31 Days of Post Day 10: The Gaycism Rant
Gaycism is probably the stupidest neologism I have ever heard. Seriously. Defined as the assumption that the presence of gay characters on certain television shows can mitigate other forms of racism and prejudice. Let us call it out for what it is, shall we? Racism, misogyny, ageism, homophobia, biphobia, etc ad infinitum. Even if it is unintentional.
Now, I am not going to go into specifics. If you would like more information go to Google and type in “gaycism” and you should get hits to a GQ column that defined the term (I think) and a Huffingtonpost article that looked at the issue in some detail. And you can make up your own mind about the controversy.
All of the shows mentioned I could care less about. I have no intention of ever watching The New Normal or Partners. Two Broke Girls just sounds infuriatingly stupid from the previews (yeesh). I’ve seen an episode or two of Modern Family and was unimpressed. With Glee, I’ve seen maybe ten minutes total and couldn’t stand it.
Really, I just don’t do comedy. Or dramedy for that matter. With that in mind, I don’t think I have the knowledge to speak about this with any authority.
But I do think there are those who do know these shows every well and have a responsibility to discuss, criticize, analyze, and debate the merits of the “gaycism” accusation. Still detest that word, by the way.
I will admit that I have an abandoned post that tried to look at instances of homophobia in generally gay positive shows (like Glee). But I decided not to complete the post because I felt I did not have the requisite knowledge to discuss it. Ten minutes (at most) is not nearly enough time. The scene(s) were not even what I wanted to discuss. And again, can’t stand it, so no post.
However, I do think that the media should be more active in these issues. If Glee (or another show) does something racist, homophobic, biphobic, transphobic, etc., call them out on it. Strongly call them out if need be. That is the only way the discussion, the show, and the culture move forward and change.
It is important to remember that prejudice takes many expressions. Prejudice can be ingrained, unconscious. Prejudice can be institutional.
Yes, much of contemporary “comedy” is heavily centered on stereotypes that can cross the line. And yes, offense is individually variable. But seriously, be more aware of what is said and done.
Moving past this controversy, I listened to an excellent episode of the Writing Excuses podcast that discussed writing the other. Excellent advice and I think all writers should seriously follow it. I know I will.
And I still don’t like “gaycism.”