Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Content on tv: A Quantitative Analysis Across Two Seasons

Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Content on tv: A Quantitative Analysis Across Two Seasons

Two yearly content analyses of development through the 2001 2002 and 2002 2003 tv periods (letter = 1,276 and 1,439 programs, correspondingly) had been carried out to evaluate the current presence of habits and spoken communications linked to the sex of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. Intimate content related to nonheterosexuals ended up being present in about 15% of programs general; nevertheless, prices of incident within episodes were low. Of 14 genres, just films and variety/comedy shows had significant percentages of programs that contained content that is nonheterosexual. Programs on commercial broadcast systems had been less inclined to have nonheterosexual content than those on cable systems, specially those on premium cable film sites. Implications regarding the continued absence of attention to intimate minorities are talked about both for heterosexual and nonheterosexual audiences.


Intimate content of development on US tv changed significantly because the medium was initially created significantly more than 50 years back. At its inception, tv seldom presented intimate themes, and for the very early years of tv, subjects such as for instance maternity, contraception, along with other areas of figures’ sex had been considered too responsive to be portrayed or talked about in tv shows. One theme which has been particularly ignored may be the portrayal of intimate dilemmas linked to homosexual, lesbian, and bisexual people. Regardless of the lifting of some longstanding taboos during the last a few years, tv development happens to be called heterosexual” that is“compulsoryWolf & Kielwasser, 1991), and depictions associated with the intimate dilemmas connected with nonheterosexuals 1 may stay reasonably uncommon (Brown, 2002).

Minimal research that is quantitative been carried out to report gay problems and figures on television. Presently, almost all of exactly exactly just what is posted about tv and its particular portrayals of intimate minority themes and figures originates from qualitative writings. The goal of this paper is to present quantitative information on sexual behavior and talk that is sexual to nonheterosexuals throughout the 2001 2002 and 2002 2003 tv periods. The findings with this research provide empirical data concerning the prevalence of nonheterosexual intimate content across a broad array of tv development, along with the frequency of these intimate content if it is presented.

Before 1970, very little homosexual figures might be available on tv, and their absence that is relative from display screen proceeded before the 1990s (Wyatt, 2002). The number of shows with leading or recurring gay characters has varied from 16 in the 1997 1998 season to 29 in the 2000 2001 season (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, n.d.) in recent years. Although these figures represent a rise weighed against days gone by, they’ve been nevertheless quite little in contrast to the number that is overall of showing up on tv programs broadcast each period.

Based on cognitive that is social (Bandura, 2001), one essential manner in which tv influences people is through supplying vicarious experiences by which to model thinking, attitudes, and behavior whenever true to life experiences tend to be more restricted. A closely associated concept is the fact that the media by depicting intimate situations that folks may possibly not be in a position to see elsewhere offer scripts for enacting different intimate actions (Gagnon & Simon, 1973) such as for example individuals making love by having a brand new partner. Reliance on tv programs for intimate scripts and tv figures as models for behavior could be specially strong among youth, whom might not have much very first hand experience with sex, yet are beginning to solidify their intimate identities and be enthusiastic about intimate relationships (Chapin, 2000). In fact, as much as one out of five teenagers reports that “entertainment” is the many essential supply of intimate information (Gibbs, 1993 as cited in Brown & Steele, 1995).

Although tv was criticized for maybe perhaps not supplying good part models for adolescents for instance, abstinence among teenagers is hardly ever portrayed in a confident light (Committee on Communications, 1995) the possible lack of good part models on tv is more extreme for homosexual, lesbian, and bisexual youth (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992).

Many lesbians and homosexual guys develop in a right community with few mature chaturbate homosexual part models; therefore, they truly are specially at risk of the portrayals of homosexual individuals into the advertising (Fejes & Petrich, 1993; Ryan & Futterman, 1998). Yet, intimate minorities tend to be ignored because of the main-stream media and addressed as though they just do not occur. This exclusion happens to be posited to play a role in maintaining minorities that are sexual and without energy, an ongoing process which Gross identifies as “symbolic annihilation” (Gross, 1991; Gerbner & Gross, 1976). Portrayals of homosexual folks of all ages have now been uncommon and frequently negative (Gross, 1991, 1996; Moritz, 1994), and portrayals of young nonheterosexuals are also less frequent (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992). Programs for adolescent audiences often portray an environment that is exclusively heterosexual with just occasional brief appearances by adolescent figures that are confused about their sex (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992). This is really important because homosexual adolescents usually cannot get information highly relevant to their sexual orientation from buddies and family members that will utilize television as being a supply of data about gay dilemmas (Paroski, 1987). The number that is small of figures on television, and also smaller number of adolescent gay figures, is proposed to donate to a sense of isolation among nonheterosexual youth (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992).


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