#Representation

20-redmugs01One of the things Andrew Gurza discusses frequently on his Disability After Dark podcast is ‘representation’ – not only in media, sitcoms & the like, but across the board in all events. It’s only been in the past few years that disabled actors get cast as characters whose disability matches theirs. This is akin to casting Asians as characters that were originally Asian.

20-redfender04Stratford can get away with colour-blind casting but I doubt if we’ll ever see Tom Hanks star in the Louis Armstrong Story. If Mr. Moto or Fu Manchu ever get revived I’m sure actual Asians will be cast in the lead. But I digress :-). Andrew zeros in on the lack of diversity in main-stream gay porn: I say ‘main-stream’ as there are fetish niches that thrive thanks to the WWW.

I’ve blogged about this before – there were no openly queer men or women on TV when I was growing up. I found out much later about Raymond Burr, Tab Hunter, Troy Donahue. In literature homosexuality could only be used as a plot device not as character development – unless their queerness was relevant to the plot it was not to be mentioned; unlike hetero characters who could have girlfriends who weren’t relevant. There was no such thing as a causal gay character.

20-redtoys03This has changed a little. But it still seems every gay or bi or other sexuality character must have a back story explaining this – straight characters rarely require that much context.

The one TV show that dared to have a tres gay character was the now classic British sit-com: Are You Being Served? Mr Humphrey’s is the icon-o-classic mincer with the sharp line. Not exactly role model material.

It was up to reality TV to normalize gay men, in particular Project Runway – it never shied away from sexuality – the ‘private’ lives of all the designers were open books to the viewers. The same can be said of Top Chef. On both I’ve seen men (& sometimes women) who make great role models – a bit late for me mind you, but they are positive active and fun examples of what queer can be. Top Model has had trans, lesbian & gay male competitors too. The one thing reality TV does is actually reflect the diversity of reality, unlike most other show.

20-redme02I’ve watched some recent TV mini-series: Falling Water, Candle Cove: guess what – bad stuff only happens to straight people – these are worlds in which there are absolutely no queers. Much like The Martian: in which it appears only heterosexuals get sent to outer space or even work in the space program.

So the representation Andrew seeks is even scarcer. No #bearinachair in space. In fact I haven’t seen mobility challenged contestants on the reality shows I do watch. Don’t people with walkers ever cook for themselves? I’m sure the deaf can sew.

samp01

Spoilers

boy gets girl

dog lives

monster vanquished

boy buys right girl

man repents

eviler spirits arise

escape succeeds

money isn’t enough

love conquers all

she feels compete in marriage

success isn’t everything

he was a she

family is reunited

all is forgiven

things are never the same again

she knows better

he finds a purpose in self sacrifice

boy gets boy

dog learns a lesson

man rescued from loneliness by child

greed is punished

being pretty isn’t fulfilling

he didn’t really want her

the lame horse wins a race

he dies saving others

the truth remains hidden

it was all a dream

there is no escaping

they were ghosts

drugs were a bad choice

bad guy repents

she was a princess all along

the villain was his father

the castle blows up

the space ship blows up

the race is won

marriage means more than career

he is a genius

the plants were evil

Satan is foiled

he walks again

she forgives her rapist

he sees the errors of his ways

his heart is ten times bigger

everyone is dead

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