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Pick a subculture(Youth, Sexuality, Age). How are these groups represented in the media?Why is this the case?

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Introduction

Pick a subculture(Youth, Sexuality, Age). How are these groups represented in the media?Why is this the case? This essay will highlight the representation of sexuality in society. The media codes of stereotyping will be discussed with reference to generic television formats and the national print media's representation of gay and lesbian groups. The media cannot present the world to us, despite their assertions of truth, reality and verisimilitude. They offer us selected views on our world (M.Jones 1999). The media communicate with their audience with signs and symbols through the process of representation. Representation is the process in which meaning is derived from stimulus denoted by the media. The connotative messages can be varied and polysemic. Representation is a construction of reality, not a mirror image. The media has the power through selection and reinforcement to give portrayals of groups and subcultures in society. The question is whether these reflections are true of the subculture in question. . "A major fact about being gay is that it doesn't show...there are signs of gayness, a repertoire of gestures, stories, clothing these are cultural.... it does not show that he or she is gay." (R.Dyer 1993 p.19) This comment by Richard Dyer implies that the sexuality is a invisible form. Unlike the identities of ethnicity and gender which are visually specific. Dyer argues that the representation of sexuality is a social construct. Ideologies of what it is to be 'gay', uses signifiers such as, accent and posture these are constructed culturally and historically . ...read more.

Middle

These characters were involved in the narrative constantly, their storylines had some interesting twists. There appearance was of elegance, glamour and individualism. This gave a positive image of lesbians breaking the boundaries of typology of the 'butch feminist' or 'dyke', cited by Dyer. However, there storylines still centred on the sexuality issue( A.Briggs etal ). In January 1994 the radical channel 4 featured a plot concerning the character Beth Jordache and her lesbian lifestyle. 'The lipstick snog ' as it is sometimes known, gained wide media attention . Beth Jordache was a main character, she was pivotal in the 'body under the patio' storyline, she represented other themes apart from the stereotypical sexuality role. Now a iconic figure among the gay community, her will power and determination, gave lesbians a person they could positively identify with. Brooksides innovation spoke directly to the gay audience, and not the dominant ideology in society, as executive producer Mal young remarked . "Brooksides not about making people feel comfortable."(www.nickihastie) However, it is interesting to note that Beth and Margarets' kiss was not transmitted on the Saturday afternoon omnibus, due to the family audience. This again strengthens the taboo of sexuality in the media . (www.nickihastie). A interesting point by a respondent on research of sexuality representation in television remarked. "I am fed up with homosexuals being on t.v. to address the issue of homosexuality, doctors are their because they have a doctor in the story"(Sexuality and Broadcasting 1992).This reiterates the point of sexuality not being normalized in society. ...read more.

Conclusion

The newspapers manned the 'moral barricades' As Digby Anderson remonstrated in The Times. "Homosexuality, relativism moral standards, male homosexuality is not only tolerated but regarded as just as normal as heterosexuality."(T.O' Sullivan etal 1997) The AIDS epidemic was a catalyst to fuel homophobia in the media. The media targeted white heterosexuals, there is very little room for minorities in a homogenised public appeal. AIDS and homosexuality was a threat to social cohesion. As a group outside social norms and values the gay population were an easy target. The press represented a negative image of AIDS, and consequently the explicitness of images and language in the tabloids effected the 'labelling' and stereotypes of homosexuals (A.Briggs etal 2001). A key feature of moral panic is its rapid and fleeting nature. However, the press media's representation of AIDS has had sustaining effect on the publics image of sexuality. Sexuality representation in the media has brought positive and negative factors. The involvement of lesbians and gays on popular television genres. Has made society aware of issues and diversified perspectives on homosexuality. However this can be seen as a negative, the stereotypical roles, issues and characterisation can be damaging to our understanding of what it is to be gay. The print media have mostly given a homophobic view, as shown by the AIDS epidemic, or no view at all. This is, mainly due to the white middle class heterosexual demographics of the news companies owners and editors. This representation is damaging as we can be sceptical of homosexuality without prior knowledge, all too often there is a taboo surrounding homosexuality that the print media endorse. ...read more.

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