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[P]
Same-sex relationships in the media

By communista in Culture
Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 02:22:48 AM EST
Tags: Round Table (all tags)
Round Table

While watching Will and Grace last night, something occured to me. Could it be, that two men kissing on NBC at 7pm was actually accepted by society as a whole?


I was not offended at all. It just made me wonder, why Ellen, a once popular sitcom was conspicuously cancelled after the episode where she came out...maybe it's coincidence but I think it's rather unfair that a lesbian actress was ousted from public display, yet today it seems that it's completely acceptable for a male couple to express affection on TV.

Have we just evolved in the past year, or are the TV Networks displaying some sort of bias? What is so disturbing about two women displaying modest affection on TV, if it's completely ok for two men?

I know that this sort of thing must not be an issue in other countries, so I'd like to ask...How are same-sex relationships on TV viewed? Is it acceptable or something that is regarded as hush-hush?

There were other shows (They were cancelled, but I believe it was because of low ratings, not discrimination) that illustrated a same-sex relationship.

There are other aspects of media that illustrate this lifestyle, but in a "trendy" manner. In the Abercrombie and Fitch catalog, there have been several contraversies with homoerotic situations, as well as several other touchy subjects that have the Soccer Moms and Republicans of the world demanding that the catalog be sold only to adults 18 years and older.

So why this selective voyeurism into people's lifestyles and activities? Are we that confused about what we like and don't like, or is it a select group of influential whiners that ruin it for the those who have the common sense to turn the TV off or not purchase the catalog if it offends them?

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Poll
I am...
o Offended by same-sex oriented shows and photography (ie Abercrombie and Fitch) 7%
o Indifferent. 34%
o An openminded individual who feels it's simply an expression of freedom and lifestyle. 58%

Votes: 144
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Will and Grace
o Ellen
o Abercrombi e and Fitch
o Also by communista


Display: Sort:
Same-sex relationships in the media | 79 comments (73 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
don't know... (2.75 / 8) (#1)
by Signal 11 on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 12:47:09 PM EST

I don't know. Normally I'm a pessimistic bastard when it comes to people - if they can discriminate, they will discriminate. Who knows, though? Maybe this is a trend, and maybe it is just the fact that with the babyboomers on the way out, alot of younger people are getting exposure - along with their values and beliefs.

Big suprise that young people are less set in their ways and more likely to be accepting of different choices than older people. Could be that that is it - then again, maybe there's nothing here at all - there is no spoon?


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

one crucial difference (4.40 / 10) (#2)
by Defect on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 12:50:16 PM EST

Between "Ellen" and "Will and Grace" is that W&G was built on the gay relationship foundation while Ellen disrupted the flow that was going on in her own show.

That's just something you have to deal with. If you go on for years and years pretending to be something your not, people are going to be a little taken aback when they find out otherwise, but if it's laid out on the table at the beginning there's no reason for them to be surprised or disappointed.
defect - jso - joseth || a link
The difference (2.20 / 5) (#3)
by kovacsp on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 12:53:59 PM EST

Ellen is a gay actress, where as in Will & Grace they're just actors playing gay men. (Right?)

I guess that's a big difference in the eyes of the Southern Baptist Church, et al. (Remember they boycotted Disney for being gay-friendly?)

Nope (2.75 / 4) (#9)
by zantispam on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:06:58 PM EST

Jack's gay IRL. I don't remember his real name, but I saw (on ET of all places) that he is actually gay.

My SO watches waaaay too much Will and Grace (so do I).

Free Duxup!
[ Parent ]
OT but related (4.50 / 2) (#33)
by fluffy grue on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 04:27:17 PM EST

Incidentally, the actor who plays Bulldog (the womanizing sportscaster on Frasier) is openly gay IRL. AFAIK this hasn't been gone into on the show, though there was once a reference to it ("I wonder if he's overcompensating for being gay" or something) after some show (probably ET) made a big stink about his orientation, which I actually saw by some random coincidence, and he was happily and calmly saying, "Yeah, I'm gay. It's no big deal. I'm also not Bulldog, he's a character I play," and so forth, which a lot of people have a hard time understanding. :P
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Nope (none / 0) (#66)
by mattyb77 on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 12:54:05 PM EST

Actually, the guy that plays Jack is openly gay, and the actress that plays Karen is bisexual, at least according to an interview I read. I believe the actors that play Will and Grace are straight.

--
"I bestow upon myself the `Doctorate of Cubicism', for educators are ignorant of Nature's Harmonic Time Cube Principle and cannot bestow the prestigious honor of wisdom upon the wisest human ever." -- Gene Ray, the wisest human ever
[ Parent ]
why Ellen flopped after Ellen came out (4.22 / 9) (#4)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 12:55:35 PM EST

Prior to Ellen DeGeneres coming out of the closet, Ellen was a pretty funny show. I wouldn't rate it funny on the level of the great sitcoms like Barney Miller, M*A*S*H, or Cheers, but it was pretty funny.

Aften Ellen came out of the closet, all the wry, sarcastic humor was dropped by the script writers in exchange for a rather repetitive barrage of lesbian jokes. As a result, the ratings plunged.

My opinion is that it wasn't so much of the US not being willing to accept a homosexual as the main character in a sitcom, as much of the script writers mistakenly making Ellen's sexual identity her entire identity. If you think of the characters from sitcoms that people like the most, you'll think of multi-faceted characters. Some of these characters will have their sexual identities play a large roll, but none will have their sexuality be their only defining charateristic. And this is why Ellen flopped. Her character was reduced to a characature. The viewing audience can get into watching a woman happens to be lesbian, but it can't get into a show about a woman that is only a lesbian.

YMMV,

-l

I agree with you... (3.00 / 2) (#15)
by communista on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:17:27 PM EST

And I think the same can be said for artists that come out. For example, KD Lang is still known, but not as popular. I always cringe when someone comes out, because I fear that their lifestyle just isn't something the world is ready to know about.

Just as I think the world is not ready for a female president, a black president...etc...It just goes on.
/me fucks shit up!!!!
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure that you got my point (4.00 / 4) (#20)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:42:13 PM EST

My point isn't that Ellen's coming out of the closet destroyed the show's ratings. My point is that the script writers allowed the show to devolve into being only about Ellen's sexuality.

As for counter examples to KD Lang, think of Melissa Etheridge who gained a good deal of popularity after coming out. I don't really care that much if a given artist is in the closet or not. It only bugs me when an artist's identity is reduced to his or her sexuality. This bugs me when straight folks do it just as much as when gay people do it.

I'd also contend that world is ready for a black or female president. In fact, there have already been numerous black and female heads of state. Even in the US, I'd wager a very large sum of money that if Colin Powell had run for president he would have swept the ellection in a big way. As for females presidents, remember the early polls in the primaries that showed that Libby Dole and George W. Bush both were capable of defeating Al Gore, Jr.? Its only a matter of time. . .

[ Parent ]

I do understand (3.00 / 2) (#34)
by communista on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 04:38:47 PM EST

But what I should have added is that many people start to revolve their lives around their sexuality.

Remember Pedro in "The Real World"?? I do not mean to play down his affliction, but every day you would here him say "I am gay, and I have HIV". It seemed to be a retort for everything. I understand that having a disease like HIV does affect your life as a whole, but I think it's unfortunate that people go around saying "Hi I'm Sally, I'm gay....I eat my eggs scrambled because I'm gay....etc..." Pity because there is so much more about a person than their sexuality.
/me fucks shit up!!!!
[ Parent ]
Ellen and Will & Grace are different animals (3.33 / 3) (#5)
by danimal on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 12:56:08 PM EST

I was not offended at all. It just made me wonder, why Ellen, a once popular sitcom was conspicuously cancelled after the episode where she came out...maybe it's coincidence but I think it's rather unfair that a lesbian actress was ousted from public display, yet today it seems that it's completely acceptable for a male couple to express affection on TV.

Besides different writers/plotlines/characters the major thing to realize about Ellen is that it was on a Disney owned network. Disney will do anything to keep thier image clean so parents will buy the kiddies Disney toys and movies. Remember the print add for Diney{land,world} that had a happy rollercoster rider with a low cut tank top? (I don't have a link, but if I find one I'll put it up) Well, cleavage just wouldn't do, so they airbrushed it out to make it more appealing.

Will & Grace on the other hand is on NBC. GE owns NBC, not theme parks and movie studios. They are targeting the 20's and 30's crowd of all types. They want to make money and don't care if they offend anyone with it.

-danimal
--
<tin> we got hosed, tommy
<toy> clapclapclap
<tin> we got hosed

You realize this is the same Disney that... (3.83 / 6) (#7)
by elenchos on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:03:49 PM EST

...has Gay Days at their theme parks (in spite of the conservative boycotts) and offers domestic partner benefits to its employees (in spite of conservative boycotts)?

Good guess, though :-)

Adequacy.org
[ Parent ]

Re: You realize this is the same Disney that... (3.00 / 2) (#10)
by danimal on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:08:19 PM EST

...has Gay Days at their theme parks (in spite of the conservative boycotts) and offers domestic partner benefits to its employees (in spite of conservative boycotts)?

Good guess, though :-)

yup, I know. It appears as though they have changed thier minds in the last few years. The reason I gave above combined with low ratings is probably what did it. They did force Ellen to push the coming-out episode back many times.

-danimal
--
<tin> we got hosed, tommy
<toy> clapclapclap
<tin> we got hosed

[ Parent ]

'Gay Day' at Disney Parks (4.00 / 4) (#14)
by RocketJeff on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:17:12 PM EST

'Gay Day' actually isn't an official Disney event. It itsn't organized (or advertised) by Disney, even though they seem to tolerate it very well.

On 'Gay Day', a red shirt is the 'symbol' to identify a gay person. Disney has non-red shirts available for guests who accidently wore red and don't want to be identified as gay. Usually you can spot people wearing these as the shirts are usually left over shirts from 'offical' special groups. [note: this isn't first hand information. It's from the rec.arts.parks.disney FAQ. I haven't been to Disney on 'Gay Day', and I'm not gay, but I wouldn't object to being there then.)



[ Parent ]
'Gay Day' at Disney Parks (about Ellen) (5.00 / 1) (#17)
by RocketJeff on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:23:11 PM EST

Also, to keep a bit more on topic, Ellen D. is represented at Disney World. In EPCOT, she is the star of the 'World of Energy'(?) show with Bill Ney(sp?) as her co-star. I think if Disney had a problem with her being gay, they'd reshoot the exhibit with a new star.

BTW - my kids love the show. Lots of Dinosours and neat effects. Also, there wasn't too much advertising for Exxon (the show's sponsor).

[ Parent ]

Don't worry... (3.50 / 4) (#18)
by elenchos on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:26:12 PM EST

...nobody is going to think you're gay because you have some information about Gay Day.

Adequacy.org
[ Parent ]

I'm not (was: Don't worry... ) (4.50 / 2) (#19)
by RocketJeff on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:36:33 PM EST

Actually, I don't care what people on K5 think about my orientation. What I was doing was qualifying my remarks so that people could take them with a grain of salt. My information is based on a FAQ (and discussing on the rec.arts.disney.parks newsgroup). I didn't want to mislead people in thinking I had 100% dependable information. Sometimes a cigar IS just a cigar...

[ Parent ]
Yes, of course. (2.00 / 4) (#24)
by elenchos on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 02:02:34 PM EST

Just a cigar. I don't think you're gay. I don't think you were afraid that anyone thought you were gay. Nobody on K5 thinks your're gay. Nobody on K5 thinks you thought they would think you were gay. Nobody thinks you think you need to tell them that you know that they know that you didn't think they needed to be told that you are not gay.

Who was that language guy who just died? Quine. Maybe he could have helped sort this out...

Adequacy.org
[ Parent ]

Off Topic (none / 0) (#62)
by mattyb77 on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 06:21:28 AM EST

This is off topic, but I think the reason he said that was because so many straight guys have to make sure that those of us that are queer know that they are straight -- because, after all, *sarcasm* every straight men is attractive to any gay man. *sarcasm* :-)

--
"I bestow upon myself the `Doctorate of Cubicism', for educators are ignorant of Nature's Harmonic Time Cube Principle and cannot bestow the prestigious honor of wisdom upon the wisest human ever." -- Gene Ray, the wisest human ever
[ Parent ]
No... (4.00 / 2) (#11)
by Dolgan on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:10:07 PM EST

The average viewer has no clue that ABC is owned by Disney. I don't think that's a concern. And even if the average viewer did know that ABC is owned by Disney, it wouldn't change anything because ABC still != Disney - it's only owned by it.

Now, if Ellen was on "The Disney Channel" (iow: channel 41 if you've got AT&T Cable in 98133), it'd be another story. Fortunately, it's not. It's on the American Broadcasting Network. Or was...

[ Parent ]

ABC... (3.00 / 2) (#12)
by Dolgan on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:11:04 PM EST

Sorry, I don't know why I called it the "American Broadcasting Network." I think ABC stands for something like that. American Broadcasting Channel? America's Broadcasting Channel? FIIK...

[ Parent ]
C (4.00 / 1) (#23)
by davidduncanscott on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:59:59 PM EST

...is for "Company"

[ Parent ]
I think Ellen was just cancelled... (3.66 / 6) (#6)
by elenchos on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:00:19 PM EST

...because of low ratings. It was doing poorly before she came out, and when the effect of the news wore off, the ratings went back down. Which is too bad, I thought it was an OK show.

Aside from that, homosexuality has been rapidly mainstreamed in the last 20 years, especially starting with Clinton's first term and his gays-in-the-military policy. But it really started with AIDS activism. Well it really started with the Stonewall riots in the late 60's, but it was the galvanizing effect of AIDS that really motivated gay rights groups who felt they had to change public attitudes to save lives by getting money spent on AIDS research and promoting public-health safe-sex campaigns.

But I really stopped watching TV back during the OJ trial; I had no idea that TV had come this far. All the TV shows I have heard about the last couple years were about angels and gun-toting, home-schooling, family-values zombies. So was it like, two guys soul kissing, tounge and all? Were they the hyper-normal TV homos who your dad would think were regular guys, or the more realistic slightly-not-really normal guys kind of queers? Part time drag queens, hair dressers, senior presidential advisors, what?

Adequacy.org

"Ellen" was cancelled for a number of re (4.50 / 10) (#8)
by sugarman on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:06:09 PM EST

not all of them related to the gay episode. The show had long been troubled in the ratings. It had gone a number of "retoolings", including 2 name changes (pretty rare) and some time-slot bouncing as well.

There's an underlying consensus that the outing on Ellen was a last-ditch publicity stunt to keep the show alive. Sure, it generated a lot of heat at the time, but 1 month later the ratings were at or lower than the pre-outing levels. I can see why. From a personal standpoint, I never found the show funny.

If anything, I'd say that ABC showed remarkable perserverance in keeping the show alive as long as it did. Witness FOX's "Normal, Ohio" which was cancelled after 6 episodes this season, despite having a (relatively) high profile star. If anything, I would think that this might disprove your thesis. "Will & Grace" could arguably be said to be fortunate in having one of the primo time slots in TV, between Friends and ER.

As for having this be acceptable? Lets see how long it lasts. W&G are the current darlings of Emmy set, and have a lot of shine. Will they be able to turn that into long-term success? If NBC moves it to another night, can they keep the same audience levels? If they don't, W&G could join be joining Ellen and Normal, Ohio on the heap.

--sugarman--

What could've saved Ellen... (3.50 / 6) (#13)
by simmons75 on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:11:30 PM EST

...is to let Bruce Campbell run around with a chainsaw. Hell with the Coming Out(TM). ;-)

Seriously, I'd rather just make a non-issue of the whole thing. Throwing such things in the face of general public says, "Accept us as normal, because we're gonna be IN YOUR FACE!!!" Ugh, no.
poot!
So there.

Throwing Stuff in Face (none / 0) (#61)
by mattyb77 on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 06:16:03 AM EST

Why is it that when something like two men kissing or a lesbian wedding on television suddenly mean that we're "throwing it in your face?"

Deal with it.

I have to put up with heterosexuality being thrown in my face every freakin' day of my life.

--
"I bestow upon myself the `Doctorate of Cubicism', for educators are ignorant of Nature's Harmonic Time Cube Principle and cannot bestow the prestigious honor of wisdom upon the wisest human ever." -- Gene Ray, the wisest human ever
[ Parent ]
Homosexuality on TV is nothing new (4.00 / 5) (#16)
by gblues on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:22:29 PM EST

This is all from memory:
  • Star Trek: TNG had an episode where they encountered a planet where heterosexuality was the minority, not the majority it is in real life.
  • Star Trek: DS9 had an episode where Dax engaged in an open-mouth lip lock with another woman (trivia: that scene was done in one shot because the actresses didn't want to repeat it)
  • Dawson's Creek, Wings (cancelled), and Spin City all have/had gay characters.

Ellen flopped because after the "coming out" episode it turned into the "gay ellen" show, and ratings went further down the tube than they had been before that turning point.

I'm a little surprised they got away with 2 guys kissing, but then the producers probably sited the DS9 episode and said "if they can do it, why not us?"

Nathan
... although in retrospect, having sex to the news was probably doomed to fail from the get-go. --squinky
That's what I thought but.... (3.00 / 4) (#21)
by communista on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:45:47 PM EST

My observance last night kinda suprised me, not to mention the comments they made. The episode was where Greg went to a male couple's house who had just adopted a baby, and Greg said "Looks like the baby oil I brought will actually be used for babies this time"....I about died.

Sometimes it shocks me, what they show on TV. Guess that means I am getting old.
/me fucks shit up!!!!
[ Parent ]
Baby oil isn't condom safe (none / 0) (#76)
by Paul Crowley on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 10:56:03 AM EST

...be careful out there!
--
Paul Crowley aka ciphergoth. Crypto and sex politics. Diary.
[ Parent ]
Barney Miller had a gay cop in... (3.00 / 3) (#25)
by elenchos on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 02:19:37 PM EST

...the late 70's (or early 80's?). And what was that football player sitcom that was on cable in the mid-80's? It had a gay character too. Oh, and of course, there was Billy Crystal on Soap, possibly the all-time funniest TV show ever.

Is it a big deal if the actor is/is not the same orientaion as the character? It is called acting after all.

Adequacy.org
[ Parent ]

Brothers. (5.00 / 1) (#71)
by shaum on Mon Jan 01, 2001 at 03:09:01 PM EST

And what was that football player sitcom that was on cable in the mid-80's? It had a gay character too.
It was called "Brothers". It starred Robert Walden, who also played Rossi on "Lou Grant". It may have been the first weekly series to feature an overtly gay character.

:wq!
[ Parent ]
Treknohomophobia (3.25 / 4) (#36)
by Rand Race on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 04:47:53 PM EST

"Star Trek: TNG had an episode where they encountered a planet where heterosexuality was the minority, not the majority it is in real life"

The closest thing to that I remember is a planet where any sexuality was in the minority. The only episode of TNG that dealt with homosexuality was the one where Dr. Crusher fell in love with the male Trill who then dies and his slug was implanted in a female (after riding in Ricker for a while) which disgusted Dr. Crusher when it proposed continuing the relationship.

"Star Trek: DS9 had an episode where Dax engaged in an open-mouth lip lock with another woman..."

That was evil Dax from the alternate universe. There is also a Voyager episode where Kes kisses a girl, but she'd been taken over by some evil guy. Only evil people are gay in the Trek world.

Compare these with the very subtle handling of the relationship between Susan Ivanova and Talia Winters on B5, so subtle it really requires reading between the lines. Trek aims to titilate it's younger viewers while steadfastly avoiding any chance of offending it's more conservative viewers. B5 on the other hand just tells a story that happens to have a lesbian romance in it and doesn't spin it in any way; it's just there.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

phear my knowledge of Star Trek trivia :P (3.66 / 3) (#41)
by gblues on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 06:56:34 PM EST

That was evil Dax from the alternate universe. There is also a Voyager episode where Kes kisses a girl, but she'd been taken over by some evil guy. Only evil people are gay in the Trek world.

No, it wasn't evil Dax. The episode revolved around Dax meeting the wife of a former (male) host, and the two still having feelings for each other (note: this is Jadzhia Dax).

Nathan
... although in retrospect, having sex to the news was probably doomed to fail from the get-go. --squinky
[ Parent ]
I bow before your trek-fu (none / 0) (#75)
by Rand Race on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 05:22:12 PM EST

Was it Evil Kira that kissed a girl then? I know one of the mirror universe versions of a female lead on DS9 did so.

Nice to see they don't always portray ambiguous sexuality in a bad light, damn I wish I had seen the episode you speak of. I'll have to start watching reruns again.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

ST:TNG stuff (4.00 / 1) (#72)
by kjeldar on Mon Jan 01, 2001 at 08:20:12 PM EST

"The closest thing to that I remember is a planet where any sexuality was in the minority."

People on that planet (sorry, forgot the name, killed too many brain cells last night) who exhibited any sexuality whatsoever were ostracised and marginalized. I interpreted it as doubly allegorical; it dealt with the repressed Puritanical nature of conservative Western cultures, and with the mistreatment of homosexual people as well. So, by my count, two episodes of TNG addressed homosexuality; one handled it rather well, and the other rather poorly. AA, YMMV.



[ Parent ]
ellen.. (3.00 / 3) (#22)
by rebelcool on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 01:53:04 PM EST

i think the reason ellen was canceled was because after the lesbian show, it went on a more political-feminist trip. It went from being a decent show to a bunch of propaganda.

Society is always much faster than television... i think gays have been more or less accepted for the most part in this country. There's alot of homophobia still, but its on the wane. I recall the original star trek had the first interracial kiss on it back in the day. It was no big deal by that time too...

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

wide culture gap (3.00 / 2) (#27)
by Speare on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 03:20:11 PM EST

The dense urban progressives may accept homoerotic art and culture, but the more rural the area, the less likely you'll find such open-mindedness. This is definitely true for the parts of America I've seen (five different states, fourteen towns), and I would guess it's true of many other parts of the world.

In San Francisco and New York, someone can kiss someone else of their own gender in public without much notice. In Wyoming, a man was killed for discussing the idea with someone who didn't like it. Some families are very much in denial about their gay relations, as Lynne Cheney showed, and as I've seen first-hand.

Hundreds of channels are available by satellite. Few people in, say, Michigan, stray from a very comforting few channels that affirm and reinforce their narrow views.

The national networks have had to balance this collective schizophrenia for many, many years. Of course they're "behind" the urban avant garde; they're also "ahead" of the average midwesterner.

That's not to say you can't find an open-minded farm kid, but it's the exception, not the rule, and it takes a lot of courage to buck the prevailing local current.


[ e d @ h a l l e y . c c ]
[ Parent ]
hence the majority.. (3.00 / 2) (#29)
by rebelcool on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 03:26:28 PM EST

as i said, there are many elements in society still that disagree. However, the majority of society (ie, those that live in cities..very few people still live in the rural areas really..) more or less have neutral viewpoints on it.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Gay Marriage (none / 0) (#63)
by mattyb77 on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 06:24:13 AM EST

Ask these folks if they believe that gay people should be allowed to marry -- then you'll see how "accepting" they are.

--
"I bestow upon myself the `Doctorate of Cubicism', for educators are ignorant of Nature's Harmonic Time Cube Principle and cannot bestow the prestigious honor of wisdom upon the wisest human ever." -- Gene Ray, the wisest human ever
[ Parent ]
I'm MAD AS HELL! (3.00 / 6) (#26)
by TheLocust on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 03:19:34 PM EST

While watching Will and Grace last night, something occured to me. Could it be, that two men kissing on NBC at 7pm was actually accepted by society as a whole?

Frankly, I'm tired of this "Central & Pacific Timezone"-centric rhetoric! What about me?! I live in Kentucky, in the Eastern Standard Timezone! -5 GMT! Ladies and gentlemen, we should all agree on one timezone. And, no matter where in the world you are, Will & Grace shows at 1:00 GMT! :)


.......o- thelocust -o.........
ignorant people speak of people
average people speak of events
great people speak of ideas

Er, no (none / 0) (#73)
by skim123 on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 02:38:04 AM EST

Ladies and gentlemen, we should all agree on one timezone. And, no matter where in the world you are, Will & Grace shows at 1:00 GMT

I live on the West coast and shows that are labeled as: X Eastern, X-1 Central, show at time X on the West coast, not X-3, like you might think (assuming, of course, that the event is not live).

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Ellen was cancelled... (3.25 / 4) (#28)
by xdroop on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 03:23:56 PM EST

because nobody watched it in numbers sufficient enough to justify it's continued presence.

It sucked, it got canned. I don't think that the lesbian thing had any direct impact on the cancellation, besides possibly alienating more of the core viewers than they attracted with the publicity stunt...
---
xhost +

Murphy Brown... (3.50 / 2) (#30)
by ScottBrady on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 03:30:12 PM EST

>> It just made me wonder, why Ellen, a once popular sitcom was conspicuously cancelled after the episode where she came out <<

You must not remember the whole uproar over Murphy Brown having a baby out of wedlock. The conservative right was hyping it like the second coming of Christ.

I think what you observed was the advancement that has been made in the last ~10 years in the acceptance of people from diverse backgrounds. Clinton was the one to implement the "don't ask don't tell" policy in the military as soon as he jumped all The Right's "moral highground" hurtles.

It will be interesting to see what The Right does to this country in the next 4 years (God forbid we have Dubya for two terms). But that's another issue unto itself...

--
Scott Brady
"We didn't lie to you... the truth just changed."
YHBT. YHL. HAND.

I remember.... (3.00 / 2) (#32)
by communista on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 04:18:57 PM EST

But I think I was too young to really understand, or to have a voice on it. I remember saying, "That's silly" when the Conservatives had a fit.

I guess I empathized, because my mother is a single parent and I saw even less fault because of that. Yes, it is scary to think of Dubya in office for two terms, but as statistic has it...Presidents who did not win the popular vote have only stayed in office one term. Here's hoping....
/me fucks shit up!!!!
[ Parent ]
I Don't Care (3.00 / 1) (#38)
by Aidan_Kehoe on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 05:28:29 PM EST

Go watch some European media. Then come back and say to yourselves 'Ohmigosh, we're not as sophisticated as we thought !' . Christ, Eastenders (england) has lesbian couples and that's just a slightly less trippy Days Of Our Lives.

--
There is no TRUTH. There is no REALITY. There is no CONSISTENCY. There are no ABSOLUTE STATEMENTS. I'm very probably wrong. -- BSD fortune(6)

Was that a secret? (5.00 / 1) (#39)
by enterfornone on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 05:54:48 PM EST

In Australia we don't have much media of our own, so most of ours comes from the US or UK. It's pretty obvious that the US media is more conservative about sex (not just homosexuality). It becomes very obvious when you see US rip offs of UK shows (such as the US version of Men Behaving Badly, which was very tame compared to the UK version).

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
HBO (3.00 / 1) (#50)
by communista on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 09:12:09 AM EST

Sometimes HBO or Skinimax has a show that samples "shocking" television shows from other countries. It's a neat little show to watch. I think it's funny how American television is so conservative. I mean, when Jimmy Stewart didn't want to say "jerk" in his movies 50 years 60 years ago, but nowadays you hear people saying "bitch" and "dickhead" on TV.
/me fucks shit up!!!!
[ Parent ]
Article: not that great, love the link though... (2.00 / 1) (#40)
by fvw on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 06:42:04 PM EST

I can advise everyone to have a look at Mission: America, the site where the A&F article is. While the A&F article isn't that outragous, the rest of the site can only be described as hilarious... I'm tempted to put it up for MLP...

I almost posted that link (2.00 / 1) (#49)
by communista on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 09:08:06 AM EST

But I wanted to find the one that specifically griped about the two women kissing. :o)
/me fucks shit up!!!!
[ Parent ]
you're missing a poll option.. (4.00 / 3) (#43)
by Zero Whitefur on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 07:22:14 PM EST

What if ya *are* gay? ^.^ As for my own take on this whole matter..I never watched Ellen, but I do agree, based on what I've heard, that after the coming out, the show became a political statement instead of a sitcom. I like Will and Grace, though, for me, (unless he's gone and done something totally goofy) is a good role model for me as a gay man.

In your article, you didn't mention "Queer as Folk" on Showtime (though, from what I've heard, it's more of a celebration of rampant gay sex than a positive portrait of what it means to be gay.) I am very much against that mentality, as I'd like to live to a ripe old age and not become yet another AIDS victim. (I also view it as part of following Buddhism's Middle Way) It's becoming increasingly hard in the gay community to call for responsible behavior, as some are beginning to think, "Oh, AIDS is cured, you just have to take a lot of drugs." And face *tons* of painful side effects and being a slave to a mountain of pill bottles..and probably still not live to a full life span. (This is all based on what I've read in gay media and such)

I'm going off topic, though, so peace out and be well.

I am a deprived one... (2.50 / 2) (#44)
by communista on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 08:52:39 PM EST

Is it on cable? I have heard of Queer as Folk, but have not seen it. I didn't want to comment :)
/me fucks shit up!!!!
[ Parent ]
re: I am a deprived one (3.00 / 1) (#56)
by Zero Whitefur on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 03:00:09 PM EST

> Is it on cable? I have heard of Queer as Folk, but have not seen it. I didn't want >to comment :)

That it is, Showtime on Sunday nights. It's an adaptation of a British series, now set in Pittsburgh. I haven't seen it either, but I've read that it's mostly about a group of gay men and their sexcapades, along with a lesbian couple raising a child (I think). I don't know how it's doing ratings-wise, nor have I heard of the far-right raising a stink about it, so what impact it will have remains to be seen.


[ Parent ]
Yes, the missing poll option is annoying. (none / 0) (#64)
by Paul Crowley on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 10:40:14 AM EST

Being treated as though I don't exist in a discussion *about same-sex sexuality* is pretty annoying. Everyone is straight, they just vary in how liberal they are about these mythical non-straight people...
--
Paul Crowley aka ciphergoth. Crypto and sex politics. Diary.
[ Parent ]
Small nit-pick (4.00 / 2) (#45)
by WispFox on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 09:14:53 PM EST

Having a same-sex relationship does not necessarily mean that one is gay. It's also possible to be bi and have a same-sex, monogamous relationship.

Just felt the need to point that out.



:o) (2.50 / 2) (#48)
by communista on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 09:07:07 AM EST

I should have illustrated that a little different. Thank you for pointing that out to me!! :o)
/me fucks shit up!!!!
[ Parent ]
Probably... (4.00 / 1) (#46)
by xriso on Fri Dec 29, 2000 at 10:56:25 PM EST

Probably, if you take into account the time slots that gay-related programs are in, and how many gay people there are in society, I think you'd find that there is more gayness than there would be if it was an even representation. AFAIK, it's something like 2-4% of population is non-hetero.

Anyway, I the unbalance is because gayness is new and exciting and controversial in our society, so the TV networks use this to grab peoples' attention.

Note: this is speculation
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)

Re: Probably... (3.50 / 2) (#54)
by bkhl on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 02:16:00 PM EST

Last thing I heard, about 10% of the population in Sweden was homo- or bisexual. I guess that does not differ so much from the world at large.

You should also take into account that a lot of homosexual characters in TV plays are very much coloured by the writers prejudices.


[ Parent ]
No One Knows (3.00 / 1) (#60)
by mattyb77 on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 05:50:17 AM EST

There are all kinds of statistics out there that say that anywhere from 2 to 25 percent of the US population is non-hetrosexual.

The truth is that we'll never know exactly how many gay people exist in society because there's no way to gauge it. You can't tell by the way someone behaves or by the way they walk.

If someone was out taking a survey, they'd have to get people to actually admit to them (a stranger) that they're gay. This means you'll only get people that are out of the closet. This means you won't get the closet cases or the "married" men that have sex with each other in parks.

--
"I bestow upon myself the `Doctorate of Cubicism', for educators are ignorant of Nature's Harmonic Time Cube Principle and cannot bestow the prestigious honor of wisdom upon the wisest human ever." -- Gene Ray, the wisest human ever
[ Parent ]
Individuals vs. Groups (4.00 / 5) (#47)
by Blarney on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 02:50:47 AM EST

When I talk to people, it seems to me that individuals, though claiming to belong to some "group" with certain opinions, have much more "progressive" opinions themselves.

For instance, somebody might say that they have no problem with homosexual relationships or marijuana use. After all, people have a right to do what they want to do in the privacy of their own home.

This same person might have voted for George W. Bush, on the grounds that he opposes abortion.

This happens over and over. I'm a pest, I pester people, I demand their opinions, and this seems to happen over and over again. When you put a group of liberals together, you get a conservative organization.

It seems to me that most people don't mind gay couples at all. So if you want to know if "society as a whole" accepts them, then my observations concur.

But when these people get together into a group, they pick a new opinion that doesn't really tolerate these things so much. When they vote, they vote for a political part. When TV networks pick what is allowed to be on a show, they use a "focus group" - anybody who happens by. And for some reason which I don't understand, the group has different opinions then the members which make it up.

What does the average Soccer Mom do when her child turns out gay? You hear the dramatic stories of disowning, "I have no son!", but most of the time this doesn't happen. When the situation comes down to the individual level, things work out different.

Probably the producers of "Will and Grace" are actually trying to do the right thing, they're actually reaching out to what people, as opposed to "focus groups", want. They want the show watched, they want money to be made, and there's nothing wrong with that.


Life is weird. And I'm full of blarney. That's why I picked my name!


Gay Characters on TV (4.75 / 4) (#51)
by DJBongHit on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 10:36:40 AM EST

Now, before anybody gets offended, let me say that I have absolutely nothing against gay people - I respect that that's the lifestyle that they have chosen, or have been born with, and that's fine. I also have no problem with TV shows featuring gay characters.

The reason I don't watch shows like Will and Grace is that they always seem to revolve around gay characters making gay jokes about other gay characters. Every other conversation on that show seems to be the two main characters calling each other fairies or something. I mean, gay people tend to get offended if someone makes fun of the fact that they're gay, but it's OK to have 2 actors on TV every night making gay jokes for half an hour? Shows with heterosexual couples don't usually revolve around the fact that they're heterosexual, so why must shows involving gay couples completely revolve around the fact that said couple is gay?

I think that homosexuality will be much more acceptable in this country when it can be featured on TV and not make a big deal out of the fact! Just put it in with the rest of the plot, or even have it be the entire plot, but come on, now. Have a storyline involving gay people, but it's not necessary to make jokes every 2 seconds about the fact that these people are gay.

~DJBongHit

--
GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

Hetero characters on TV (4.00 / 5) (#52)
by StrontiumDog on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 01:34:14 PM EST

I don't see why programs full of gay jokes and references are a problem, when practically every comedy series ever made revolves around heterosexual jokes and references. The main difference being the word "straight" or "hetero" is not used that often. I've never seen W&G, but how does it differ from, say, Cheers where Sam Malone is the Great Pussy Hunter and tons of jokes revolve around him, his little black book, and his endless heterosexual escapades? Ever noticed how Bud Bundy in married With Children is always (unsuccesfully) trying to get laid in every episode?

Just put yourself in the shoes of a gay person watching any sitcom, from Cheers to Married With Children, and notice how every episode contains at least one heterosexual joke or reference, based on the fact that the characters in question are heterosexual.

(PS: it's been a while since I followed TV sitcoms with any kind of regularity, so forgive the references to ancient programs).

[ Parent ]

Sitcoms (3.50 / 2) (#53)
by malikcoates on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 02:06:11 PM EST

I think this is just because of the sitcom format. The same thing that has happened with Black people in sitcoms for so long is happening with gay characters. I think you hit the nail on the head, sometimes I hate the way minorities are used in comedies. I'm not refering to Will & Grace, which I haven't seen lately.

[ Parent ]
gay jokes (2.00 / 2) (#58)
by Refrag on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 04:55:36 PM EST

I was at a party once at a neighbor's house. One of his co-workers that was at the party was gay and had brought his gay "roommate" with him. Almost every other thing that came out of their mouths was some form of gay joke.

It's annoying and it's why I can't stand to watch "gay shows", however Spin City (which has a gay character) is one of my favorite shows.

Refrag

Kuro5hin: ...and culture, from the trenches
[ Parent ]

Uncomfortable (2.00 / 1) (#59)
by mattyb77 on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 05:33:10 AM EST

What exactly bothers you about a television show that focuses on people being gay?

You start out by saying that you respect our "lifestyle," but at the same time you appear to be uncomfortable with "it."

Gay people often focus on the fact that they are gay because, after all, they're different than probably ten percent of the rest of society. Gay people are chastized, ridiculed, excluded, and outright hated. I think that when heterosexuals (and many closeted and interally homophobic queers) accept that homosexuality is normal then perhaps there wouldn't need to be television shows based around it.

--
"I bestow upon myself the `Doctorate of Cubicism', for educators are ignorant of Nature's Harmonic Time Cube Principle and cannot bestow the prestigious honor of wisdom upon the wisest human ever." -- Gene Ray, the wisest human ever
[ Parent ]
I'm not uncomfortable with it... (5.00 / 1) (#67)
by DJBongHit on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 04:22:55 PM EST

... it just gets real old real quick. I don't care someone is gay, except when it becomes the entire focus of their personality or their conversations or whatever.

Gay people often focus on the fact that they are gay because, after all, they're different than probably ten percent of the rest of society. Gay people are chastized, ridiculed, excluded, and outright hated. I think that when heterosexuals (and many closeted and interally homophobic queers) accept that homosexuality is normal then perhaps there wouldn't need to be television shows based around it.
Yes, this is true, but I think it also works the other way around - if there were more gay characters on TV shows who looked and acted just like the rest of the characters (like, to use an example from another reply to my last comment, the gay guy from Spin City) rather than prancing around like stereotypical gay guys (like Jack from Will & Grace [is that him? Or am I thinking of the other guy? Anyway, one guy acts stereotypically gay, the other doesn't so much]) it would help gay people become more accepted. People in this country (the U.S., before I manage to offend yet another group of people :) base way too much of their outlook on life on what they see on TV, so if there were more "normal" (for lack of a better word) gay people on TV, people would start to accept gay people more.

Again, I didn't mean to offend anybody with this comment either, I just have a very blunt way of putting things. I'm not saying that gay people should act like heterosexual people, just that they don't need to constantly focus on the fact that they're gay. I don't respect people who constantly focus on their heterosexuality either, BTW... people that are constantly trying to get laid, or talking about getting laid, male or female, gay or straight, annoy this piss out of me.

~DJBongHit

--
GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
But ... (2.00 / 1) (#69)
by mattyb77 on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 11:03:46 PM EST

You're not offending me, but I don't necessarily agree with your statement.

There's isn't anything wrong with gay man acting stereotypical. After all, people who act like that are all over the place and only reflect reality.

Telling us that we should have characters that look and act like everyone else so that we are more accepted is basically telling us that we need to change, when we're not the ones with the problem.

Furthermore, most gay people don't focus entirely on the fact that they're gay -- and nor do the the characters on Will & Grace and the such.

The problem is that people are uncomfortable with gays. I'm not talking about outright hatred, but a lot of people just don't want to see it (or things that represent it). It's called homophobia and can easily be treated by any respectable psychiatrist.

--
"I bestow upon myself the `Doctorate of Cubicism', for educators are ignorant of Nature's Harmonic Time Cube Principle and cannot bestow the prestigious honor of wisdom upon the wisest human ever." -- Gene Ray, the wisest human ever
[ Parent ]
Jokes (4.00 / 2) (#65)
by aphrael on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 12:46:03 PM EST

I don't find it offensive when someone makes fun of the fact that i'm gay ... unless i know they are seriously bothered by it. Gay men teasing each other about being gay is a little bit like black men calling each other 'nigger'; they can do it because it's understood they don't mean anything by it, and there's a degree to which it *bonds* them --- there's an undercurrent of making fun of people who don't like them. This type of thing goes on a lot in any subculture which isn't broadly accepted by the majority culture.

That said, I agree with your broader point: it would be cool if we could have shows with gay characters who lived perfectly normal lives and neither exaggerated their gayness nor hid it.

[ Parent ]

I was under the impression... (3.50 / 2) (#55)
by goosedaemon on Sat Dec 30, 2000 at 02:52:38 PM EST

that the issue wasn't so much the depiction of homosexual activity but of a lesbian marriage presided over by a priest with a Roman collar. Although some non-Catholic denominations use those. Eh. I could be wrong, I never gave it much thought considering that I don't buy brand-name clothes. At least, not for the name.

Not quite... (none / 0) (#68)
by enthalpyX on Sun Dec 31, 2000 at 09:56:55 PM EST

There were other shows (They were cancelled, but I believe it was because of low ratings, not discrimination) that illustrated a same-sex relationship.
Examples of same-sex relationships on TV:
  • Xena: Warrior Princess (Gabriel & Xena, hurrah)
  • Wasn't there some hint of a same-sex relationship on Ally McBeal? Or was it simply a kiss... *shrug*
  • Lexx: Haha.
I don't watch TV much, but these come to mind -- I'm sure there are lots more out there.



This is true... (none / 0) (#74)
by communista on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 12:35:49 PM EST

I think the Ally McBeal was a display of trendy bisexuality. You know, the girls that go around kissing each other to pick up guys?? Reminds me of a quote from South Park...

"I'm not gay...I just act that way to get chicks, dumbass." -Mr. Garrison :oP

I had almost forgotten about Xena. I guess the reason why it may not have such an impact, is because it's not really on during Prime Time, every no-cable Billy-Bob can't see it. In my RPG days I remember flocking to the TV to watch Buffy and Xena. Sorta went in with that clique. But correct none the less.

So much I forgot when I wrote this thing!! I actually mentioned that in my diary. :)
/me fucks shit up!!!!
[ Parent ]
A much better example... (none / 0) (#79)
by MrMikey on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 08:20:41 PM EST

The show "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" started developing a romantic relationship between two women during the middle of last season. It was done with skill and wonderful writing, and they are now a couple. Unlike that lousy "Ally McBeal" ratings grab, this relationship is for keeps. Sadly, the censors have told the writers explicitly that the two actresses may not kiss on screen. Sure, you can have a 17-year-old lose her virginity to a 200-year-old vampire, you can have people killed, possessed, or what have you, but heaven forbid two girls, who love and are committed to each other, should kiss. A wonderful show, but stupid censors.

[ Parent ]
*Shrug* is the appropriate response (1.00 / 2) (#77)
by stavrosthewonderchicken on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 05:08:31 AM EST

Not unlike the appropriate response to the Prayer in Schools article in Culture. I hereby propose an entirely new category - America Disappearing Up It's Own Butt. Discourse is good, yep. But so much navelgazing just can't be healthy.
---------

Emptybottle.org : All the cool kids are doing it.
Who was it who said.... (none / 0) (#78)
by MrMikey on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 08:15:53 PM EST

"The unexamined life is not worth living."

[ Parent ]
Same-sex relationships in the media | 79 comments (73 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
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