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You’re Not Alone In Thinking Movies Make All Gays Look Like Campy Whores

On film, gays are still sluts, older women never have sex, and blacks are all drug dealers. That’s the result of a survey of some 4,315 English adults, two out of three who say movies depict gays with their sexual orientation as their main trait, while three in five respondents say gay characters are shown as “campy.” (That ratio rockets up to four in five when the respondents are gay, lesbian, or bi themselves.) Wait. I thought our big problem with Hollywood is that gay characters are always seen as non-sexualized, always portraying some straight girl’s fabulous BFF?

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  • The sane Francis

    Non-sexualized? Um. No, actually, these movies tend to go out of their way to play up the gay factor in a characture-ish stereotypical way. Including the sex factor. And it’s no secret that movies play on stereotypes, much easier for people to understand that than something that’s challenging to those stereotypes.

  • TheRealAdam

    @The sane Francis: People really shouldn’t be looking to Hollywood or any other major studios for accurate portrayals of ANY minorities whatsoever.

    And this is exactly why gays especially need to be more vocal about this sort of thing. Many let those beer and Doritos ads slide, thinking they’re harmless, when really they only add to a much bigger problem with how gays are narrowly portrayed. That’s why we shouldn’t let it go and just brush it off.

  • Gordon

    @TheRealAdam: If I could fan you, I would.

  • jason

    I think the gay media has been largely silent on the stereotypical treatment of gay men in the movies and TV.

    Don’t underestimate the damage that this stereotyping does. It’s designed to make us cause laughter, derision or a combination of both. Basically, it’s designed to make the viewer feel that we are harmless little “funny or strange people”.

    A lot of the Hollywood and TV people include gay men who go along with this stereotyping. Don’t just blame it on those mean breeders. It’s the gays in Hollywood who are just as culpable.

  • Scott

    Burn Hollywood burn!

    Always thought it would be interesting to do a gay version of that song.

  • B

    No. 4 · jason wrote, “Don’t underestimate the damage that this stereotyping does. It’s designed to make us cause laughter, derision or a combination of both. Basically, it’s designed to make the viewer feel that we are harmless little “funny or strange people”.”

    … it is annoying, but previously they could only show gay characters as villains, if they showed them at all. The film
    “The Celluloid Closet” documents it.

    It seems to be standard operating procedure as a prejudice against a minority drops. First they show them as monsters. Then as comic relieve so they can introduce gay characters with only a small amount of screen time. Eventually, they’ll show them as real characters.

    Curiously, the first or one of the first times that Blacks were depicted the same as Whites on national TV was in the original Star Trek TV program. Read
    for an account: “First, the series was created when racial segregation and sexism still were entrenched in American society. Even though I watched “Star Trek” for the first time in syndication in the early 1970s, I saw something I had not seen before on TV. The Enterprise crew was casually multiracial, multinational, and even multiplanetary — no big deal — working together as one team with a common mission. In the “Star Trek” universe of the 23rd century, the ship reflected a colorblind, borderless society. In one sensational moment in 1968, “Star Trek” delivered the first interracial kiss on TV between two fictional characters,”

    It just takes a while, and the time it takes is painfully slow.

  • Jasun

    Straight people will only accept gay characters if they can (a) laugh at them, (b) feel sorry for them or (c) tap into their magical gay powers of giving straight people make-overs.

    All three of the above must also be accompanied by a complete lack of sexual anything.

    If the character actually has sex, he must also be miserable for the whole movie and then die at the end.

  • Jim Hlavac

    @jason: I’d rather we be perceived as “harmless funny people” today than the way we used to be portrayed. There’s plenty of evidence that we gay guys are different. We’re in a transformative period between utter horror at our existence and a benign if not positive acceptance. That’s where we are in history. If it makes heteros more comfortable with “harmless funny people” I’d rather have that at this point than “danger to society and family.” This is a process, not waving a magic wand.

  • Sceth

    The gays aren’t always desexualized in certain senses of the word, but they’re always de*romanticized.*

  • David Ehrenstein

    @Sceth: The Kut/Blaine kiss on “Glee” was extremely romantic.

  • niles

    Hollywood just reflects the popular culture (although often a few years behind). Could it be that many gays in real life are still stuck in the sterotype of not feeling worthy of self-respect or the respect of others?

  • jason

    I think some of the lustiest portrayals of male-male eroticism were in mainstream Hollywood movies of the 1970’s.

    For instance, in Women In Love, Alan Bates had a very erotic naked fight with Alan Bates. In Sunday Bloody Sunday, Peter Finch shared a passionate kiss with Murray Head. In Midnight Express, Brad Davis shared a sensuous kiss with a fellow male inmate. In Cruising, there were a number of lusty scenes between men. I can’t think of anything comparable in the last 20 years.

    Even in Brokeback Mountain, I didn’t detect lusty scenes. Sure, there were romantic scenes but certainly not in-your-face lusty scenes. It’s as if modern Hollywood has been de-lusting us.

    Look, I’m not saying that all portrayals of male-male sexuality should be lusty. However, I’m getting sick of the peck on the lips as somehow being indicative of male-male sexuality.

    We need a decent mix and range. Modern Hollywood needs to stop de-lusting us.

  • Shannon

    I don;t know what movies YOU guys are watching….
    “Blacks” are not this “minority” you keep claiming…really read the TRUE number…and no…they are not portrayed as drug users in movies ….when the REAL drug users are white…
    And it is self hating GAY WHITE men that green light the “campy gay male” movies with a 50 million dollar budget in Hollywood…so go complain to them..

  • Kev C

    Does anyone like movies about gladiators?

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