Monday, April 7, 2014

Talking Points #6 on Queer Youth: Extended Comments/Free Write/Connections

In our Queer Youth Readings for this week, Canada's Centre For Digital and Media Literacy brought up key questions to keep in mind while observing media representations of Queer Youth. These questions were:
1. Who created this media text? What is its purpose?
2. Whose voices and interested are  being represented?
3. What do the images and narratives being deployed say about queer people?
4. If the representations in question utilize humor, are queer people in on the joke or are they the joke?

In Jacki's blog post for this week, Jacki covers three main points gathered from these readings:

1. Queer representation has been assimilated into an image that only represents and appeals to a heteronormative, white, middle-class society by only presenting the queer community as white, middle class gay men, and leaving out a large chunk of the LGBTQ community- which can be just as harmful as no representation at all.

2. Queer representation is all about money! Companies use the presenting of queer folk to their own personal interests as a marketing tool, with usually no actual interest in queer issues.

3. Companies seek more money by jumping on the wagon of civil rights and using "queer agenda" support as a way to "buy" the queer folk business.

These last two points are very connected to our James Gilbert reading "Cycle of Outrage", which discussed the sudden use of teenagers as a marketing tool at the end of the 1950's when they began to dominate pop culture and changing fads. As teens began to be major consumers, businesses not only targeted teens, but also shifted their products so they attracted teens. Media images and pop culture soon began to not only reflect teens but impact them as well- shifting ideology.
This reading on Queer Representation in the media specifically touched upon ideology and said that to better understand the hidden ideological messages and meaning behind media representations of queer people, the questions listed above were the ones we needed to ask. This obviously very directly connected David Croteau's piece "Media and Ideology", because Croteau also discusses that media constructs a reality presented to an audience that then interprets and imitates these images to construct a new ideology.
I feel that both of these readings offer knowledge that give insight into how businesses are doing exactly what they did with teens in the 1950's by both trying to appeal to a queer audience and also by marketing towards them. This is shifting the ideology surrounding queer culture just as media affected (and still affects) teen culture. This makes me wonder what kind of representations society will have of queer folk 50 years from now...what do you think?

On a side note, here is a good blog that offers children books with positive representation of the LGBTQ community. My mom read Anna Day and the O-Ring to me growing up, and it was wonderful because the plot had nothing to do directly with the lesbian parents presented in the book.

If all books were more like these, I wonder what the "secret education" given to children would be then!

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