Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Information on Tv: a Analysis that is quantitative across Seasons

Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Information on Tv: a Analysis that is quantitative across Seasons


Two yearly content analyses of development through the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 tv periods had been conducted to evaluate the existence of actions and spoken communications associated with the sex of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. Sexual content connected with nonheterosexuals ended up being present in about 15% of programs general; nonetheless, prices of event within episodes had been low. Of 14 genres, just films and variety/comedy shows had significant percentages of programs that included news nonheterosexual content. Programs on commercial broadcast sites were less inclined to have content that is nonheterosexual those on cable sites, specially those on premium cable film systems. Implications associated with the lack that is continued of to intimate minorities are talked about both for heterosexual and nonheterosexual people.


Intimate content of programming on US tv changed significantly considering that the medium was devised significantly more than 50 years back. At its inception, tv seldom presented themes that are sexual and for the very early years of tv, subjects such as for example maternity, contraception, along with other facets of figures’ sex had been considered too responsive to be portrayed or talked about in tv shows. One theme which has been particularly ignored may be the depiction of intimate problems pertaining to homosexual, lesbian, and bisexual people. Regardless of the lifting of some longstanding taboos during the last a few years, tv programming happens to be called “compulsory heterosexual” (Wolf & Kielwasser, 1991), and depictions regarding the intimate dilemmas connected with nonheterosexuals 1 may stay fairly uncommon (Brown, 2002).

Minimal quantitative studies have been carried out to document homosexual problems and figures on tv. Presently, nearly all of just just what happens to be posted about tv and its own portrayals of intimate minority themes and figures originates from qualitative writings. The goal of this paper would be to provide quantitative information on intimate behavior and intimate talk associated to nonheterosexuals throughout the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 tv periods. The findings from this research offer empirical data in regards to the prevalence of nonheterosexual content that is sexual a broad array of tv development, plus the regularity of these intimate content if it is presented.

Before 1970, very little homosexual figures might be entirely on tv, and their general lack through the display proceeded before the 1990s (Wyatt, 2002). In modern times, how many programs with leading or recurring gay figures has varied from 16 into the 1997-1998 period to 29 into the 2000-2001 period (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, n.d.). Although these figures represent a rise compared to days gone by, these are generally nevertheless quite tiny compared to the number that is overall of showing up on tv programs broadcast each period.

Based on cognitive that is social (Bandura, 2001), one crucial manner in which tv influences watchers is through providing vicarious experiences upon which to model thinking, attitudes, and behavior whenever real-life experiences tend to be more restricted. A closely associated concept is the fact that the news by depicting intimate situations that folks may not be in a position to see any place else offer scripts for enacting different intimate actions (Gagnon & Simon, 1973) such as for example individuals making love by having a partner that is new. Reliance on tv shows for intimate scripts and tv figures as models for behavior can be especially strong among youth, who might not have much experience that is first-hand sex, yet are needs to solidify their intimate identities and be enthusiastic about intimate relationships (Chapin, 2000). In fact, up to one in five teenagers reports that “entertainment” is the many crucial supply of intimate information (Gibbs, 1993 as cited in Brown & Steele, 1995).

Although television happens to be criticized for maybe perhaps maybe not supplying good part models for adolescents as an example, abstinence among teens is seldom portrayed in a confident light (Committee on Communications, 1995) the possible lack of good part models on tv is much more extreme for homosexual, lesbian, and bisexual youth (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992). Many lesbians and homosexual guys develop in a community that is straight few homosexual role models; hence, they have been specially in danger of the portrayals of homosexual individuals into the advertising (Fejes & Petrich, 1993; Ryan & Futterman, 1998). Yet, sexual minorities in many cases are ignored by the conventional media and addressed as though they don’t occur. This exclusion is posited to play a role in maintaining minorities that are sexual and without energy, a procedure which Gross relates to as “symbolic annihilation” (Gross, 1991; Gerbner & Gross, 1976). Portrayals of homosexual folks of all ages have already been unusual and frequently negative (Gross, 1991, 1996; Moritz, 1994), and portrayals of young nonheterosexuals are also less frequent (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992). Programs for adolescent audiences often portray an environment that is exclusively heterosexual with just occasional brief appearances by adolescent figures that are confused about their sex (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992). This is really important because gay adolescents usually cannot get information highly relevant to their intimate orientation from buddies and family members and can even utilize tv as a supply of data about homosexual dilemmas (Paroski, 1987). The number that is small of figures on tv, as well as smaller number of adolescent homosexual figures, is proposed to play a role in a sense of isolation among nonheterosexual youth (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992).

Even if homosexual figures are portrayed on tv, they usually are shown in a asexual context (Fejes & Petrich, 1993). Gross (1991) cites samples of gay figures who have been seldom, when, shown in intimate or contexts that are romantic as Sidney in prefer Sidney, Steven Carrington in Dynasty, and Marilyn McGrath in Heartbeat. More modern these include Matt Fielding in Melrose destination, whoever intimate orientation had been prominently featured in promotions ahead of the show’s premiere, after which seldom a part of storylines when it comes to very very first a few periods (Wyatt, 2002). Until really recently, the 2 freely homosexual figures on NBC’s presently popular series that is prime-time and Grace Will and Jack had been seldom shown being actually affectionate along with other guys; but, the lead female character Grace, that is heterosexual, has often demonstrated an ability in intimate circumstances with males. Will and Grace also offers been criticized for reinforcing norms that are heterosexual stereotypes about homosexual characteristics such as for example homosexual males being feminine, flamboyant, and promiscuous (Battles & Morrow-Hilton, 2002). Battles and Morrow-Hilton argue that the safer, more assimilated asexual character of Will is frequently contrasted because of the more flamboyant Jack, that is made enjoyable of if you are campy and “queeny.”

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