Lesbians in Contemporary Television

Essay by stefxcoreUniversity, Bachelor's November 2008

download word file, 5 pages 2.5

Television offers information and insight to the masses, providing important news, historical events, escapist entertainment and insight into different subcultures and societies. Only recently, however, has TV started devoting its attention to the lesbian community. The L Word is one such program, documenting the lives and loves of lesbians living in L.A.. It is the first show of its kind to devote its attention to lesbians and their issues, offering a diverse representation of lesbian personalities and images. Because of television shows like The L Word, lesbianism is finally being brought into the mainstream media.

Only in the past ten years have there been shows whose plot lines revolve around the lives and personalities of lesbians. Ellen Degeneres and Rosie O'Donnell, both self-proclaimed lesbians, have hosted popular talk shows. Britney Spears and Madonna shared a steamy kiss during the MTV Video Awards. These are just a few examples of how female homosexuality is becoming more and more prevalent on North American TV screens.

In the Jorge Reina Schement edition of the Encyclopedia of Communication Information, Peter M. Nardi notes about this phenomenon:"Television sitcoms, dramas and news shows have increasingly included continuing characters who are gay or lesbian and stories with gay or lesbian themes. No longer are these forbidden topics or ones used to generate a laugh at the expense of the gay character."However, The L Word is arguably the first show that is fully devoted to lesbian lifestyles and relationships. The show first premiered on January 18, 2004 and despite crossing lines previously uncrossed and shocking viewers with its brutally honest depiction of lesbian culture, it's been given the go-ahead for five full seasons to date. The show features a cast of talented, well-suited actors and actresses, such as Erin Daniels, Jennifer Beals, Laurel Holloman, Mia Kirshner, Karina...