Homosexuality in the Media

Essay by domikCollege, UndergraduateA-, March 2005

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Over the course of four weeks television programs as broadcasted by Time Warner cable within the Trinity University campus were tracked. The objective of the experiment was to find patterns concerning homosexuality and the way it is presented to the audience through television. I suggest that although one might think that exposure to homosexuality on television would lead to tolerance, it actually perpetuates discrimination and rejection towards homosexual individuals. Before the project could be carried on, controls needed to be established in order to find patterns that were representative of North America's media depiction of homosexuality. Only series were considered for the experiment; in other words, television specials and movies which do not play on a constant basis were discarded as evidence because not only does the content vary with state and cable service provider, but they are not advertised as regularly or insistently as television series because the latter attract a wider range of audiences than do specials and movies.

This reduces inaccuracy due to chance in sampling for this project. Lastly, television's weekly programming was assumed to be the same for every week. This assumption holds true for the most part except on holidays.

The television series tracked during this experiment ranged from those where gay characters are the protagonists of the show to those where gay characters are less important to the plot but controversial nevertheless. The appendix lists and briefly describes shows with homosexual related content or characters from various channels on cable television.

The shows listed presented an overall degrading depiction of homosexuals. Reality shows like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, The Real World and Boy meets Boy were explicitly degrading. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is famous for showing five very effeminate gay men on screen "fixing" the lives of straight...