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I am going to examine how mass media representations of homosexuality have changed over time whilst looking closely at the text 'Will and Grace'. After the termination of the ABC sitcom, 'Ellen', it didn't seem like there was

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Introduction

How has representation of homosexuality changed in the media looking closely at the text 'will and grace'? I am going to examine how mass media representations of homosexuality have changed over time whilst looking closely at the text 'Will and Grace'. After the termination of the ABC sitcom, 'Ellen', it didn't seem like there was going to be any show with gay characters as their lead cast, so it came as a shock when NBC's new show, 'Will and Grace' premiered. The show was co-created by David Kohan and Max Muchtnick and it premiered on Monday, September 21 1998 at 9.30pm. It featured Grace Adler (Debra Messing) as a strong willed, slightly neurotic interior decorator who lives with her best friend, Will Truman (Erick McCormack), a handsome gay lawyer in their New York apartment. The show is mostly about the trails and tribulations they face in their lives, both personal and professional. In their personal lives are their two best friends gay, narcissistic, immature, silly, effeminate and extremely insulting Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes) and Karen Walker, a rich spoilt, shallow socialite. The show's huge success led to it being nominated for an award and led to the entire cast being nominated for two Emmy's and two of the cast winning it. It was so successful it was moved up to NBC's most coveted spot at 8.00pm on Thursdays, a place formerly occupied by 'Frasier' and 'Seinfeild'. The show differs from others in its field in the sense it represents homosexuality as it is commonly seen but at the same time a completely new fa´┐Żade is created. The most obvious uncommon convention is the fact that it features two gay men as lead characters. The two of them 'Are foils representing diversity within gay masculinity, a diversity which argues for and against gender stereotypes about gay men' (Queer (UN) Friendly Film and Television, James R. ...read more.

Middle

In this new genre, the gay men are seen to live with these straight women and they even act like normal heterosexual couples, In lots of cases they are even mistaken for a couple. This new genre has attracted a diverse range of audiences all across. The audience range from the teens who are more tolerant to the idea of same sex relationships to the older and more mature audiences who even though are already set in their viewing habits, does not offend their sensibilities. In order to study representation successfully we have to first examine the historical and cultural reason behind why it is this way. In the 1800's and early 1900's sex researchers did studies on a subject that was rarely ever discussed; homosexuality. One of the sex researchers, Richard von Kraft-Ebbing determined that 'All non-procreative sex was a perversion. He claimed that women who had sexual feeling for other women were men trapped in women's bodies' (Decades of Denial: Hollywood's Portrayal of Lesbianism. 1930-1970, Alison A. Grounds) and he classified them as 'sexual inverts' whose behaviour was considered abnormal and perverted. These sexologists continued to spew theories that discredited homosexuality and deemed them monsters. The term homosexuality soon became synonymous with monsters and anything that was considered bad or evil. By the end of World War 1, almost all Americans were aware of work by the most famous sexologist, Sigmund Freud, he stated that 'Homosexuality was a sign of arrest in psychosexual development but did not necessarily need to be cured' (Decades of Denial: Hollywood's Portrayal of Lesbianism. 1930-1970, Alison A. Grounds). Post-Freudian psychologist concluded that homosexuality was a pathological flight from normal heterosexual relationships. Other psychologists named it a disorder and it was officially registered as a disease. During this time, people increasingly turned to Hollywood top provide them with an escape mean to the great depression and the turbulence in their everyday life. ...read more.

Conclusion

friendship with Will who wears a wig and a dress', here they use referral to women as an insult to one another. I believe even though gay stereotypes have improved drastically over the years, there is still room for more improvement. The odd usual gay stereotype still pops up occasionally in 'Will and Grace'. The 115th episode featured Beverly Leslie, a 'close' friend of Karen walker. His character is effeminised in every possible way. His clothing consists of pink tank tops with tight little trousers. When they go to play tennis at the country club, he wears a white shirt with matching white shorts that he keeps pulling up. The camera angle on him is usually high angle to emphasise how small he is. He is married to a woman who is the breadwinner of the family. We do not really see him, but when we do, it is either at gay functions or in the salon. The first time we meet him is in the salon, where he is getting his nails done. His character is the very epitome of gay stereotypes the industry should try to avoid. The one that defines them by a set of standard rule that is quite inflexible. If the stereotypes change then the conceptions behind gay people will also change and perpetuate more positive portrayals of them in mainstream Hollywood. The portrayal of Will and Jack is a huge step up from the usual representations, Even though being gay has been put as a main aspect of their lives, the entire storyline does not revolve around it. They are portrayed as having normal lives like straight people, they are not made out to be evil or malicious, and rather they are kind and good people. Jack's character has been made more palatable to the audience by making him and Will out to be a kind of surrogate heterosexual couple. It seems in this way NBC and other American audience are willing to tolerate homosexuality on mainstream television. ...read more.

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