ERIC Number: ED301907
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Coming Out Stories: The Creation [of] Lesbian Images on Prime Time TV.
Moritz, Marguerite J.
Several forces are allowing, for the first time in the history of television, the creation of prime time texts with lesbian characters. Chief among these forces are the relatively marginalized position of broadcast television brought on by increasing cable penetration and home video ownership, liberalized censorship guidelines on the part of the networks, the demonstrated commercial viability of gay-themed material in other mass media, the appeal of emerging social issues in general as a backdrop for broadcast productions, and an increased public awareness of homosexuals triggered by the AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) epidemic. In order to examine these changes as they influence the portrayal of lesbians and to offer insights into a male-dominated industry, a study identified and explicated some of the external forces that affect the development of prime-time texts and their choice as prime-time programs. Seven interviews with media activists from the gay community and with network executives were conducted, and television programs with lesbian characters were analyzed. The analysis revealed that lesbians are generally portrayed in a way that will reinforce mainstream cultural values, although there are exceptions on occasion. Findings suggest that before texts will be permitted to take more risks with the audience, television executives will have to be convinced that the potential financial payoff in terms of ratings makes such actions worthwhile. (Fifty-four notes are included, and 25 references are appended.) (MS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (71st, Portland, OR, July 2-5, 1988).