Thursday, November 23, 2006

Name that Stereotype!

I regret to inform you of a disturbing addition to the mind-numbing abyss of reality and game shows on television. This one is from Lifetime (television for women) and is called "Gay, Straight or Taken." I first read about this over at Joe.My.God who is often the first to raise red flags about this sort of thing.

From what I can tell from the descriptions I've read online, in "Gay, Straight or Taken" a "bachelorette" will go on a date with three men (one straight, one gay and one taken) and based on her instincts from being raised in a homophobic society the bachelorette will reveal who she believes to the gay, straight or taken men. If she guesses correctly she and the straight man will win an all expenses paid weekend of meaningless sex at some exotic locale. If she guesses incorrectly, the straight and/or gay man will win a weekend away with his significant other.

In its quest for ratings-grabbing, lowest common denominator entertainment, Lifetime will do its best to further stereotypes so that we all may continue to label people who are different from us thus, insuring division and fear in our society, an American tradition we hold dear. Oh sure, Lifetime will undoubtedly try to fool our crafty bachelorette from time to time by throwing in a few "straight-acting" gay men who will be probably be screened for their ability to dress badly and burp and fart in public.

Sadly, Lifetime probably thinks they are doing the gay community some kind of service by proving to middle America that "gay people are just like us." Well, here's a newsflash, Lifetime: we're not just like you. We're different. We come in all walks of life, all colors, shapes, sizes, religions and professions. We are a culture of extremes from the very flamboyant to the hyper-masculine--polar opposites we are driven to from living in a repressed society. Rather than parading gay men on television who fit some restrictive, stereotypical ideal sex role of Western masculinity we should be celebrated for our diversity. The more America is exposed to that the sooner they will get past it and start accepting us for who we are so that we may all get on with our lives.

I'm sure you can all draw your own conclusions as to just how toxic and damaging this kind of show can be, so I suggest you all tell Lifetime just how you feel simply by clicking here.

Next season from lifetime: "Black, White or Racist" in which a black and a white telemarketer will call contestants at home who then must guess which caller is black and which is white based on the caller's accent and education level. If they guess correctly, contestants win a trip to a Ku Klux Klan convention.

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At 12:06 PM, Blogger Joshua said...

Yeah and next after the racist one will be, "Guess what religion I am?" With questions like, "I make it a habit to pick and choose which verses of God's Word are upheld and enforced" or "I've slaughtered millions in an attempt to spread the Word of God"

Great post Mike

At 9:21 AM, Blogger Dave said...

On the other hand, maybe this is just a phase we need to suffer through to get to the good stuff, much like the black community had to do in the 1970s. Without early stereotype-heavy shows like Good Times and Sanford and Son to pave the way, we might never have thoughtful and enlightened programming, like, say, um... Martin. Or, uh... The Chapelle Show.

Yeah. We're pretty screwed.

At 11:08 AM, Blogger judy said...

Excuse me, but it's not just a phase; it's real life, full time exploitation. And the gay man who participates should win 10 therapy sessions.

At 12:24 AM, Blogger kevin said...

Hi Michael,
We get that show over here on New Zealand Television. It seems a bit f**ked if you ask me. If the girl ends up choosing the gay guy viewers will perceive the game as being lost and the gay guy as the baddy.

All in all it sets the stereo type and sends the message that gay is bad. That might not be the intention of the TV company but that is the underlying message.

Have a good day in New York.
Kevin in New Zealand.

At 7:14 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Kevin, you make an excellent point. That hadn't occured to me, but you're right. This is an even more dangerous stereotype to enforce than ones about how someone talks, acts or dresses.


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