Gender Nonconformity in the Media

Sexual NonConformity in the Media reflects the social acceptance over time. As homosexuality and nonconforming roles are shown more frequently in TV, Magazines, Books, etc, the general public view has become more posiive


John DeLamater points out that based on the Davenport study of 1977 “the potential for sexual behavior is provided by human biology, cross-cultural research has made it clear that sociocultural factors determine how that potential is expressed. Thus, Each society constrains ‘ the age, gender, legal, and kin relationships between sexual actors, as well as setting limits on the sites of behavior and the connections between organs.”

Times have Changed
From 1972 to 1991, based on the General Social Survey 70 percent of the US adult population thought homosexuality was a cancer to Western Society – viewing it as “a sin, a disease, or an aberration.” (Laumann, 284) Yet over the past 25 years homosexuality has become increasingly legitimate in the public eye due the growing political movement of LGBT community.

In a study done about trends in homosexuality and prostitution view in society (World Values Survey of March 2010), Will Wilkinson notes that society has become more liberal and permissive. He adds that "In the space of about 25 years, the proportion of the population in all these countries saying homosexuality is never justifiable drops precipitously."
There is a strong correlation between what is portrayed in the media and how many nonconforming beliefs have changed. Wilkinson points out that "there has been an ongoing, effectively carried-out campaign to de-stigmatize/normalize homosexuality," signifying that as efforts are becoming increasingly successful over time.

The Negative Side

Technology although it has advanced the acceptance of nonconforming behavior, not all aspects of society view these behaviors as a social norm. Based on the video above, which discuss a teen age boy intending on blackmailing 30 or so fellow peers after asking them to send him naked pictures of themselves.

The Brighter Side

"When the National Broadcasting Company first began to air Will & Grace in 1998, gay rights advocates and media critics applauded the program for its positive portrayal of two gay men with very different personalities (Battles & Hilton-Morrow, 2002, pp. 87-89). The show features four main characters living in Manhattan. The title characters are Will Truman, a gay attorney, and his best friend Grace Adler, a heterosexual interior decorator. They are often joined by Jack McFarland,a “flamboyantly gay, continually unemployed, self-described actor/dancer/ choreographer,” and Karen Walker, a wealthy, married “socialite and alcoholic” who works for Grace (Battles & Hilton- Morrow, 2002, p. 88). The show has been very successful and has won critical praise and numerous awards. By spring 2001, Will & Grace was being watched by an average of 17.3 million viewers each week (Cagle, 2002); in 2002, the series entered syndication and now can be viewed daily in most media markets." (Schiappa, 1)

Black is In
The trend of nonconfomity in the media has particularly changed as a result of celebrity images. Looking at artists such as Adam Lambert and uncanny, pop sensation Lady Gaga, We can see that the success of popular artists translates to how we view those who try to emulate them.
"The Gaga Effect"

"Gay in Hip-Hop"
"If rap was sex, I'll be GAY"

Known as being the most anti-gay culture in the music industry, Hip-hop has slowly began to accept the changes that are occurring in society. There are parallels being drawn to discrimination of blacks in America, which is a main motivation in the rise of hip-hop in America.

Rockin' Skinny Jeans

The Jerkin' movement is another example of how hip-hop has evolved from a anti-homo, masculine form of art to a more opened minded approach. Going from dark colored baggy jeans and air force ones to "bubble gum" vans and checkered skinny jeans, the apparel and image of the newer generation of hip-hop is synonymous for reflecting how times have changed.

"All About Masturbation." Sexual Health Centre Saskatoon. 8 Dec. 2008. 29 Jun. 2011. .

Bering, J.. (2010, Sep. 15). Is your child a "prehomosexual"? Forecasting adult sexual orientation. Scientific American Bering in Mind Retrieved Jun. 11, 2011, from

Braun-Courville, Debra K., Rojas, Mary. (2009). Exposure to sexually explicit web sites and adolescent sexual attitudes and behaviors. Journal of Adolescent Health, Vol 45(2), Aug 2009, 156-162.

Bronstein, S.. (2011, Jun. 10). Therapy to change 'feminine' boy created a troubled man, family says. CNN U.S. AC360 Retrieved Jun. 9, 2011, from

Burton, David L., Leibowitz, George Stuart, et al. (2011). Comparison by crime type of juvenile delinquents on pornography exposure: The absence of relationships between exposure to pornography and sexual offense characteristics. Journal of Forensic Nursing, Vol 7(1), Mar 2011, 54.

DeLamater, J.. (1981,). The Social Control of Sexuality. Annual Review of Sociology 7 263-290. Retrieved Jun. 20, 2011, from

Gutiérrez, Ramón A. (2011). Afterward: Virtual Sex Ed. Sexuality Research & Social Policy: A Journal of the NSRC, Vol 8(1), Mar 2011, 73-76.

LauLaumann, Edward O. he social organization of sexuality: sexual practices in the United States. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2000. Google Books. 19 Jun. 2008 .

Jones, Rachel K., Biddlecom, Ann E. (2011). The more things change…: The relative importance of the internet as a source of contraceptive information for teens. Sexuality Research & Social Policy: A Journal of the NSRC, Vol 8(1), Mar 2011, 27-37.

Mercer, C. (1992), 'Regular Imaginings: The Newspaper and the Nation’ in Celebrating the Nation: A Critical Study of Australia's Bicentenary, Bennett, T. et al (eds), Sydney: Allen & Unwin.

Moylan, B.. (2010, Feb. 16). A Handy Guide to All Gay Men. Gawker Field Guides Retrieved Jun. 10, 2011, from

Pascoe, C.J. (2011). Resource and risk: Youth sexuality and new media use. Sexuality Research & Social Policy: A Journal of the NSRC, Vol 8(1), Mar 2011, 5-17.

Reiger, G.. (2008, Jan. 1 ). In Sexual orientation and childhood gender nonconformity: evidence from home videos.. Retrieved Jun. 12, 2011, from

Sarbin, T. R. (1988, Dec. 8 ). In Nonconforming Sexual Orientation in the Military and Society. (chap. The Social construction of Sexual Deviance) Retrieved Month. Day, Year, from

Schiappa, Edward. "Can One TV Show Make a Difference? Will & Grace and the Parasocial Contact Hypothesis." Diss. Journal of Homosexuality, 2005.

Wilkinson, W.. (2010, Mar. 27). For Your Conjectural Pleasure. Retrieved Jun. 25, 2011, from

No comments:

Post a Comment