Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Reflection- 11/28 Discussion

During the last class, we discussed the experiences of lesbian women and their representation in the media over time. I found myself thinking about something I've often wondered - which is how the gay rights movement is led (and encompassed) by gay - white, young- men. I've thought about this in terms of language, as words interest me a lot. The fact that the word "gay" has come to define both gays and lesbians (but would lesbian ever work the opposite way?) was always striking to me-- in the same way that people often referred to a mixed group of men/women as "guys" but never as "girls" collectively. Because men are the universal, and the "center," their pronouns and descriptors can be used to define others but never the reverse. (First Question: am I just being really nit-picky or do you guys see something to this? Has this use of terminology bothered anyone?)

Secondly, when thinking about media representations, I realize that most heart-wrenching "coming out" stories generally involve men's experiences, not women's (and let's not even go farther into race/class analysis). A quick google search of gay characters reveals "AE's Top 50 Gay Characters" (all men) but when I search for "AE's Top 50 Lesbian Characters," I am directed to a corrected forum page for "Top 50 Female Characters" and...not much else. If only learning from American media, we don't really know much about homosexuality as experienced by women- any women (besides Ellen DeGeneres).

What do you make of this? 

1 comment:

  1. I have also wondered why the word "lesbian" has only referred to women, but gay could apply to men and women. After doing a little research, I came across the origin of the word, which refers to the Greek island of Lesbos. This is where Sappho, a Greek woman poet lived, but the aspect that was mainly focused on was her confessed love for other women instead of her writing. Further, lesbian relationships were also not considered comparable to male homosexual relationships, due to their lack of privilege. Upon learning all of this, the only conclusion I can draw is that this is just used to further oppress women and keep them separate from men. This "tradition" can be upheld in American media, possibly due to this early history.