Friday, November 20, 2009

Lesbian and Gay Representations

I think lesbians have definitely attained a much more prominent position in the media and there is a much wider representation of them. In the past the media was mostly concentrated on portraying “femme” lesbians who were “white, middle class, and more interested in make up and clothes than in feminism” (pg. 595). In Ciasullo’s article she discusses the appearances of two lesbians who appeared on the cover of Newsweek, "although the image on the cover of Newsweek might be characterized as defiant, the fact remains that Etheridge and Cypher are presented as conventionally attractive women, and their attractiveness has the potential to ‘soften’ that defiance for mainstream audiences. The position of the women’s bodies indicate some intimacy, but they do not indicate sexuality. Newsweek was careful to present bodies that are sanitized yet attractive, clean of any homosexual residue” (pg. 586). I think the media has become a lot more liberal in their portrayal of lesbians; for instance on the show, “A shot of Love at Tila Tequila”, (a reality T.V. show where both women and men vie for a shot at love with Tila Tequila, who is bisexual), the lesbian contestants consist of both femmes and butches. Ultimately, a butch lesbian makes it to the final round; she is “manish, but not at all stylish and at the same time she is definitely a woman. [She] fails to fulfill heterosexual ideas about what is attractive and sexually appealing in women” (pg. 600). Furthermore, Tila does engage in sexual contact with the women on the show, including the butch lesbians. Tila and Dani:

However, even though the media has made a huge leap in its representation of homosexuals in the media, it definitely still has its limitations. For instance, Tila ultimately chooses a male over the lesbian in the final round, succumbing to the more conventional form of heterosexual relationships. I’m not sure if she really did like the male contestant more (doubtful), but I think the producers must have told her to pick the male as it might have been too controversial if she picked the female contestant. Furthermore, recently there has been controversy regarding Adam Lambert’s portrayal in the media. In a recent magazine interview he had with Out Magazine, his own publicist actually told the editor of Out magazine not to make the interview come across as too gay, even though Out magazine is specifically catered to a gay audience!  Lambert on the cover of Out Magazine:

1 comment:

  1. yeah... I think that Tila is an interesting example. One, she is an Asian "celebrity" ??? And Asians females have always been hypersexualized on TV. Plus, Tila hypersexualizes herself even more than the typical stereotype. Second of all, it is interesting, because in the first series, Tila had a house full of guys, while in the second season of her show, there were both guys and girls "fighting for her love." And I just find it extremely interesting, to note that when the women were fighting for Tila as well, Tila actually was more into the girls than the guys.