Posts Tagged ‘lgbtq’
I thought I was going to have to work until late last night and not be able to see Glee, but I ended up being able to, which made me happy. I much prefer watching shows on the TV as opposed to my computer.
Last night’s epsiode of Glee had a couple different storylines. One centered around yet another of Sue’s plans to bring down the glee club. She recruits Sandy to put on some sort of musical to steal Rachel away from the glee club. Rachel is already feeling shunned by Will because he gave the solo in a song from West Side Story to Tina. Tina ends up giving up her solo because she doesn’t think she can do a good job (even though she only missed one note) and she thinks that Rachel will quit if she doesn’t get the solo. Will makes Tina take the solo and Rachel quits.
Also, Kurt tries out for kicker of the football team as a way to impress his dad and hide his sexuality. But he comes out to his dad after kicking the winning field goal! Yay! Kurt’s dad says that he’s known since that he was three — he’s not thrilled about it, but he can’t change it. He loves his son and is proud of him for telling the truth about who he really is. I really liked that.
Apparently Quinn, Finn’s girlfriend, is pregnant. But wait, she’s president of the celibacy club and they haven’t had sex. She got pregnant from a time that Finn ejaculated in a hot tub. Can that really happen? I don’t think so. Finn goes to Will for help. Finn’s afraid that because he doesn’t want to be stuck in the town forever. He needs to get a football scholarship to get out of town, especially with a baby on the way. Finn wants Will to teach the football team to dance as a way to loosen up. Watching Kurt try to teach the “Single Ladies” dance to the awkward-moving football team is kind of hilarious. And three of the football players end up joining the glee club.
Oh wait, it’s Puck’s baby! And Will’s wife wants to adopt it to hide the fact that she’s having a hysterical pregnancy and hasn’t told him yet. Will’s wife (it’s sad that I still can’t remember her name) has taken to wearing a fake belly to keep Will thinking that she’s pregnant.
I’m really not liking the way that pregnant (or fake pregnant) women are being portrayed. Will’s wife thinks that the only way she can keep him is by having a baby. And she will manipulate her way into thinking that she is having one. Even going to the point of stalking Quinn and breaking into her car in order to convince Quinn to give her her baby. It was not said for sure that Will’s wife wants Quinn’s baby, I’m just assuming because it seems pretty obvious. Quinn tricks Finn into thinking that the baby is his by telling a story that most people would think was impossible. She doesn’t want to admit to having sex with Puck and she doesn’t think that Puck will take care of the baby. So she will make Finn because she thinks that Finn will actually support the baby. But Finn doesn’t want this baby. And he really shouldn’t have to take care of it if he doesn’t want to be with Quinn and it’s not his baby.
I really liked that we got to see Tina, the almost-silent Asian girl, take the lead in one of the songs. But then she had to go and give it up to make way for the white girl. And we saw Mercedes and Artie maybe once throughout the entire show. Glee seems to be having one storyline of each episode center around one of the minority characters as a way to show they are diverse. But where are the other minority characters during this storyline? It just seems to me to be a way of trying to seem progressive but really just falling back on the same old white characters.
I’m still holding out hope for Glee. I really do think it has it’s funny moments and I enjoy all of the musical numbers. I hope it addresses its blaring stereotypes, that it stops trying to be progressive and actually adress the issues it thinks it is, and stops making pregnant women seem crazy.
This post is not going to be about The L Word or any other show that might be on HBO or Showtime. I’m rather going to focus on network cable shows.
You know what I hate? When a young, hot character on a TV show becomes a lesbian for like 3 episodes. The O.C. did it (not that I watched The O.C., I just remember hearing about it); Friends did it; Heroes is bringing it in this upcoming season (there are countless other examples, but that’s not the purpose of this post right now). When you see this kind of storyline on a network TV show, you know that it’s not about the show trying to be “progressive” — it’s about ratings.
One example that I find compelling, though, is Thirteen on House (who just so happens to be the actress that plays Marissa’s female love interest on The O.C.). I was talking yesterday morning with one of my co-workers about the premiere of House that night when she brought up how she thinks Thirteen is a good representation of bisexuality. I think my co-worker could be right, but I want to examine this a little bit further.
I like Thirteen because relationships with both men and women are shown on the show and they don’t portray it as “weird” or “abnormal.” When they first introduce romantic relationships with women into the picture (other than finding out that she is bisexual), it is seen as destructive behavior (because she was just randomly hooking up with people, not 100% because those people were women), as a reaction to finding out that she has Huntington’s. But that shouldn’t turn you off from the positive portrayal of bisexuality. By the end of the episode she is in a relationship with a woman who she cares about. Even though that relationship doesn’t end up working, I still think it was a good portrayal of multiple things: bisexuality, dealing with disease, self-destructive behavior (it was more than just hooking up with random women).
Thirteen then eventually ends up in a relationship with Foreman. I actually kind of really like their relationship. I was unsure of it at first, but it has grown on me. At one point, Thirteen and Foreman go to a strip club together to check out girls for a Bachelorette party. At which point, Foreman asks Thirteen if she misses having sex with women. I really like Thirteen’s answer. She said that she did miss having sex with women…and other men, just like he probably missed having sex with other women. Just because they are in a committed relationship doesn’t mean that they don’t miss or fantasize about sex with other people. I thought this was a really healthy approach to sexuality and relationships.
But I’m not going to go and say that it is the perfect representation of bisexuality. House’s comments I could do without sometimes, but then he wouldn’t be House. House’s approach to Thirteen’s bisexuality I feel is a good representation (if stereotypically) of how a lot of people feel about sexuality: they like to see to hot girl-on-hot girl stuff but they still see it as kind of a lack of decisiveness — the person is just being flaky and can’t decide if they like girls or boys. But I think the representation of Thirteen’s bisexuality pretty much discredits this. She is not seen (by anyone other than House) as flaky or really just on a “layover to gay-town” (as I’ve heard it referred to before).
What do you all think of the representation of Thirteen? I cannot speak completely to the representation of Thirteen as a bisexual because I do not identify as a bisexual. Any thoughts?
See this “That’s Gay” video for further examples of becoming a lesbian on a TV show:
P.S. The season premiere of House last night was kind of disappointing.
I love Sarah Haskins and her Target Women videos. So I was really excited when I found this other series of videos: “That’s Gay” featuring Bryan Safi. I was tipped off to these videos via a tweet from Jessica Valenti, founder and editor of Feministing. Here is the most recent one featuring gay characters in commercials:
Living in my heteronormative privilege, I never really noticed the lack of gay people in commercials and the subtle references to gay rights in some commercials. I already knew about some of the commercials that had different “gay versions” because I would see them on Bravo. The most obvious one that I had seen was the Levi jeans ad that features a hot woman in the “hetero version” and a hot guy in the “gay version.”
But what I find really interesting are the subtle references to gay rights in some commercials. They are think that I never would have noticed without them being pointed out to me, but I guess that’s part of my heteronormative privilege. Like the Orbitz commercial that has a gay pride flag on the golf clubs and the Human Rights Coalition logo on one of the guys t-shirts.
I think it’s pretty great that these commercials work these references into commercials. But it would be even better if companies could put gay characters in commercials instead of these subtle references. I guess companies are scared of pushing potential clients away since there is obviously still a strong homophobic community in this country. And by making separate (but equal) commercials that are aired on “gay” channels, these comapnies are still attraching gay clientele.
But why can’t these commercials be one in the same? If there are not gay characters in mainstream media, whether in movies, on tv shows, or in advertising, homophobic feelings are going to continue. So while I applaud some of these companies that put subtle gay rights references in their commercials, next time try featuring a gay character that doesn’t promote the idea that gay relationships are gross and wrong.
When I was babysitting this past weekend, we were watching the Tour de France (I’m not entirely sure why) and what really caught my attention was a commercial that came on. The commercial featured Wanda Sykes reprimanding a group of teenage boys in a pizza place for using the phrase “that’s so gay.”
I was very pleased with the commercial and reinforced the message to the children I was babysitting. I was so impressed by the commercial that I decided to research it a little further.
This campaign aims to raise awareness about the prevalence and consequences of anti-LGBT bias and behavior in America’s schools. Ultimately, the goal is to reduce and prevent the use of homophobic language in an effort to create a more positive environment for LGBT teens. The campaign also aims to reach adults, including school personnel and parents; their support of this message is crucial to the success of efforts to change behavior.
This campaign has some great resources, so make sure to check them out.
I also discovered that there were two more commercials in addition to the one featuring Wanda Sykes; one featuring Hilary Duff (whom I’m not a huge fan of, but the commercial is still great). This following video contains both the Hilary Duff and Wanda Sykes commercials:
I think that these commercials have the potential to be effective because they point out how using the phrase “that’s so gay” can be hurtful by turning it back on the person who says it. For example using “that’s so 16-year-old boy with a cheesy mustache” to say “that’s so stupid,” as in the Wanda Sykes commercial.
They have the potential to get the message across, especially if they widen their reach. I would like to see these commercials reach network television. So far, I have only seen the one on ESPN (I believe, or whatever channel the Tour de France was on).
This is the third commercial that takes place at a drug store:
Update: I just saw the Wanda Sykes commercial on ABC Family…but it was after midnight.
I have a slight obsession with True Blood. I posted earlier about how vampire series like True Blood (and Buffy and Twilight) represent women’s sexuality by featuring very few female vampires. But True Blood quickly has become one of my new favorite shows on television right now (I only discovered it a couple months ago). Because of this, every Monday I look forward to Jezebel’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday” feature recapping the previous nights episode; it’s always smart and sassy. This week’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday” tipped me off to an article on The Daily Beast relating the world of True Blood to the “right wing’s worst nightmare about post-gay-liberation America.”
Looking beneath the surface of True Blood, you can see the connections between the vampires in the series and the gay community. The vampires recently “came out” of hiding among humans (aka heterosexuals, for the purposes of this comparison), exposing the number of vampires in society and demanding an equal place in society. A running theme throughout the first season is the vampires fighting for the right to marry humans. Churches claim that vampires are evil and threaten to destroy the very fabric of society.
I had been aware of this social commentary since I started watching the show (which is also much similar to the X-Men series). But I had never really thought too critically about it because I was too busy enjoying the awesome-ness of the show (ok, so I might be a little biased about the show). So, I have gone over some of the similarities, but there are also some troubling differences…
As the Daily Beast article points out…
it has troubling implications, because the vampires, political rhetoric aside, aren’t really interested in joining human society. Unlike the misunderstood X-Men heroes, most of the vampires we meet are arrogant, perverse, and cruel—everything the far right believes gays to be.
The article goes on to wonder about the true intentions of the show…
It’s hard to tell what creator Alan Ball, who also made Six Feet Under, is up to here. He’s openly gay, so he could be simply tweaking conservative fears. Or, like Rupert Everett, maybe he’s reacting against the domestication of gay life.
It’s hard to say. Even though there are similarities between vampires and the gay community, they are not necessarily painted in a good light. Is this Alan Ball just turning conservative fears on themselves, or is it “reacting against the domestication of gay life”?
Even though True Blood offers social commentary on the gay rights movement (whether positive or negative, it’s still up for debate), I do not think that the show has much to offer feminism and women’s rights. The shows main female character, Sookie Stackhouse, is kind of helpless. She constantly needs Bill, her vampire lover, to rescue her, which has caused Eric, a powerful vampire in the region, to take notice of her as well, often treating her as an object. Sure, she does have her psychic capabilities to offer, but it’s always the guys (aka vamps) that do the heavy-lifting. In addition to often having to rescue Sookie, Bill is often highly protective of her, not really letting her do a lot for or by herself. Sookie loves how Bill treats her, most of the time. But she always comes back to him in the end after they have a fight about his protective nature or his vamp nature.
I still love the show. I think it has a lot to offer television, even without being feminist. But encouraging conversation about the treatment of women in the show and the emphasis on sexuality will bring these feminist issues to light.
True Blood: Pro-gay/Anti-feminist? [Smashing patriarchy daily]
‘True Blood’ and Female Sexuality [Appetite for Equal Rights]
Rough Sex With Vampires: What Does “True Blood” Tell Us About Women and Sexuality? [AlterNet]