Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Information on tv: a Analysis that is quantitative across Seasons

Abstract

Two yearly content analyses of development through the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 television periods had been carried out to evaluate the existence of actions and spoken communications regarding the sexuality of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. Intimate content connected with nonheterosexuals had been found in about 15% of programs general; but, prices of incident within episodes had been low. Of 14 genres, just films and variety/comedy shows had significant percentages of programs that included content that is nonheterosexual. Programs on commercial broadcast sites had been less inclined to have content that is nonheterosexual those on cable sites, specially those on premium cable film sites. Implications for the continued shortage of attention to intimate minorities are talked about both for heterosexual and nonheterosexual watchers.

Introduction

Sexual content of development on American tv changed considerably considering that the medium was created significantly more than 50 years back. At its inception, tv hardly ever presented themes that are sexual and for the very very very early years of tv, subjects such as for example maternity, contraception, as well as other facets of figures’ sex had been considered too responsive to be portrayed or talked about in tv shows. One theme which has been particularly ignored could be the portrayal of intimate problems associated with homosexual, lesbian, and bisexual people. Regardless of the lifting of some longstanding taboos throughout the last a few years, tv development was called “compulsory heterosexual” (Wolf & Kielwasser, 1991), and depictions associated with intimate issues related to nonheterosexuals 1 may stay relatively uncommon (Brown, 2002).

Minimal quantitative studies have been conducted to report homosexual problems and figures on tv. Presently, the majority of just just what is posted about tv as well as its portrayals of intimate minority themes and figures arises from qualitative writings. The objective of this paper would be to provide quantitative information on intimate behavior and intimate talk related to nonheterosexuals throughout the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 tv periods. The findings using this research offer empirical data in regards to the prevalence of nonheterosexual intimate content across a broad array of tv development, along with the regularity of these sexual content when it’s presented.

Before 1970, very little homosexual figures might be available on television, and their absence that is relative from display proceeded before the 1990s (Wyatt, 2002). In modern times, the sheer number of programs with leading or recurring homosexual figures has diverse from 16 within the 1997-1998 period to 29 within the 2000-2001 period (Gay and Lesbian Alliance xlovecam Against Defamation, n.d.). Although these figures represent a growth weighed against days gone by, they’re nevertheless quite tiny compared to the general amount of figures appearing on tv programs broadcast each period.

In accordance with cognitive that is social (Bandura, 2001), one essential manner in which tv influences people is through supplying vicarious experiences by which to model opinions, attitudes, and behavior whenever real-life experiences are far more restricted. A closely associated concept is the fact that news by depicting intimate scenarios that individuals is probably not in a position to see any place else offer scripts for enacting different intimate actions (Gagnon & Simon, 1973) such as for instance individuals making love having a partner that is new. Reliance on tv programs for intimate scripts and tv figures as models for behavior could be especially strong among youth, who might not have much experience that is first-hand sex, yet are needs to solidify their intimate identities and be enthusiastic about intimate relationships (Chapin, 2000). In fact, up to one out of five teenagers reports that “entertainment” is the most crucial supply of intimate information (Gibbs, 1993 as cited in Brown & Steele, 1995).

Although tv was criticized for maybe maybe not supplying good part models for adolescents as an example, abstinence among teenagers is hardly ever portrayed in an optimistic light (Committee on Communications, 1995) the possible lack of positive part models on tv is much more extreme for homosexual, lesbian, and bisexual youth (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992). Many lesbians and homosexual guys develop in a straight community with few homosexual part models; hence, they truly are especially at risk of the portrayals of homosexual individuals when you look at the media (Fejes & Petrich, 1993; Ryan & Futterman, 1998). Yet, intimate minorities in many cases are ignored because of the conventional media and addressed as though they cannot occur. This exclusion happens to be posited to donate to keeping intimate minorities hidden and without energy, an activity which Gross relates to as “symbolic annihilation” (Gross, 1991; Gerbner & Gross, 1976). Portrayals of homosexual individuals of all ages have already been uncommon and sometimes negative (Gross, 1991, 1996; Moritz, 1994), and portrayals of young nonheterosexuals are also less frequent (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992). Programs for adolescent audiences often portray an exclusively heterosexual environment, with just occasional brief appearances by adolescent characters who’re confused about their sexuality (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992). This is really important because homosexual adolescents frequently cannot get information strongly related their orientation that is sexual from and family members and may even make use of television being a supply of data about homosexual dilemmas (Paroski, 1987). The number that is small of figures on tv, and also smaller number of adolescent gay figures, is proposed to play a role in a feeling of isolation among nonheterosexual youth (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992).

Even though homosexual figures are portrayed on tv, they are generally shown within an context that is asexualFejes & Petrich, 1993). Gross (1991) cites samples of gay figures have been hardly ever, when, shown in intimate or intimate contexts such as Sidney in appreciate Sidney, Steven Carrington in Dynasty, and Marilyn McGrath in Heartbeat. More recent for example Matt Fielding in Melrose spot, whoever orientation that is sexual prominently showcased in promotions before the show’s premiere, after which rarely contained in storylines for the very very very first a few seasons (Wyatt, 2002). Until extremely recently, the 2 freely homosexual characters on NBC’s presently popular prime-time series Will and Grace Will and Jack had been hardly ever shown being actually affectionate along with other males; nevertheless, the lead female character Grace, that is heterosexual, has frequently demonstrated an ability in intimate circumstances with guys. Will and Grace comes with been criticized for reinforcing norms that are heterosexual stereotypes about homosexual characteristics such as for example homosexual males being feminine, flamboyant, and promiscuous (Battles & Morrow-Hilton, 2002). Battles and Morrow-Hilton argue that the safer, more assimilated asexual character of Will is frequently contrasted using the more flamboyant Jack, who is made fun of if you are campy and “queeny.”

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