GLBT stereotypes being portrayed in the media.

By: Warren Chung

We define Yellowface as a practice of primary white actors / Actresses representing and playing typical stereotype roles of Asian and Asian American characters.  Ono and Pham states that the idea of Yellowface came to the rise during the exclusion-era, where racism policies existed and yellow peril came to form.  Ono and Pham make note of two separate ideas of Yellowface, such that is defined as Implicit and Explicit Yellowface.  Implicit yellowface is/are Asian Americans and Asian actors  and actresses portraying typical Asian stereotypes or giving the authentic Asian looking character.  Examples of these would be Clyde Kusatsu who stared in the TV comedy spot called “All American Girl”.  Clyde Kusatsu a Japanese-American actor, who plays a first generation Korean born father.  Explicit Yellowface is defined as an actor not representing the Asian American and Asian community who dresses up as a character representing the Asian American or Asian community.  An example of this would be Eddie Murphy a Black-American actor dressing up as an Asian Character; in this case it would be Mr. Wong who is exhibits typical Asian and Asian American stereotypes.

The issue with Yellowface is often the misrepresentation of how Asian Americans and Asians are represented in the media.  Ono and Pham make note that the “practice of Yellowface not only reveals Hollywood’s participation in the social surveillance of miscegenation, but it also implies the superiority of white actors…”

The idea of Yellowface has evolved over time not just to particular races, but more specifically sexual orientation.  In this blog I hope to express some concerns with an idea of “Gayface.”  If Yellowface is the media portrayal of other races and ethnicities representing Asians and Asian Americans community, than the idea of “Gayface” is the representation of straight actors /actress playing the role of typical gay stereotypes.  I then also define that “Direct Implicit Gayface” is of a gay actor or actresses representing typical gay stereotype roles in the media.   Typical stereotypes of gay representations are, highly feminine for males, or highly masculine for females, gay community are represented as “typically obsessed” with fashion, are very dramatic, and demanding to be the center of attention.  The issues with these types of stereotypes is not only is this not the misrepresentation of the GLBT community, but what it does to our conceptual mapping especially in dealing with business decisions.  For example: Do we hire this candidate because he or she may not be able to do a job that is defined as more masculine? Or we should hire this candidate because he or she can be seen as a subject matter expert on the topic at hand?  These are some questions that I ask myself as we continue to broadcast these atypical stereotype roles.

I define “Indirect implicit Gayface” as a GLBT actor acting more diverse roles atypical to the stereotype norms.  Actors like Sir Ian Mckellan and Matt Bomber who play characters that are represented as in both gay and straight movies and TV shows.  “Direct explicit Gayface” are actors whose sexual orientation is straight, that plays a GLBT stereotypical roles.  Examples of these are Cameron Tucker in “Modern Family” who is played by Eric Stronestreet or Phillip Morris who is played by Ewan McGreegor in “I love you Phillip Morris.”   “Indirect explicit Gayface” are straight actors playing non-stereotypical roles in the media.  Examples of this would be the character Max Blum played by Adam Pally, in the comedy “Happy Endings.”  His co-actors continuously make reference that he “a straight dude who likes dudes.”  Adam Pally’s character is not represented as a typical gay stereotype, but more stereotypes of a overweight slacker opposing gay stereotypes.

This blog is a critical analysis of how Gay media is presented.  These types of stereotypes that the media is trying to portray to how we view the gay community is to commodify and make visible the gay community is in relation to skin color.  It would seem that media may have potentially have positive effects in the short-run (IE: Building tolerance, acceptance, and awareness), but continuing to perpetuate more stereotypical roles similar to Yellowface can pose as an issue in the long-run to how the GLBT community is seen.

The United States representations of the GLBT community still represent non-recognition stage.  Although more gay media, such as T.V shows, Talk show hosts, bloggers, and actors are becoming more popular (especially since the rise of social media), there are more commonalities that may pose an issue.  For example we use the SCWAMP analysis to determine recent 2013 media that has gay representation or gay themed.

SCWAMP

Modern Family

Glee

Happy Endings

Ellen

New Normal

Straight

X

X

X

X

X

Christian

X

X

X

X

White

X

X

X

X

X

Able Bodies

X

X

X

X

X

Male

X

X

X

X

Property Owners

X

X

x

X

X

The chart above represents how SCWAMP shows similarities in each Gay themed or gay represented actors still fall into this category.  We see your dominant typical similarities, such as, white, male, able bodied, middle class, Christian themed, highly sexualized, and highly stereotypical characters, as well as catering to more the straight community. What we don’t in more recent shows and movies are focusing on racially and ethnically diverse GLBT characters. In addition we do not see more representation of women playing roles of same-sex characters, and almost a symbolic annihilation within the transgendered community.

Although I believe in the USA, we are slowly moving to the idea of having more diversity in our media, specifically within the GLBT community, I can’t help but feel we are still feeding into and perpetuating stereotypes that will be detrimental, dehumanizing, and damaging in the future for this community.  I end with an edited version of Ono and Pham “If the media knows best how to play Gay community authentically, as the logic of “gayface” goes then the GLBT community must be tutored to learn what they do not know about their own authenticity.”

newgaystereotype

Advertisements

One thought on “GLBT stereotypes being portrayed in the media.

  1. Wow! This is such a well-developed blog post–your analysis of the limited diversity in LGBT representations, coupled with the analysis of privilege, is compelling. Do you think the means of production are still controlled by primarily white men, which leads to this lack of diversity (even when portraying diverse sexual identities)?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s