Heteronormativity in the media is the reason for the grouping of these three articles in this particular blog entry. My last entry focused on heteronormativity in schools, but I feel that how the topic affects mediated programs and situations deserves some queering of its own. Mediated support for heteronormativity is an example of institutionalized discrimination, which is something that cannot be tolerated. As a future media professional, I take these kinds of lessons to heart. I chose this specific subset to study because I'm interested in making a change.
The Cult of Heteronormativity
by: "J" on Imagine Today
This article is really helpful in the way of providing information about how heteronormativity is not only present in the media, but it is comparable to the experiences of African Americans and other "people of color" in the media. The author details how it is not simply the absence of homosexual characters on TV shows that is harmful and heteronormative, but it is the stereotypical roles which these characters play which can be especially troubling.
"This issue extends far beyond the media, however; it seeps into our daily lives, be it conciously or subconsciously. By adopting a heternormative outlook on life we cast a whole group of people into the category of "other" which is deeply upsetting and highly problematic.
The author leads into how it creates larger problems for society, and later into ways which this problem can be combated in main stream media. It was interesting to read this, especially because the author identifies and a white, heterosexual female.
The article leads to this article in the Huffington Post for further information.
I found this source in a google search, because I'm a college student and I'm addicted to google. I probably would be lost like a little puppy without it. But, nevertheless I googled "heteronormativity in the media" and there it was!
J. "The Cult of Heteronormativity « Imagine Today." Imagine Today. Web. 17 Nov. 2010.
A Lesbian in the Punditry
Hey, PS i found it on the U of M library searching deal, you will need to sign in with your x500. More detailed citation info to follow.
By: Jennifer Reed
This article praises Rachel Maddow for being a popular and powerful media presence while being a publicly "out" lesbian. Reed praises Maddow for being a voice for homosexuals in news media, and actively combating heteronormativity on television. "Maddow is part of a new generation of public lesbians for whom there is no apology, no underplaying, no dodging the question. As a representative of this new subject position in American popular culture, the persona of Rachel Maddow is, while not postgay, exemplary of a new public lesbian, and of the complex renegotiation of meanings that goes with it."
However, the author also reminds us that while Maddow has made some great advances, she is still forced to dress in what the author describes as "female drag" in order to be a publicly acceptable lesbian, while this is not how she prefers to dress. The author touches on the issue of how one thing can change, having a lesbian on tv in a powerful position, yet some things don't, like how she is forced to dress a certain way and look a certain way to be deemed respectable.
"Her television appearances, first as a guest commentator on MSNBC, and then on her own show, saw her put on drag as a woman in the look she continues to this day on her television show. It is a look that she herself makes fun of--saying in one interview that she has to be made up to look like an "assistant principal" to appear on television. Comments like that, combined with the fact that when she makes other public appearances (not hosting The Rachel Maddow Show) she looks like her butch lesbian self, create an important distance from the homonormative image that looks exactly like the effort to cover up the lesbian that it is."
It is an interesting critique on how successes can be shallow victories and really moving at the same time.
I found this source on a U of M library search for articles about Heteronormativity in the Media. It's the place to go for scholarly research :)
Reed, Jennifer 'A Lesbian in the Punditry', Journal of Lesbian Studies, 14:1, 108 - 118
The Subversion of Heteronormative Assumptions in HBO's The Wire
By: Hillary Robbie
Robbie outlines how "The Wire" makes significant progress in the homosexual relationships between African Americans in how they are depicted in the media. She talks about Omar, a kind of "gangster Robin Hood" and how he is extremely masculine, and really badass, and gay. He challenges the dominant homosexual male stereotype and the dominant African American male stereotype by being a strong masculine man who maintains monogamous relationships throughout the show.
"While the black gay man seems recently to have become a key figure of crisis that, at present, threaten the very foundations of institutionalized culture in the United States, this should not be taken to mean that his representations have not functioned to buttress (often specifically by challenging) normative conceptions of race, sexuality, and gender identity since at least the Black Power era of the late 1960s."
She also comments on how the lesbian relationship between two African American women challenge the oversexualized images of African American women in the media. They also are not portrayed as some kind of voyeuristic pleasure for the audience but as a genuine relationship and how it unfolds between two lovers.
I found this source on a google search, of course. Oh how I love the blog-o-sphere. Something I've learned in this class. :)
Robbie, Hillary. "The Subversion of Heteronormative Assumptions in HBO's The Wire | Darkmatter Journal." Home | Darkmatter Journal. Web. 17 Nov. 2010.