Sorry Not Sorry: Why Is MTV Mocking GLBT Youth Culture?

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Umm, can this new MTV show, ‘Faking It,’ just not exist already? The story is about two girls who are mistakenly “outted” as lesbians in this high school, yet play along with the notion as a means to become popular. What the fuck. Seriously?

THE PLOT: One girl is a closet lesbian and the other an out heterosexual girl. The two best friends are thrust into the limelight by an out gay boy at a house party. The boy pegs the closeted girl as a lesbian, she is of course in denial. Shenanigans ensue. Yadda yadda yadda. The trio then leverages the buzz surrounding their scandalous love affair to campaign their nomination for the prestigious title of Homecoming Queen(s.) I can’t even understand how this storyline was concocted. Here, see for yourself:



WHY THIS IS TERRIBLE: How do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways… To kick it off, in the trailer the straight gal-pal makes comments like, “Straight guys love lesbians, just watch any porno,” and “Being gay is the best thing that has ever happened to us,” while one straight male remarks, “Does anyone else thing the lipstick one is kinda sexy?” While lesbian sex might appeal to boys and men, I don’t think it’s fair to fetishize lesbian sexuality as a fantasy for heterosexual males. Nor would I agree that it’s okay to teach young heterosexual women that it’s totally acceptable to “act gay” to warrant attention from boys and men. 

The straight girl (shown on the left) is depicted as highly attractive to males, out-going, cultured, strong, and fashion forward in the trailer. The lesbian girl (shown right) is depicted as frumpy, socially awkward, unsure, and powerless.

The Homecoming Queens

The representation of the Broken Gay Kid is one that I have grown tired of seeing in the media. Coming of age tales are always heartbreaking and insightful, but stories surrounding GLBT youth and their experiences are somehow depicted as sad, tragic, unfortunate, and painful. True, those emotions are prevalent for many youths during their coming out process, but perpetuating the culture of shame, degradation, hurt, and uncertainty for our gay youth should not be allowed to continue weaving itself into our social fabric.  I give MTV points for creating a series centered around gay teens in a high school setting, even if they’re doing our youth demographic a disservice.

SUMMARY: I’d rather not have GLBT youth culture represented as a “thing” to make you a cool kid, or to entice the opposite sex into finding you more attractive. While I’m all for having gay teens and young adults represented in the media, MTV is neither sending is a positive representation of the Coming Out experience nor is it accurately depicting trials faced by GLBT individuals or their allies. Or at least their promotional material doesn’t express those ideas. The notion that to be liked and popular amongst your peers by falsifying your sexuality is not a message I want my nieces and nephews to have crammed in their heads. And the suggestion that having a GBF (gay best friend) to tell you that you’re “fierce” will somehow empower you or that making out with your same-sex best friend publicly will show people how “serious” you are about “being gay” is outlandish and personally offensive on many levels.

As a recent burn victim of a has-bian, I honestly don’t want more girls growing up and turning into women that feel they have to use an “alternative lifestyle” to feel a sense of self-worth. I’d much rather see strong, assertive, confident girls written into roles intended to portray lesbians, and I am certain that young girls coming to terms with their sexuality would enjoy seeing it, too.

 

image source from ‘Faking It’ promo trailer (c) MTV

 

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