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  •  Amen (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    saluda, dadanation

    You know, this was a point I discussed briefly in response to another diary.  A commenter was talking about the so-called "public face" of the gay community and was clearly convinced that gay people were responsible for how we are portrayed in the mainstream media.  Russo's book demonstrates how untrue this is in the category of film.  But it's also true on television.  

    Lots of people cite "Will and Grace" as a sign of "progress" in the depiction of gay people on TV, but I find it a very mixed blessing.  True, it's nice to see someone who's openly gay be the subject of a sitcom, but people need to recognize that the characters on "Will and Grace" largely conform to stereotypes of gay men held by much of middle America.  Will Truman is young, white, male, professional, and apparently utterly devoid of a sex life.  Jack is the effeminate, wisecracking queen who has a new "boyfriend" every week.  

    So the show reinforces lots of stereotypes about gay men:  

    (1) They're an exclusively white, affluent, privileged group;

    (2) They're incapable of forming lasting relationships and jump from partner to partner constantly;

    (3) Despite the suggestion of promiscuity, none of their allegedly active sex lives can be shown on television, thus helping sustain the idea that gay love and sexuality are too dirty to be depicted in prime time;

    (4) They're effeminate, campy, and not terribly serious people.

    Mind you, I acknowledge that it could be much worse.  Gay people could be depicted as pedophiles or they could be seen as psychologically tortured and consigned to a miserable existence the only escape from which is suicide ("Boys in the Band," "The Children's Hour").  To that extent, "Will and Grace" is an improvement.  But in the end, it demonstrates that the depiction of gay men in the media remains grounded in stereotypes.  And that is sad.

    •  one of the many great possibilities robbed us (0+ / 0-)

      among infinite others was vito russo.

      i loved his book the celluloid closet which, actually helped me come out of the closet.  he also happened to be one magnificently fun, funny, decent and thoughtful man.

      and sadly, vito would have agreed with your assessment 1000000% -- but not sadly that he was agreeing with you, but sadly that the more things could have or should have changed for the better, they haven't still changed at all in that regard -- re: how we remain depicted on TV....

      _______________

      I only use my evil powers for good

      -9.75 (e), -7.18 (s)

      by dadanation on Sun Jan 04, 2009 at 07:18:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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