Gender in British media: homosexuality and masculinity in selected TV series




The interaction between masculinity and homosexuality is of interest when considering Connell’s structure of gender power relations. Here gay men are considered subordinate to heterosexual ones, thus linking them to femininity. To fight the attributions of femininity, gay men have adopted a wide range of strategies all centred around hyper-masculinity and adherence to upper social classes, which carry the promise of power. The role of media is pivotal in shaping this imagery. It is our aim to analyse two British TV series portraying gay characters in order to uncover the identities, which may shape the perception of viewers. Furthermore, the two series are compared in regard to three aspects: hedonism, effeminacy and promiscuity. The methodology draws from Lacan’s psychoanalytic theory and the feminist film of Laura Mulvey. Due to the constricted nature of TV series, it also includes theory of Marcel Danesi. The outcomes suggest that there is a shift in the portrayal of gay masculinities towards greater conservativism. The comparison also uncovered that promiscuity is still portrayed as widely accepted in the gay community, whereas positions of effeminacy and hedonism have changed. It must be pointed out that such portrayal may be motivated by the presence of the series within heteronormative mainstream media.

Keywords: homosexuality, media, television, masculinity, hegemony, men.


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