The Queering of the Media: How TV and Film Shape and Are Shaped by Society

The Queering of the Media: How TV and Film Shape and Are Shaped by Society

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The Queering of the Media: How TV and Film Shape and are Shaped by Society.

“Hollywood, that great maker of myths, taught straight people what to think about gay people…and gay people what to think about themselves” -Vito Russo

Media is a mirror of societies cultural values and institutions , having the power to change our understanding of the world . Portrayals of different groups and identities in television and film decrease the fear and hate within society that arises from ignorance . The idea of accurate representations in the media, thus, is important for any minority group, impacting on how the group is perceived and accepted by society. In this article I will follow how the changing portrayals of Gay, Lesbian and Queer (GLQ) people are paralleled by changes in society, demonstrating clearly the importance 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 and shape viewers 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, as I do, media cannot be denied as a reflection of societies sense of normality. The creation of media content and 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...


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...roblem’ in Social Problems, Vol. 32, No. 1, Thematic Issue on Minorities and Social Movements (Oct., 1984), pp. 72-86, University of California Press.

Enotes.com, 2004. ‘History of Homosexuality’ found at http://www.enotes.com/topic/Homosexuality#History

GLAAD 2010, ‘2009-2010 Network Responsibility Index’, glaad.org at http://www.glaad.org/document.doc?id=127

Media-Awareness Network, 2010 ‘Representations of Gays and Lesbians in Film’ found at http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/issues/stereotyping/gays_and_lesbians/gay_film.cfm

Media-Awareness Network, 2010 ‘Representations of Gays and Lesbians on Television’ found at http://www.mediaawareness.ca/english/issues/stereotyping/gays_and_lesbians/gay_television.cfm

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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