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Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Information on Tv: A Quantitative Analysis Across Two Seasons

Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Information on Tv: A Quantitative Analysis Across Two Seasons

Two content that is annual 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 actions and spoken communications regarding the sex of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. Intimate content related to nonheterosexuals ended up being present in about 15% of programs general; nonetheless, prices of event within episodes had been low. Of 14 genres, just films and variety/comedy shows had significant percentages of programs that contained nonheterosexual content. Programs on commercial broadcast sites had been less likely to want to have content that is nonheterosexual those on cable sites, specially those on premium cable film sites. Implications of this lack that is continued of to intimate minorities are talked about both for heterosexual and nonheterosexual audiences.


Intimate content of development on American tv changed significantly because the medium was initially created significantly more than 50 years back. At its inception, television seldom presented themes that are sexual and through the entire very early years of tv, subjects such as for example pregnancy, 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 specially ignored could be the depiction of intimate problems regarding homosexual, lesbian, and bisexual people. Inspite of the lifting of some longstanding taboos during the last a few years, tv development happens to be called “compulsory heterosexual” (Wolf & Kielwasser, 1991), and depictions of this intimate dilemmas connected with nonheterosexuals 1 may stay fairly uncommon (Brown, 2002).

Minimal quantitative studies have been carried out to report homosexual problems and figures on tv. Presently, nearly all of just just what happens to be published about tv as well as its portrayals of intimate minority themes and figures originates from qualitative writings. The objective of this paper is always to provide quantitative information on sexual behavior and intimate talk associated to nonheterosexuals throughout the 2001 2002 and 2002 2003 tv periods. The findings with this research offer empirical data concerning the prevalence of nonheterosexual content that is sexual a broad number of tv development, along with the regularity of these sexual content if it is presented.

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Before 1970, very little homosexual figures could possibly be available on tv, and their absence that is relative from display 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 numbers represent a growth weighed against the last, they have been nevertheless quite tiny weighed against the number that is overall of showing up on tv programs broadcast each period.

Based on social cognitive concept (Bandura, 2001), one crucial method by which tv influences audiences is through supplying vicarious experiences on which to model opinions, attitudes, and behavior whenever true to life experiences tend to be more restricted. A closely associated concept is the fact that the news by depicting intimate situations that individuals is probably not in a position to see anywhere else offer scripts for enacting various sexual habits (Gagnon & Simon, 1973) such as for instance people making love with a partner that is new. Reliance on television programs for intimate scripts and tv figures as models for behavior could be specially strong among youth, whom might not have much hand that is first with sex, yet are just starting to solidify their intimate identities and be enthusiastic about intimate relationships (Chapin, 2000). In fact, as much as one in five teenagers reports that “entertainment” is the many essential source of intimate information (Gibbs, 1993 as cited in Brown & Steele, 1995).

Although television happens to be criticized for perhaps not supplying good part models for adolescents for instance, abstinence among teenagers is seldom portrayed in a confident light (Committee on Communications, 1995) the possible lack of positive 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 homosexual part models; thus, they truly are specially susceptible to the portrayals of homosexual individuals in 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 don’t occur. This exclusion was posited to play a role in maintaining minorities that are sexual and without energy, a procedure which Gross relates to as “symbolic annihilation” (Gross, 1991; Gerbner & Gross, 1976). Portrayals of homosexual individuals of all ages have already been unusual 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 important because homosexual adolescents frequently cannot get information strongly related their orientation that is sexual from and household and will utilize tv being a supply of data about homosexual problems (Paroski, 1987). The number that is small of figures on tv, as well as smaller number of adolescent homosexual figures, is proposed to play a role in a sense of isolation among nonheterosexual youth (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992).

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