My name is Emma. This is my feminism.

1 Girl 5 Gays

on April 18, 2012

I think this show is awesome and so important.  I am definitely pro-gay (or whatever the opposite of homophobic is), but I don’t happen to have any gay friends… or actually really know any gay people (that I know of).  So, unfortunately, when I see a gay couple in public somewhere, or even on TV, it is still very remarkable to me.  I definitely notice it more than I would a straight couple.  So, if even I automatically recognize it as something different from the norm, it kind of make sense that some people get to be so homophobic.

I clearly remember an instance in middle school where some kids were called a girl a lesbian.  I told my older sister about it after school, and I said ‘ew’ to the fact that she was supposedly gay.  Her reaction completely gave me the guidance I needed.  All she said was, “Emma!” and then I knew that we were not homophobes.  All I needed was someone to tell me that.  Without a non-homophobic model, I adopted the attitude of this very homophobic culture.

So for people who never had any guidance in tolerance – or worse, whose parents are actively anti-gay – homophobia is an understandable default.  I would never defend homophobic actions or speech, but I do think it’s extremely important to look at the culture that continues to produce these attitudes, and then try to change that culture in order to fix this problem.

And that is exactly what 1G5G does.  It shows many different gay men each week sharing their opinions on a variety of different issues.  Just having a show that exposes people to what gay people are really like is huge.  Some of these guys fit the ‘gay man’ stereotype, but most don’t.  Some are hilarious, some are sweet, some are assholes… it’s almost like their real people!  This is such an important message because if you don’t know gay people, it’s too easy to assume that they are all the same.  I think it’s just as important to see gay men that you hate as it is to see gay men that you love.  Because even if your view of what a gay man is is a positive one, you still can’t just lump them all together into one person.  (I was joking before… they actually are real people.)

My one critique is that I wish there were more lesbian shows.  I read an article a long time ago (that I just searched for online and couldn’t find) that talked about the lack of lesbians in mainstream media.  Usually, when shows include homosexuality, they include gay men.  I feel like in some ways there’s almost less stigma for gay men.  There’s stigma and stereotypes about any ‘deviant’ sexuality, but  the stereotypes about gay men are usually that they are funny, sarcastic, flamboyant, and a friend any girl should want.  Then when you look at lesbian stereotypes, they’re either making out for men’s pleasure, or (if they’re actually gay), they’re butch and bitchy and ugly and scary.  No stereotype is productive, but I think I’d rather be seen as funny than scary. 

So I think breaking down stereotypes about lesbians is just as important as breaking down stereotypes about gay men.  I loved the lesbian episodes, and I wish they were a regular part of the show.  Lesbians definitely need to be seen as entire people as well, not just as fetishized objects or scary bitches. 

(When I think about it, my three favourite shows actually all feature very prominent lesbian characters: Grey’s Anatomy, Buffy, and Glee.)


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