Media representations of sexuality inBritain are overwhelmingly heterosexual incharacter It has been argued that the mediaparticipate in the symbolic annihilationof homosexuals and lesbians bynegatively stereotyping them, by rarelyportraying them realistically, or by notportraying them at all.
When homosexual characters areportrayed in the media, e.g. inpopular drama, they are oftenstereotyped as having particularamusing or negative psychologicaland social characteristics.
Campness – this is one of the most widelyused gay representations, found mainly in theentertainment media. The camp personareinforces negative views of gay sexuality bybeing somewhere in between male andfemale.
Macho – a look that exaggerates masculinityand which is regarded by heterosexual men asthreatening because it subverts traditionalideas of masculinity.
Deviant – gays may be stereotyped asdeviants, as evil or as devious in televisiondrama, as sexual predators or as people whofeel tremendous guilt about their sexuality. Inmany cases, gay characters are completelydefined by the ‘problem’ of their sexuality andhomosexuality is often constructed to appearmorally wrong.
Responsible for AIDS –British newscoverage of AIDS in the 1980s stereotypedgay people as carriers of a gay plague. Heargues that news coverage of AIDS reflectedmainstream society’s fear and dislike of thegay community and resulted in unsympatheticaccounts that strongly implied thathomosexual AIDS sufferers only had their own‘immoral and unnatural’ behaviour to blame fortheir condition or death.
Lesbian, gay and bisexual people are stillunder-represented in much of the mainstreammedia, but things are slowly changing for thebetter. Tolerance of sexual diversity is slowly growingin society, and images of diverse sexualidentities with which audiences are unfamiliarmay assist in making the population generallymore comfortable with these alternative sexuallifestyles.
Discuss the Ways in whichSexuality Has Been RepresentedIn This Clip.