Is There ‘Correct Representation’?
Being gay, I enjoy seeing other people in the LGBTQ+ community (and minorities generally) shown in films and television as it helps normalise what should be a non-issue. However, sometimes the writing, acting or storylines can do more harm than good despite how well-meaning someone might be. These days, it feels like no one can do anything right by anyone so I thought I’d look at ‘correct representation’ and what that means.
A major issue that has been talked about recently is stereotypes in media. On one hand, we should rejoice that most teen dramas contain at least one LGBTQ+ character. On the other hand, it would be nice for every male gay character to not be some sassy, finger-snapping sidekick. Although there are people who fit that description, perpetuating the idea that everyone who is of the same sexuality has the same characteristics and mannerisms is giving those who aren’t educated about our community a false reason to be wary of us. It is annoying when someone assumes things about you based solely on your gender or sexuality but perhaps, if they didn’t see the same archetype around them constantly, they wouldn’t be as certain in their assumptions.
Sadly, jumping to the other end of the spectrum can be just as troublesome. It can be nice for a film to not make a huge topic of someone’s sexuality / gender but then it can also feel like someone has slapped a label on this character to earn brownie points and box office revenue from our expansive demographic. I don’t envy the writers because they must balance making LGBTQ-ness prominent enough so it doesn’t feel lazy without letting it consume a character. Especially in an age where people are waiting to pounce on you for doing anything slightly problematic, it’s possible that this perfect balance doesn’t exist as someone will always have an issue.
Should we just be grateful? Perhaps so as we can now have shows like Pose or films like Love, Simon about this community that can be critically or financially successful but I think everyone should be able to express how they feel about certain representation. Just keep in mind that not everyone has the same ideas about what ‘correct representation’ is and that’s okay.