Bordowitz asks his reader “what images would [they] like to see more of” and encourages his reader to “make them” (176). In addition to making images of what people want to see, it’s also important to raise awareness about the lack of representation to big mainstream media companies; the producers of movies, TV shows, etc. that reach mass audiences. If one can’t make the images themselves, they can make their own content explaining what they feel is missing in mainstream media.

This had me thinking a lot about queer representation and reminded me of a video I saw a few months ago. In April of this year, Buzzfeed made a mock PSA video titled “Stop Killing Queer Women (On TV).” In the video, several queer women discuss how often queer female characters get killed on television shows. If you’re like me and you follow a lot of queer shows or shows with queer female characters, you understand that this is a real trend that happens on TV shows. The beginning of the video even says, “At some point in her life, every young queer woman will lose someone they love to television’s dead lesbian syndrome.” Some actual statistics the video says is:

  • “Since 1976, 65% of all queer female television characters have died”
  • “In 2015 alone, 24 queer female characters have been killed on television”
  • “Already in 2016, there have been 12 deaths”

The fact that 65% of all queer female characters since the 70’s have died shows that this has become a pattern. They don’t even leave the show for other reasons. They just get murdered or die in some way. The question is, why?

Here’s the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmSVj4q3QaE

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5 responses »

  1. ariatung says:

    I don’t have a answer to your question as to why queer people get killed off. But it is very wrong how so many times, underrepresented/minority groups are the ones to get killed from a show/movie. It has real ramifications for viewers- it can project ideas of these people being worthless or not important enough to be represented. Cause often when underrepresented groups are in media, they are killed off. Media needs to work on changing this so everyone can be represented in a positive manner and have real time on television.

  2. ddmaoz says:

    I think this is really important since it points to the fact that a mere increase in representation isn’t enough. So often “diverse” representation turns into a hegemonic representation of these marginalized identities. In some cases they are highly stereotypical and harmful, or, as you point out, they just get killed off.

  3. krystalyiranli says:

    Many of the characters representing the minority groups get killed on the television and this is not the real “diversity” of media representation. What the media needs to do is truly representing minority group in a positive way, instead of continuously marginalized them.

  4. bhedigan says:

    This falls under the incredibly harmful “bury your gays” trope that continues to pervade popular media today. The trope came about by early Hollywood’s homophobia, and manifested in their portrayal of queer characters. According to Hollywood, these characters were ‘wrong’ and as such had to be shown as ‘evil’ (the “depraved homosexual” trope) or needed to be killed off to show the inherent ‘wickedness’ of their lifestyles (the “bury your gays” trope). The fact that this trope continues to be so widely used in today’s media is startling, to say the least. One site I’ve been following counted up all of the lesbian and bisexual female-presenting characters killed in mainstream television during the 2015-2016 season and it was bad: 26 characters, accounting for 10% of all character deaths during that season. Here’s a link if anyone would like to read more: http://lgbtfansdeservebetter.com/blog/2016/03/31/bury-tropes-not-us-2016-edition/

  5. maddiernelson says:

    This is shocking, but it really shouldn’t be. I feel like to many of us it doesn’t make sense but women are indeed the most susceptible to violence, especially women/trans-women from the queer community.
    This is a major missed opportunity on the part of television shows that try to increase representation but not make a real statement about the communities they are claiming to represent.. It is super problematic because I don’t feel like most of these shows are making productive social commentary, rather just following the status quo that these women live a life that is more dangerous and unsafe in our reactionary heteronormative society.

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