Visibility at any cost

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In regards to Harvey Fierstein's comment, I feel torn. I see where he is coming from when he says that he would rather have negative than nothing, because at least they are not being totally ignored, but at the same time I don't feel that negativity is the best option either. If the GLBT culture is depicted in movies as flamboyant and fairy-like, then what about all the other GLBT people who do not identify that way? I feel that it is a mis-representation in media and society today. So, although the queer cinema is getting larger and broader in some aspects, there were points in watching the Celluloid closet when I thought to myself, when are we going to get over homophobia and move on!

I also think that although the queer cinema has come a long way since 1920, it in some way has transformed. When gays were first depicted in film it was always when humor was used, and the flamboyant gay man was at the but of the joke. They were often portrayed as doomed and somehow less than their heterosexual counterparts. This makes me angry because why does it always have to be funny to be gay? it doesnt!
I think about Modern Family, which is a very popular show. when this show came out I remember thinking to myself, its about time they get up with the times and have a show that doesnt have just a mom, dad and kids. It is not fair to the GLBT community to have all people in tv portrayed as heterosexual married couples. Because heaven forbid a gay couple want a kid.
In all, queer cinema still has a long way to go.

3 Comments

Nods, I am with you. Though, I would say that I believe there is a process visibility and representation has needed to go through in order to develop into something that is positive, empowering and accurate.

What I think is the largest shift in the development of LGBTQ representation in cinema is who the representation is BY, and who the representation is FOR. We are coming from a history that has defined queerness as a deviation from the norm and this is largely because a heterosexist and homophobic majority has generated and consumed discourses on queerness. At present, I believe we are reaching a place where LGBTQ film makers, writers and actors are increasingly finding points of access and the very possibility of creating brilliant works that will be seen and engaged with. The internet has helped, though I would also say that the internet has also helped to destroy some film festivals--such as the Twin Cities International LGBTQ film festival that went bankrupt in 2006, and the Flaming Film Festival (of which I was part) that folded in 2007.

We still have Frameline in San Francisco though!!! =)

I agree with you in that gay men are often times viewed as comedic relief in TV shows and the cinema, and even in modern times with shows like "Will and Grace." I have quite a few gay guy friends and they are all unique in their own way, but I find myself constantly laughing when I'm around them because they're so damn funny. I feel like gay men are under a lot of pressure to be funny and act "fairy-like" because that's how they've been portrayed in the media for over 100 years; and so people respond positively when they make them laugh. I realize now that this is a very harmful expectation to have of gay men, because no one should have to feel like they need to make people laugh in order to be respected or accepted. Everyone should try their best to just be themselves and most people (who have high self-esteem) will accept them for who they are and respect them more for it.

I've only seen Modern Family a couple of times, but I hear a lot about how problematic it is. Everyone was expecting it to be this revolutionary look into the life of real American families that doesn't impose judgement or marginalize anyone. And then it started airing and people in my life were very frustrated at the disappointment. In my understanding, it is simply a semi-politically correct display of all of the stereotypes that have been created through media in the first place. The gay man is flamboyant and ridiculous, the Latina person dresses promiscuously and speaks in a high nasaly voice with stereotypical linguistic patterns, etc. I am curious, since my impression is based solely on others' experiences and the couple shows that I have seen, if anyone has gotten this impression.

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This page contains a single entry by haley065 published on February 6, 2012 7:26 AM.

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