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

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

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


Two content that is annual of development from the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 tv periods had been carried out to evaluate the clear presence of actions and spoken communications associated with the sex of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. Intimate content related to nonheterosexuals had been present in about 15% of programs general; but, prices of event within episodes had been low. Of 14 genres, just films and variety/comedy shows had significant percentages of programs that included nonheterosexual content. Programs on commercial broadcast sites had been less likely to want to have nonheterosexual content than those on cable systems, specially those on premium cable film systems. Implications for the continued shortage of attention to intimate minorities are discussed for both heterosexual and nonheterosexual people.


Sexual content of programming on US television changed considerably considering that the medium was initially devised significantly more than 50 years ago. At its inception, tv seldom presented themes that are sexual and through the very early years of tv, subjects such as for instance maternity, contraception, as well as other components of figures’ sex had been considered too responsive to be portrayed or discussed in shows. One theme which has been specially ignored could be the depiction of intimate problems regarding homosexual, lesbian, and bisexual people. Inspite of the lifting of some longstanding taboos throughout the last several decades, tv development happens to be called “compulsory heterosexual” (Wolf & Kielwasser, 1991), and depictions of this intimate dilemmas related to nonheterosexuals 1 may remain reasonably uncommon (Brown, 2002).

Minimal quantitative studies have been carried out to report gay dilemmas and figures on tv. Presently, the majority of just exactly what happens to be posted about television and its particular portrayals of intimate minority themes and figures arises from qualitative writings. The objective of this paper is always to provide quantitative information on intimate behavior and talk that is sexual to nonheterosexuals over the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 tv periods. The findings out of this research offer empirical data concerning the prevalence of nonheterosexual content that is sexual a broad variety of tv development, along with the regularity of these intimate content if it is presented.

Before 1970, very little homosexual figures might be available on tv, and their absence that is relative from display screen proceeded before the 1990s (Wyatt, 2002). The number of shows with leading or recurring gay characters has varied from 16 in the 1997-1998 season to 29 in the 2000-2001 season (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, n.d.) in recent years. Although these figures represent a rise weighed against the last, they have been still quite tiny weighed against the number that is overall of showing up on tv programs broadcast each period.

Based on social cognitive concept (Bandura, 2001), one crucial manner in which tv influences people is through providing vicarious experiences on which to model opinions, attitudes, and behavior when real-life experiences tend to be more restricted. A closely associated concept is the fact that news by depicting intimate situations that folks is probably not in a position to see somewhere else offer scripts for enacting different intimate actions (Gagnon & Simon, 1973) such as for instance individuals making love with a brand new partner. Reliance on tv programs for intimate scripts and tv figures as models for behavior can be specially strong among youth, whom 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 teens reports that “entertainment” is the most source that is important of information (Gibbs, 1993 as cited in Brown & Steele, 1995).

Although tv was criticized for perhaps perhaps perhaps not supplying role that is good for adolescents for instance, abstinence among teenagers is hardly ever portrayed in an optimistic light (Committee on Communications, 1995) the possible lack of good part models on tv is more extreme for homosexual, lesbian, and bisexual youth (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992). Many lesbians and homosexual guys mature in a community that is straight few gay part models; therefore, they are especially at risk of the portrayals of homosexual individuals in the media (Fejes & Petrich, 1993; Ryan & Futterman, 1998). Yet, sexual minorities tend to be ignored by the main-stream media and addressed as though they cannot occur. This exclusion happens to be posited to donate to maintaining minorities that are sexual and without energy, an activity which Gross relates to as “symbolic annihilation” (Gross, 1991; Gerbner & Gross, 1976). Portrayals of homosexual folks of all ages were uncommon and frequently 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 environment that is exclusively heterosexual with just occasional brief appearances by adolescent figures that are confused about their sex (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992). This is really important because homosexual adolescents frequently cannot get information highly relevant to their intimate orientation from buddies and family members and can even make use of tv as being a supply of data about gay problems (Paroski, 1987). The number that is small of figures on tv, and also smaller number of adolescent homosexual 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 usually are shown in a asexual context (Fejes & Petrich, 1993). Gross (1991) cites samples of homosexual characters who have been seldom, when, shown in intimate or romantic contexts such as Sidney in appreciate Sidney, Steven Carrington in Dynasty, and Marilyn McGrath in Heartbeat. More modern these include Matt Fielding in Melrose spot, whoever orientation that is sexual prominently featured in promotions prior to the show’s premiere, after which seldom contained in storylines when it comes to very first a few periods (Wyatt, 2002). Until extremely recently, the 2 freely homosexual figures on NBC’s presently popular prime-time series Will and Grace Will and Jack were rarely shown being actually affectionate along with other guys; nonetheless, the lead female character Grace, www.xxxstreams 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 instance 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 with all the more flamboyant Jack, that is made enjoyable of if you are campy and “queeny.”

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