Just A little Gay

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Over the past years, mainstream advertising campaigns have shifted their rhetoric to include a focus on non-heterosexual identities, working toward normalizing these within the mass consumer audience. Yet these campaigns propagate representations that are not entirely consistent with how members of non-heterosexual communities identify and define themselves. In this paper, I will argue that mainstream advertising campaigns work to shift the mass consumer audience's perception of non-heterosexual identities from one that is stigmatized to one that is inherently stereotypical and not entirely representative of these communities at large, creating acceptance at the expense of understanding. Thus, by consuming these media images, mainstream audiences come to view non-heterosexual identities through the narrow stereotype of the non-heterosexual individual as “white, well-muscled, handsome, well-educated, and white collar”, and “heterosexualized” enough to identify with, while simultaneously “othering” ethnic and racial diversity within this media discourse. I will focus my paper on this theory, in an attempt to undercut the commonly held view that including non-heterosexual identities in mass media advertising is a step toward the inclusion of minorities. Rather, it is a continuation of the mass media trend of stereotyping individual identities to find a lowest common denominator with which the consumer masses can learn to identify with: a denominator that includes just a slight resemblance to each member of the perceived audience, enough to draw and keep their attention toward the product or service at hand. Thus, the widely held common sense assumption that the inclusion of non-heterosexual identities in mainstream advertising signal...

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...order to better analyze what combinations are “favoured” by mass media, and which are “heterosexualized” to make them more palatable to the mass consumer base.

Works Cited

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Saucier , J. A., & Caron, S. L. (2008). An investigation of content and media images in gay men. Journal of Homosexuality, 55(3), 504-523.
Sender, K. (2012). Business, not politics: The making of the gay market . New York :
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Sonnekus , T., & van Eeden, J. (2009). Visual representation, editorial power, and the dual ‘othering’ of black men in the south african gay press: the case of gay pages. SOUTH AFRICAN JOURNAL FOR COMMUNICATION THEORY AND
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