Gay and Lesbians Are Represented on TV Research Paper

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¶ … gay and lesbians are represented on TV, and how homophobia is instilled by the Media (television).

Perception instilled by the TV on Gay and lesbians

Gays and lesbians have over the years viewed negatively by the general public, and some of these perceptions are fueled by the type of media coverage given to this group. Since public awareness of the existence of gay and lesbian community is still low, most of them are subjected to discriminatory practices and are viewed as outcasts. Gays and lesbians are experiencing discriminatory practices from all spheres of life.

Where the real problem lies

Gays and lesbians are a human being just like any other person, and this is not to say that they are different. We grew up with them, played with them but when it comes to relationships, they are now seen as not part of the society. They are projected to have a negative impact on the morals of the younger generation David P. Pierson ( 699)

. Aren't gay and lesbians our sons and daughters, aren't they productive members of the society, and more so, aren't they Gods creation? These are some of the questions the society should be contemplating about before judging some of their members.

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TVs are very efficient forms of communication and due to their wide coverage they have a great influence on the masses. The societies nowadays are technology oriented, and they tend to acquire most of their information through such mediums. Humans are better at creating perception. They like associating everything they come across with their way of life; this is to say that, humans are good at using their character as a template for other living creatures' characters. Like in the animal kingdom, sex differentiation has been given a priority in life, through gender identification; roles are assigned according to their various genders. Powers and social positions are also determined and, therefore, from these earlier perceptions, that, there is the gender difference and from it originate the roles and societal values of the different genders Kendall ( 62)

TOPIC: Research Paper on Gay and Lesbians Are Represented on TV, Assignment

. Then it becomes difficult to explain that different/same genders can be assigned same roles.

Gays and lesbians were once babies in the care of their loving mothers. Just like any other mother, they were taken care of, molded to become responsible citizens but the amazing fact is, no one taught them to become gays or lesbians, it just came about as a developmental change, and so it is hardly their wish that they are gay or lesbians. Since the social structure came to being, man is known to be the second from God. Though the current hierarchical social structure is inclined towards the socioeconomic stratification, nature also has its own way of organizing the society. Man is known to struggle for dominance which will assist him to acquire social, economic and sexual success David P. Pierson ( 708)

. Due to this eroding dominance trait among men in this current society, people are becoming homophobic since they perceive that it might be the reason for erosion of the male dominance state. There are changing patterns in the way a male child perceives relationships. This is seen in situations whereby, when a child fails to get attention from the opposite sex even as the heads to teenage-hood, he starts having the thought that he might be gay since his friends and companion would be only men.

Are all these change in sexuality as a result of evolution or Charles Dawin's theory of adaptation and struggle for the fittest? Humans are being subjected by the pressures originating from all spheres of life. When a child grows, he/she is given a lot of expectation some of which are hardly met. The society looks upon the child so that he/she grows up to become a morally upright person in the society but the moment he fails to achieve the standards set for him/her, then he/she opts for the next best alternative where he/she will be accepted and relieved all the pressures life has to offer David P. Pierson ( 235)

. Without their wish but do to the pressures driven by the society, some of them end up becoming gays and lesbians. Instead of the society realizing its mistakes, it ends up culturing homophobic tendencies among people through messages passed on TV. Because nature is termed as a sacred realm filled with great moral and spiritual power, the society views gaiety and lesbianism as imbalance of nature and, therefore, they are trying to restore the imbalance through instilling of homophobic tendencies among its younger generation.

On average, a human being is likely to spend nine years watching television, this translate to six hours and forty seven minutes per day of TV watching. The TV was created to speak familiar languages, and show exciting images aired by highly paid pundits, talk show hosts, corporate advertisers and gossip fueled entertainment network. The TV through these people, channel ideas into the knowledgeable minds, of those who refuse to read. Propaganda and controversies are aired to the public who end up becoming confused on what is appropriate and what is not appropriate. "The culture of illusion thrives by robbing us of the intellectual and linguistic tools to separate illusion from the truth. It reduces us to the level and dependency of children" Hedges ( 45)

The human mind, therefore, becomes weak at making judgments and those knowledgeable enough to make informed choices fails to, thus making individuals to become new grounds for seeding of ideas. Therefore, the negative perception that gaiety and lesbianism is bad has taken its root into people's mind, to the extent that they have become homophobic. Chris Hedge, (47) show how the TV has influenced the people by adding; "those captive by the cult of celebrity do not examine voting records or compare verbal claims with written and published facts and reports. The reality of their world is whatever the latest cable news show, political leader, advertiser, or loan officer says is reality."

Television also has a great impact to how we live and conduct our day-to-day activities. Most of the events aired in TV portrays to individuals that the only way they can get ahead, is to identify with the rich and the powerful and to live vicariously through them. People are being tempted to live the lifestyle of the people they see on TV. The perception of social class is really having its roots in the people's lives. The society are thirsty of living the lives of the wealthy and the powerful which are being shown on TV, for instance, Paris Hilton, the wealth heir to Hilton Hotel, has made millions of dollars trying to give the fans/viewers both middle and working class a taste of her glamorous life, through the various products she markets such as Swarovski crystal jewelry and Paris Hilton Wall Calendars among many more other products Kendall ( 240)

. This shows how much influence the TV can have on the people, irrespective of whether the idea being driven into the viewer's mind is real, right, wrong or immoral.

With the nowadays ever increasing reality show such 'want to be a Hilton (2005)', 'Joe Millionaire (2003-2004)' 'The Anna Nicole Smith Show' and 'Big Brother (2000-present)', the society is being made to believe that in order for the targeted working class to fit into the upper class world then the working class guy or woman out to have a personal makeover. A survey done on the effect of too much of TV watching on the working class is that, the more they watch the more their desire to shop increases hence making them to live with big debt as they try to live the lives that are not theirs Kendall ( 47)

. All these evidences show the various impacts the TV has on society and thus there is reason to believe that the society is despising, discriminating upon the gays and feeling homophobic just because the TV says so and not going with facts about the matter.

Evidence of TV's influence on the society's homophobic tendencies

Studies done on the content aired on TV shows there have been a gradual change on the characters of most of the programs being aired. Initially before the 1970, there were no gay characters featuring on TV and their absence was still there till the early years of 1990s Wyatt DA ( 82)

after which gay characters started becoming common. In the recent years, the number of shows having recurring or leading gay characters has risen from 16 in the 1997-1998 season to 29 in the 2000-2001 season (Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation, n.d.). The gays featuring these programs have played many varied roles depending on the theme of the program but still, the roles they play have a negative impact on the society's perception to them.

The social cognitive theory Bandura a ( 266)

recognizes that TV are meant to provide viewers with vicarious… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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