emergence of film festival. Since the 1990s there are more queer theories, so people are getting more accepted of the LGBT+ community which led to more queer cinema and TV. The new queer cinema was first defined by B. Ruby Rick in Sight and Sound magazine (1992) to represent the movement in the independent queer-themed films. This became notorious very quickly because these films are made by people that have got something to express, so they are challenging films as it: directly address the non-heterosexual audience, presented material that was sexually explicit and has little regard for political correctness. Judith Butler is a gender theorist, who looks at gender identity and gendered representations and she argues that nothing within gender is fixed. She believes that gender roles are socially constructed so sexuality is constructed with heterosexuality as standard and this is the main idea of the queer theory. Similarly, In Barry, P. (1994) Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory, it says that ‘There are differences of emphasis between lesbian and gay theory, and two major strands of thinking within lesbian theory itself’. And he talks about lesbian feminism which is a cultural movement that encourages women to direct their energies toward other women rather than men, and often advocates lesbianism as the logical result of feminism. This is shown in TV now as a lesbian woman being masculine or they show love to each other to boost up their confidence as they are seen as sisters. Most lesbians on TV talks positively about other women and they don’t bring anyone down to lower their confidant. When we look at queer TV, the LGBT+ community is mostly represented at victims or the defiant, for example in the tv program Everything Sucks, there is a lesbian girl that gets bullied in school and the person that bullied her turns out to be lesbian as well, she was hiding it so that she is more accepted in society. This is a stereotype of gay people on TV because gay characters usually get bullied and mainly by a popular girl or a ‘jock’ in high school. Moreover, the popular gay character in teen films are commonly hiding the fact that they are gay, and they abuse an innocent gay character because they might feel jealous or intimidated by the facts that the homosexual boy or girl has got self-love and confidence in who they are. In the TV, show Everything sucks we see this as the character Kate is accused of being gay and gets bullied by Emaline because she is jealous of her looks and self-confident. This is a typical gay love story; the gay character and the bully fool in love, as it is a fantasy of most gay people and it shows that bullies are just insecure people who want to bring others down to make themselves feel better. On the other it is good to see a non-stereotypical homosexual person on TV, like a very masculine gay person because gay men are usually represented as feminine and week. In the TV show Glee, which is about a singing club in high school, there is a homosexually character, Kurt Hummel, who gets bullied by Dave Karofsky all the time which is typical to see in Teen drama. However, in season 2 there is a scene were Kurt stand up to Dave and suddenly Dave kisses Kurt. This is different to what we usually represented as gay because Dave is a very masculine jock, who plays sports and hangs out with boy, and seeing a character like this breaks the stereotypes of gay men in TV. One more, representation of the gay community in TV is that they have the opposite gender roles to their sex, for example, lesbians are masculine and gay people are feminine and this is not always the case with homosexuals. In the TV show Everything sucks season 1 episode 5, Kate and Emaline goes shopping and you clearly see that Kate is not that into most ‘girly stuff’ because she is very confused and uncomfortable when shopping and she doesn’t have any interest in fancy clothes or trying to look good for a boy as She is a stereotypical lesbian teenager character. ‘Tom-boy’ is what most lesbians are being called as they seem to be more masculine and not a typical heterosexual girl and at times this is true. however, there are many lesbians that are very feminine too and we do not see this as much on TV. Nonetheless, in Everything sucks Emaline is a very feminine lesbian character. It is nice to see the different types of lesbians on TV, so they are not generalising to the stereotypes. Most LGBT+ characters have a sad backstory on how they come out and people not accepting at first or having issues with family and friends after they come out. Stereotypically in TV, most gay characters have a sad story about how they realised they were gay and the reaction they got when they come out is usually a shock. For example, in Glee Season 5 episode 5, we see a transgender girl called Wade Unique Adams, he gets bullied by a group of ‘jocks’ in the men’s bathroom. We see a lot of this on TV, most LGBT+ people get bullied in school and this gets sympathy from the audience. We always see LGBT+ people as victims of discrimination and they do not really stand up for themselves, but we want to see more empowering homosexual people on TV so young people watching this will not be as scared to come out as gay. Therefore, suppressing Homosexual people watching these will get anxious to come out because they have seen what happens to homosexuals on TV. The ‘gay best friend’ is a very well know character role that is associated with homosexual people. Most gay character on TV is represents as a side character or the best friend of the main character to add more variety of people and for funny mannerisms. They usually talk about sex, but we never see them with a significant other because this may disturb some viewer back in the 1990s and if they do go on dates it is never shown on screen, it is just talked about. In Glee the gay character Kurt is a sassy side character and a ‘gay best friend’ to Rachael which is very stereotypical of gay characters on TV. Despite, we do get deep into Kurt's life through the show including his love life because TV shows have more time to go deep into a character life. if it was a film, I do not think they would have gone that deeply into his life. On the other hand, we never see the transgender character, Unique Adams’, love life. we just see her being victimised because she is transgender. Throughout the years there is more and more homosexual people on TV, but we don’t see as much of transgenders, asexual or pansexual people. On the contrary, even though we do not see much LGBT+ main characters, there is getting more and more queer film and TV shows that is dedicated on homosexual people. For example, Everything sucks is a Netflix show that is about a lesbian teenagers life and how she came out as gay. Yet, most of these shows are dedicated on the struggles of coming out as gay. We see less of Another stereotype associated with the LGBT+ communities is that they are not religious as most religions look down on gay people, so we see less of this on TV. For example, in Glee the lesbian character Santana Lopez or the transgender character Unique Adams is not religious, so she does not believe in god and do not associate with people that believes in god. This is a stereotype of LGBT+ community because we do not see any religious homosexual character on TV. Due to this there is a lack of religious gay people on TV but there is a lot of LGBT+ people who have faith and religion. There is more nowadays because religious people are becoming more accepting of homosexual people, so we need to see more gay religious people on TV. Lesbians are represented as a sexual predator relentlessly pursuing and ultimately seducing the straight. In Glee Santana in represented as a sexual predator when she is will Brittany, who is bisexual, and she has a very manipulative character. Santana is one of the characters in this TV show that is shown as evil but very realistic and powerful. She is the definition of the lesbian feminism because she hates men and she always boost Brittany’s confidence. Santana is very confident in her sexuality and she is sassy, so she is seen a womaniser. This stereotypical lesbian character but she is also very powerful and proud of who she is, which is what lesbians would like to be represented as. Overall, we see more and more homosexual characters on tv and how they are represented on tv. I believe that over time we are seeing less stereotypes of the gay community. However, we much of the other parts on the LGBTQA+ community because it is not as common and less talked about in the media for instance, We see a lot more homosexuals on TV than Transgender, asexual or pansexual.

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