The Queering of The Media

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Media is a mirror of societies cultural values and institutions , having the power to change our understanding of the world . Portraying different minority groups in the media increases society’s knowledge of said groups. Improved knowledge decreases the fear and hate that arises from ignorance . The idea of accurate representations in the media, thus, is vital for any minority group, impacting on how the group is perceived and accepted by society. In this essay I will follow how the shifting portrayals of Gay, Lesbian and Queer (GLQ) people are paralleled by changes in society, demonstrating clearly the significance of visibility to minority groups. I will, further, show that while visibility has increased drastically from the beginning of the 20th century, media portrayals of GLQ people remain narrow, not accurately reflecting the diversity of society today.

Television and film define a viewer’s sense of normality . Whether one ascribes to a bottom up (society dictates media content), a top down (media content dictates the desires of society) or a mixture of the two, media cannot be denied as a reflection of society’s sense of normality. The formation of media content and the views of society can be seen as a continuously entangled web, interlinked on every level, leading to what we see each night when we switch on the TV. The representations of society we see on TV shape our views and desires, leading us to call for change and political reform . These calls for reforms, leading to increased visibility of issues, again impact upon desires and our sense of normality, thus, the cycle continues. This cycle connects in every direction, representations, desires of the society and political reform flow into each other (as shown bel...

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GLAAD, 2010, ‘2009-2010 Network Responsibility Index’, at

Media-Awareness Network, 2010 ‘Representations of Gays and Lesbians in Film’ found at

Media-Awareness Network, 2010 ‘Representations of Gays and Lesbians on Television’ found at

Sanders, J. 2007. ‘Queer Visual Culture Texts’ in Visual Arts Research, Vol. 33, No. 1(64) (2007), pp. 44-55, University of Illinois Press.

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