James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Changing Portrayals in the Mainstream Media

As much as book lovers might hate to admit it, the primary way mainstream ideology is promoted and disseminated is not through the written word but through the visual media. In his book, "from perverts to fab five: The Media's Changing Depiction of Gay Men and Lesbians," Rodger Streitmatter charts the changing topography of the LGBT cultural landscape reflected through the lens of television and movies. He begins with the newspaper image of the prowling pervert of the Joseph McCarthy era and proceeds through the breakthrough film "Brokeback Mountain" in 2005. Ellen DeGeneres' coming out, "Queer as Folk," The L-Word," Will and Grace," and "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," all of which have become cultural reference points in television history, are taken on by Streitmatter, a Professor and Senior Associate Dean in the School of Communication at American University in Washington, D.C.

For other resources the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, (GLAAD), monitors the U.S. media for both positive and negative depictions of queer folks. Here is a video of the history of LGBTs on television. And here is a more up to date version of the same subject.

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