When we were talking about the lack of LGBTQ representation in TV and media, it made me think about all of the shows I used to watch as a kid, because I don’t watch all that much TV these days. Every show I watched, I cannot remember one character AT ALL who was LGBTQ. Often times, characters who acted outside of their gender norms were mocked, or purposely depicted as weird. I feel like this was an attempt by major media outlets to culturally condition the youth to dislike or discourage “non-normative” behavior. Normative, of course, by their definition, being a heterosexual white person.
On Netflix, there’s this show I’ve watched called Schitt’s Creek (HIGHLY recommend) and one of the main characters, who also happens to be a fan favorite is pansexual. The show, while very funny, does have its important moments where valuable lessons are taught, and sort of makes me wonder what the problem/hold up is for mainstream US television to start having more representation from that community. The pushback would come from evangelicals, I imagine, and to that I say, who cares what sort of sexual preferences are implied by a character in a show if the show is good regardless? What could possibly be the criticism in this scenario besides simple discrimination and hatred?
I’m glad that there are more platforms for media in today’s day and age though, because it allows for competition and representation for communities that wouldn’t be otherwise. I believe this pressures the mainstream to join us here in the 21st century and decide that it’s time to stop being so exclusive to anyone whom falls outside of the “norm”.
In class today we were talking about how performance is Utopian. What we mean by Utopia is some sort of almost inachievable, perfect society. The reason performance relates to a Utopia, is because a performance is rehearsed, and is meant to show off the best version of something. Whether it be a band performing a song, a comedian on stage doing stand up, or even a human being performing gender by adhering to certain roles. These performances aren’t always synonymous with normal every day life because at times we make mistakes, and at times we aren’t able to represent ourselves and convey what we are trying to convey with 100% success and consistency. This also relates to what we were talking about with the idea of punk, and how that whole scene is about showing that you don’t fully respect authority, and you rebel against social norms.
I relate this to the idea of social media in our current day and age. It seems that a lot of the time, social media is all about some sort of Utopian performance. Rarely will you see people sharing the vulnerable, possibly negative sides of their life. For the most part, social media is about trying to convey how happy you are, or to capture all the best moments of your life, so they are permenantly etched into the internet, and are a spark notes version of all the best parts of your life. To me, this means that using someone’ Facebook or Instagram to learn about them can be a misleading way to analyze people. People are aware that everyone has access to their social media accounts, and are usually cautious to reveal any compromising information about themselves, or suggestive content for that matter. In the world of performance, we aren’t going to have a completely transparent representation of ourselves on the GIANT stage that is social media. Aside from the reasons I listed, why do you all think that is? Do you all think that your social media accounts are Utopian? I quickly skimmed through mine and found that they were very Utopian, with mainly photos of nature, or videos of myself playing the guitar, almost subconsciously conveying that I’m a tree hugging, guitar strumming barefoot hippie.
One of the first main points of the reading “Reenfleshing Young Boys”, which we’ve been discussing in class, is that the idea of Masculinity Studies raises some eyebrows because it implies that men are equally as gendered as women, and that men and women are equally installed into “symmetrically gendered” positions. This would mean that men face equivalent sorts of objectification and expectations, that are equally as disadvantageous and oppressive as they are for women. That being said, Milo Yiannopoulos, a very right wing anti-feminist political journalist, has been in the news lately, and I wanted to see what he was all about so I watched a few videos about him on YouTube. I believe some of the arguments he is making about gender go right alongside with this point from the reading.
Many of his arguments center around the fact that “some men suffer from X,Y, or Z just like women do, therefore women are no more oppressed/gendered/objectified/victimized than men.” He is doing exactly what is addressed in that first part of the reading, which is the potential problem mentioned with Masculinity Studies. I believe what his argument fails to address is the fact that a lot of the things that men go through are not a result of a system that equally advantages/disadvantages all genders, but they are examples of a patriarchal system that genders and objectifies femininity. Sometimes these toxic masculine gender roles can effect other men as well. When people exist in a system that benefits aggression, assertiveness and violence, there are going to be victims from all genders. I think we as a society need to think outside the box more when arguments are made like this, because it eliminates the idea of a tangible thing to overcome, and makes it seem like there’s no one behind the wheel, and there’s no point to strive for change.