LGBTQ+ Representation in the Film Industry

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Most students, and people for that matter, enjoy watching movies. Whether it be cheesy romantic comedies or hardcore action films, the characters and plot within said movies bring excitement and wonder to our own lives. However, the experience is heightened through the representation that we see in these films as it makes the events displayed by these characters all the more real and plausible for our own lives. What happens though if this representation also coincides with stereotypes and lack of reality within characterization?

Mean Girls, a very popular teen movie, is an example of inaccurate representation of the LQBTQ+

It can indirectly display norms that are harmful for developing brains and actions within all ages of people. High school is a time where many are truly discovering who they are in regards to dreams and goals for their future. Many students are also discovering that the romantic norms that they see displayed around them, especially media, do not agree with their shifting romantic values and ideals. This causes a lot of extra and indirect stress for the student when high school is already difficult enough. Also, even if there is LGBTQ+ representation it is usually riddled with stereotypes and said character is usually in the background shown in little to no scenes. These stereotypes, although they can be true in some small real life cases, are hurtful as they are used to show mass “representation”. These stereotypes include the fashionable gay best friend, the conniving and promiscuous bisexual, or the fact that lesbians catch feelings too easily and move way too fast in a relationship. However these stereotypes only scratch the surface and some more “unknown” sexualities and identifications such as transgender, asexual, demisexual, agender, genderfluid, and so on have less amounts of representation, even the stereotypical “representation”. Many writers use LGBTQ+ representation as a marketing ploy but have no drive to use said character as a strong plot piece within the show or movie. It works for many people as LGBTQ+ youth and adults alike are not happy with the heteronormative and cisgender characters that are all too commonly seen and praised so any character, no matter how small, is seen as a step in the right direction. Even if this step is faux, it shows how important it is to display characters that all youth can grow up and identify with.

Love, Simon is an example of recent representation that did not rely on seemingly “humorous” stereotypes in order to receive good reviews and press. Not only does it depict a cheesy love story, which are well loved across all ages, but it does so with leading gay characters and an emphasis on trust, shared values, and attraction within a healthy relationship. This movie brought forth a lot of the same romantic movie troupes with more representation for LGBTQ+ youth especially to show that their desires for a same sex relationship is not predatory and can be as healthy as any other mainstream depiction. According to outside sources, “Many people claim that LGBT people are greedy and obnoxious for wanting these things, like representation, acceptance and safe spaces, but anyone who identifies as LGBT has to go through ridicule for coming out, harassment for who they are” so representation would create a safe entertainment space where their ideals are not harassed like they are in the real world. In all honesty, this is what entertainment and media is supposed to be for people, and enjoyment should not be limited based off of who a person identifies as.

The acceptance of all identities and sexualities within media is very important as it will also spread the word on a much broader scale of how these feelings and self-identifications should be normalized and are not just to gain attention or controversy. Most LGBTQ+ community members wish to do anything but beg for attention, they wish to, commonly, be accepted as they are without any extra or special treatment. We want to be treated as any other person and this includes healthy and non-stereotypical representation in news, media, entertainment, literature, and any other platform where the heteronormative and cisgender “lifestyles” have previously been praised. Said actions and more can be taken in order for a world to be created that accepts and represents more of its population and showing other minority groups that they are accepted and loved by society. In the grand scheme of things, this could solve many problems big and small when it comes to learning and sympathizing with other situations and identities other than our own.

Although these issues still persist in media and society in general Scotts Valley High School has a club called SAGA which provides a safe space on campus for LQBTQ+, questioning youth, and allies to talk about the issues and feelings going on at the moment.

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LGBTQ+ Representation in the Film Industry