Has Hollywood Made LGBT Characters Too Stereotypical Gay?
Do you think Hollywood is doing a good job with LGBT characters? Can you identify with these characters at all or are they too stereotypical and way over the top? Here’s two sides to the argument. First, I came across an article from the New York Post today that feels Hollywood has done a horrific job in it’s portrayal of LGBT characters. The writer generalizes these Hollywood characters saying they’re “so screamingly stupid” .
Also, the writer assesses the male gay characters from shows like Glee and Modern Family as “limp white boys and scary” and compared the portrayal of lesbians as “sexually predatory girls”. The writer says these characters are so damning that they make the bold assertion that “it’s enough to drive the gay-rights movement back underground.” while these portrayals will be used by “delight loyalists of Chick-fil-A” and overall these characters are “self-loathing“.
The writer feels that these LGBT character portrayals are detrimental and as a result it’s “an awkward moment for TV land to give so much ammunition to the religious right”. So what because of the religious conservative right we shouldn’t have these characters on tv? Other then one dimensional thinking the writer doesn’t provide any solid evidence to support this claim.
Further, the writer received commentary from Williamson Henderson, Director of Stonewall Veterans Association, named for the 1969 Greenich Village Riots. Henderson felt as though the portrayals of LGBT are relegated to “wimpy characters, crying” and that“they don’t represent gay people in a productive and positive sense” .
Henderson also discussed Chaz Bono son of Cher and DTWS contest, who is female to male transgender, and the controversy surrounding the dance competition saying “it was the clowning of the GLBT community,’’ and that “they were using him as a weapon to attract those who don’t support gay rights. He did more harm than good”.
Okay, let’s look at another side of this debate. The counter argument suggests that these LGBT characters are an asset, not a detriment. University of Michigan’s Professor Edward Schiappa, who studies communication, did research on these varying shows finding that overall, “TV and movie representation matters”. Schiappa compared data from five studies concluding that prejudices towards LGBT showed a decrease and noted while “these attitude changes are not huge — they don’t change bigots into saints. But they can snowball”.
Look, I’ll be the first to admit that there is a significant lack of diversity for LGBT characters in Hollywood. I want to see well thought out multi-dimensional characters in film, sitcoms, drams, playrights and all other mediums. But there are some positive aspects to these characters too.
Growing up during the 80s and 90s I can’t vividly remember one LGBT character in any of the tv shows I watched. I know not all visibility in causes are good, but I definitely don’t think the examples provided by the writer of this article are all bad either. What do you think?