Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Queer Representation and the Gay Elite

I'd like to focus my post this week about a few things that were both mentioned in these texts as well as echoed in my American Teenager Museum which I didn't have the words to express until now. While these pieces are important, I'd like to take a more specified look into some of the issues concerning queer folk which are only touched upon here. I personally find that they are extraordinarily important in the discussion of queer folk because while we are discussing visibility, we are not discussing whose visibility is the one being depicted. It most certainly isn't disabled non-binary people of color. My analysis thus springs from here.

An accurate representation on who gets the most attention in the queer community.

  • "A major concern was voiced first by lesbians and then by gays and lesbians of colour, people with HIV/AIDS, and people of other sexual minorities. Their complaints were that the [LGBTQ] movement had, for the past twenty years focused exclusively on the concerns of gays who were primarily male, decidedly white, and overwhelmingly middle class. Another concern was with the focus of the early gay liberation movement on assimilation, which sought kinship with the heterosexual mainstream on the basis of similarities." - Queer Representation in Media, Canada's Centre for Digital and Media Literacy
This quote relates directly to a lot of what we have talked about in class, as well as what the article covers. This is a subpoint, relating to how representation of the LGBTQ+ spectrum has been, by the mainstream media and queer media alike, assimilated into an image the only represents an acceptable side of the community - the white, gay, male. This passage emphasizes that while there has been progress in the images of LGBTQ+ folk, that progress has been limited to a certain ideal of what is known as assimilation - that is acceptance by the heterosexual community only as far as certain limits paint queer folk as heteronormative. The acceptance is based on the idea that queers should become just like heteronormative folk, assimilated into that culture. At the same time, part of this acceptable image is of the white gay male, which is often just as damaging as no visibility at all to many LGBTQ+ folk who have been invisible within their own communities (i.e. trans* folk, queer people of color, asexual folk, etc.).

  • "Certainly companies are more than eager to be tolerant and accepting of the enormous buying power of queer people, but many organizations who court queer money when it suits their needs will also act against queer interests when it’s in their best interest." - Pink Dollar Marketing
It's all about money. Like many other events in a capitalist society, this entire passage relates to how companies will often look only to turn a profit - or when it makes their image better. It is completely normal for companies to turn a blind-eye to the actual problems which face the queer communities. So while it is taking a step in the right direction for the progression of more "allies" to the queer communities, it is not doing so for the reasons of civil rights or humanity, but for capital. These companies become exposed for their fickleness, but nothing seems to change - at least so far. This literally puts the power and agency of queer folk not in their rights to vote and be considered equal in terms of housing, job discrimination, and spousal rights, but in terms of the buying-power they possess. A queer without buying-power can then be ignored along with all of the other queer issues. No money equals literally no power. No power equals no visibility. 
  • "...[B]rands that specifically target queer people are able to generate higher brand loyalty: queer people are generally very active when it comes to using their dollars as votes and they will stick to companies that have maintained a positive presence within queer communities. Both Witeck-Combs and The Commercial Closet highlight how loyal queer people are towards queer-friendly brands. While this is often seen as a good thing – a promise of money in exchange for more gay-friendly behaviour – it also suggests that queer people are being bought and sold by companies in exchange for treatment that heterosexuals should expect by default." - Pink Dollar Marketing
Like the previous excerpt, this passage is all about the buying power of the LGBTQ+ community and how it gets configured by the capitalist class. Now that there is representation of LGBTQ+ folk - regardless of how limited it is - there is a sense of acknowledgement from manufacturers and the market as a whole. Using the political game-playing processes of picking and choosing when and where to support the community, this article is claiming that queer money is being invested the same way as heterosexual money is. The difference between the ways in which queer money is manipulated and heteronormative money is manipulated is the political name games - the who supports what kind of image/behavior in media for the "queer agenda" - that companies play in order to get the money. By jumping on the wagon of civil rights and sociocultural acceptance of queer life, more money can be made because the queers will support it. 

1 comment:

  1. I wrote about this post in one of my blogposts:) Check it out!