Out with Stereotypes: LGBT Stereotypes Perpetuated
Time and time again, we have discussed the power of the media and its effects on cultural stereotypes. In the LGBT community, these stereotypes are loud, but may not be ones we should be so proud about. For more than a decade now, gay men have held a presence in mainstream media, playing the leading lady’s best friend and fashionisto. Meanwhile, lesbians continue to play the tool-belt wearing and masculine extras. So, when it comes to LGBT visibility, can even a little visibility be a bad thing?
What boggles me is that these stereotypes are even more rampant in the LGBT community. Last weekend, I picked up a LOGO produced movie at Blockbuster called “Out at the Wedding.” Same storyline — straight girl with flamboyant, materialistic gay best friend meets artistic, handy and masculine lesbian.
Next comes the Graham Norton Show on BBC Two. Norton featured guest Ruth Jones and Greg Kinnear in March 2008, showcasing the Web site, patentlysilly.com. Norton commented on a series of sketches of a woman in a jumpsuit. He said, “I don’t know why they’ve got some strange lesbian to be the model for this.” When Jones says, “She may not be a lesbian, come on now… What does a lesbian look like?” Norton points to the image and says, “That.” Ouch Graham.
If we wish to promote positive messages about the LGBT community, maybe we should start right at home. The LGBT divide is one that creates animosity within our community. We’ve all seen it — segregated groups within each letter of the acronym. Each letter acts like a class system. For a community that yearns for acceptance, we find it difficult to accept one another. Furthermore, media representations imitate the lives we portray, yet we blame them for their actions. Something has to change within us, if we want to truly have an impact externally.
What do you think about media representations of the LGBT community? Please share your thoughts!