There are three mediums we would like to explore: Advertising, News Coverage, and Music. These three mediums portray an abundance of information and perspectives about the gay culture to the general public.
The news coverage has a very complex relationship pertaining to gay culture and issues. Predominant conservative media news coverage outlets such as Fox and CNN inform the public about gay media which a distinct bias. For example on this segment from CNN http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0fyWcSbuSY a debate is broadcasted between Ann Coulter and Marc Lamont Hill. Organizations such as GLAAD work to support the fair treatment of the LGBT community on news media. For example, on this article GLAAD discusses the misfair representation of gays and lebsians on Fox Television network. http://www.glaad.org/news/fox-news-coverage-transgender-community-challenged-equality-group. Fox is a conservative network and recently mocked the transgendered community on one of its news segments. GLAAD seeks to raise awareness of the misrepresentation and bias airing of LGBT issues.
Advertisement is another medium we would like to explore. Advertising plays a pivotal role in the representation of the gay culture in the media.
One of the Doritos commercials that was aired a couple years ago features a man who peeks into the yard next to him, to see two gay men eating some doritos. The man seems to be eyeing the men, as opposed to the doritos (although this is left rather ambiguous). The chips in this ad are used to make a straight man look like he’s checking the gay men out, and this gets a humorous response from a woman. It’s interesting, or perhaps expected, to note that the two gay men are portrayed in a rather stereotypical manner. The commercial does have a sense of humor and is rather funny, but the way the gay men are portrayed probably didn’t work to break down notions of gay stereotypes or negative stigmas, especially for a mainstream audience. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGGWwSKondY
The organization GLSEN is a national education organization that is focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. As they report on their website, 8 out of 10 LGBT students are harassed or mistreated in school each year, and they want to change that. They put out an interesting and effective advertising campaign that plays on stereotypes and the popularly-used phrase, “That’s so gay.” The campaign features face photos of various teenagers, and partly covering them is a phrase that embodies the stereotypical nature of the phrase “That’s so gay.” The ad featured below features the face of a girl with the phrase “That’s so cheerleader who like can’t like say smart stuff.” In my opinion, it effectively applies the derogatory nature of “That’s so gay” to numerous other people and scenarios, and conveys the stereotypical and biased nature of the popular saying. Towards the bottom, the ad reads, “Think that’s mean? How do you think “that’s so gay” sounds? Hurtful. So, knock it off.” http://fletcherprince.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/print_cheerleader.jpg
Perhaps often often overlooked, there is no denying the role that music has played in shaping gay ideologies and stereotypes. At a time when the AIDS epidemic was a massive event, pop singer Madonna remained innovative in informing the uneducated about the disease. She held numerous charity-based concerts to support the research of AIDS and even incorporated an aspect of her tour that took a second out of the show to promote safe sex. Several ballads were even produced, in which Madonna lamented about one of her friends who passed away from the disease. A direct example of an artist incorporating music and fame to promote a cause, Madonna was able to be more effective than organizations at the time, since the public was able to connect better with the songs that the artist recorded about the disease. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dsk35XV-GI
While many regard Lady GaGa as an artist that is attention seeking through her outrageous antics, many fail to realize how much of a role she has played in 21st century activism. A strong ally of LGBT, Lady GaGa has been a strong proponent in the fight against AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases. The artist even released a set of cosmetics through MAC Cosmetics, entitled Viva Glam. The net proceeds of the campaign, which eventually totaled $202 million, was donated to AIDS and HIV research. Lady GaGa’s most recent album, entitled “Born This Way”, had a centralized theme around self-acceptance and love. The title song from the album broke records, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and became the highest charting song with the word “transgender” in it. The empowering lyrics of the song go, “No matter gay, straight, or bi, lesbian, transgendered life I’m on the right track, baby, I was born to survive. No matter black, white or beige, chola or orient made, I’m on the right track, baby, I was born to be brave.” As of December 2012, the song has sold almost 4 million copies in the United States alone, revolutionary considering its subject matter. The “Born This Way” album focused on this theme of self-empowerment. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wV1FrqwZyKw