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Media Representations of Homosexuality Class: WISE 2P90 Date: November 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Media Representations of Homosexuality Class: WISE 2P90 Date: November 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Media Representations of Homosexuality Class: WISE 2P90 Date: November 2010

2 Research Study: Media and Perception  Media is highly influential on the development & perpetuation of prejudices and stereotypes  Stereotype – generalizations about a group whereby characteristics are attributed  vq=medium#t=50 vq=medium#t=50  Prejudice – passing judgment without basis (fact)

3 Contact Hypothesis  Prejudices can be reduced through interpersonal contact between minority and majority groups (Allport, 1954)  This has been identified as one of the most successful strategies in reducing anti-gay stereotypes (Schiappa, Gregg, & Hews, 2006)  The absence of experience contributes to the formulation of prejudice

4 Parasocial Contact Hypothesis  Ability of the mass media (i.e., movies, radio, television etc.) to create the illusion of a face-to- face connection with the actors/actresses (Horton & Wahl, 1956)  Viewers form attitudes and beliefs about the characters they are watching the same they would if they were experiencing an interpersonal interaction  HOW? Schiappa et al. (2006)

5 Parasocial Contact Hypothesis Continued…..  Researchers suggest that the human brain processes media experiences in the same manner as interpersonal interactions  Media provides viewers with the opportunity to experience relationships with performers that may otherwise not happen in reality Schiappa et al. (2006)

6 Correlation Study  245 undergraduate university students  74 item survey to determine: 1.Current perception of gay/lesbian individuals a)Eg., “Female homosexuality is a sin” 2.Viewing frequency of Will & Grace 3.Level of social contact with non-heterosexual individuals 4.7-point Likert scale used to establish global measure of perception of Will & Grace characters

7  Positive correlation between viewing frequency and parasocial interaction measures for the homosexual characters  ‘Negative correlations between Attitude Toward Gay Men’ measures and homosexual acquaintances  Negative correlations between parasocial interaction measures and level of prejudice  Negative correlation between viewing frequency and prejudice levels  60% of participants agreed to the statement “The show has encouraged me to think positively about homosexuals.”  WfkU&vq=large#t=16 WfkU&vq=large#t=16 Schiappa et al. (2006) Findings

8 Conclusion  The absence of experience contributes to the formulation of prejudice

9 Descriptive Research: Media and Homosexual Representation  22 television shows were studies to determine: 1.The frequency of homosexuality 2.The demographics of the homosexuals if presented in the show 3.The frequency homosexuals reference their sexual orientation 4.Each show was studied once and coded for the above variables Fouts & Inch, (2005)

10 Findings  22 independent television shows:  125 characters in total yet, only 2% (3) were homosexual and male (0 female homosexuals)  Statistics show that 10-13% of adolescents are homosexual in North America  Out of the 2% that were homosexuals, 0 were adolescents (20 – 35)  Homosexual characters made several references to their sexual orientation compared to heterosexuals  This just maintains & perpetuates the stereotypes of homosexuality (they are promiscuous) Fouts & Inch, (2005)

11 Implications  Homosexuality is underrepresented in the media  There are no homosexual adolescents in television therefore:  There are NO PEER ROLE MODELS for the teenagers  Television is the number one preference for media exposure  Therefore, it is one of the main socializing institutions  Average child watches TV 1023 hrs/annually  > 4hrs daily leads to development of gender and racial stereotypes (Gavin, 2005)  Media is perpetuating homosexual stereotypes and prejudices

12 Support Services for Homosexuality  With no representation for homosexual adolescents:  Marginalization and oppression are maintained  Homosexuality is made out to be subordinate to heterosexuality  Depression, low self-esteem, bullying, suicide etc. are functions of marginalization and oppression  Rainbow Youth Niagara  3340 Schmon Parkway, Thorold, ON  (905) 380-4576   Brock Pride 


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