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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 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. Sexual content connected with nonheterosexuals ended up being present in about 15% of programs overall; but, rates of event within episodes had been low. Of 14 genres, just films and variety/comedy shows had significant percentages of programs that included nonheterosexual content. Programs on commercial broadcast systems had been less inclined to have content that is nonheterosexual those on cable companies, especially those on premium cable movie sites. Implications of this lack that is continued of to intimate minorities are talked about both for heterosexual and nonheterosexual watchers.


Intimate content of programming on US tv changed significantly because the medium was initially devised a lot more than 50 years back. At its inception, tv hardly ever presented intimate themes, and through the very early years of tv, subjects such as for instance maternity, contraception, as well as other aspects of figures’ sex had been considered too responsive to be portrayed or talked about in shows. One theme which has been specially ignored could be the depiction of intimate dilemmas associated with homosexual, lesbian, and bisexual people. Inspite of the lifting of some longstanding taboos during the last several decades, tv development was called heterosexual” that is“compulsoryWolf & Kielwasser, 1991), and depictions of this intimate problems related to nonheterosexuals 1 may stay reasonably uncommon (Brown, 2002).

Minimal quantitative studies have been carried out to document homosexual dilemmas and characters on tv. Presently, the majority of just exactly what happens to be posted about tv and its own portrayals of intimate minority themes and figures originates from qualitative writings. The objective of this paper is always to provide quantitative information on intimate behavior and talk that is sexual to nonheterosexuals over the 2001 2002 and 2002 2003 television periods. The findings out of this research offer empirical data concerning the prevalence of nonheterosexual intimate content across a broad selection of tv development, plus the regularity of these sexual content if it is presented.

Before 1970, very little gay figures might be available on tv, and their general lack through the display proceeded until 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 growth compared to days gone by, they truly are nevertheless quite little weighed against the number that is overall of showing up on tv programs broadcast each period.

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

Although tv was criticized for maybe maybe maybe not supplying good part models for adolescents for instance, abstinence among teenagers is hardly ever portrayed in an optimistic light (Committee on Communications, 1995) having less good part models on tv is much more extreme for homosexual, lesbian, and bisexual youth (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992).

Many lesbians and homosexual males mature in a right community with few homosexual part models; hence, they’re especially susceptible to the portrayals of homosexual individuals within the advertising (Fejes & Petrich, 1993; Ryan & Futterman, 1998). Yet, sexual minorities tend to be ignored by the conventional media and addressed as though they don’t occur. This exclusion is posited to play a role in maintaining intimate minorities hidden and without power, an ongoing process which Gross relates to as “symbolic annihilation” (Gross, 1991; Gerbner & Gross, 1976). Portrayals of homosexual individuals of all ages have already been uncommon and sometimes 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 exclusively heterosexual environment, with only occasional brief appearances by adolescent figures who will be confused about their sex (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992). This is really important because homosexual adolescents usually cannot get information strongly related their orientation that is sexual from and family members and could utilize tv as being a supply of data about gay problems (Paroski, 1987). The tiny amount of homosexual figures on tv, and also smaller number of adolescent homosexual characters, is proposed to donate to a sense of isolation among nonheterosexual youth (Kielwasser & Wolf, 1992).