Heterosexual couples are everywhere. They are in magazines, movies and more importantly children’s TV shows and movies. While scanning through the channels I can’t help but notice all the TV shows that are aimed toward kids. There are the ever popular shows like Hannah Montana, the High School Musical series, Drake and Josh, and the Incredibles. All of these shows have a common recurring theme, they all feature heterosexual couples. In Disney’s Hannah Montana, Miley the main character along with her best friend Lily always seem to have a crush on a boy. All of the characters in the show display heterosexual desires, never homosexual. The same goes for the popular Nickelodeon series Drake and Josh which chronicles the lives of two step brothers. The boys only chase after girls never boys. The movie the Incredibles features a classic mom and dad family with three kids; nowhere does it feature a homosexual couple. In the popular tween movie High School Musical it only portrays heterosexual relationships. Troy the main character’s love interest in all three movies is a pretty, smart and funny girl Gabriella. Again nowhere in this movie does it even mention the possibility of a same sex couple. This leads elementary aged children to believe that the only sexual orientation is hetero. There is no diversity in children’s programming as far as sexual orientation is concerned.
If and when the possibility of a same sex couple appears in children’s programming it is met with severe backlash. My first point is Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie. When the possibility arose that Bert and Ernie were a same sex couple it was met with a huge controversy. Recently a petition has been started to allow Bert and Ernie to marry on Sesame Street. This video I found does a good job at highlighting the petition as well as expressing some opposing views.
Many feel that children should not be exposed to same sex couple because it would “corrupt” their innocence.
Another popular kid’s show has been under attack due to the possibility of it expressing homosexuality. SpongeBob Squarepants has within the last decade been met with controversy. The controversy arose when Focus on the Family founder Dr. James Dobson expressed his belief that SpongeBob could make children gay. The controversy arose when a 2002 video barely featuring SpongeBob was released to schools to promote tolerance of the different scenarios that make up today’s families. When watching the video that Dobson found would make children gay I had a very hard time even finding a homosexual reference, let alone a clip featuring Spongebob for more than five seconds.
I’ll let you watch the video and see if you notice any homosexual references.
When children see their favorite characters come under attack because there is a possibility they could be gay teaches them that homosexuality is wrong. In the article Sex, Power, and Intamacy it states that human sexuality is “constructed by and through societal sexual scripts”. When children see the backlash of homosexuality they internalize that it is wrong and repress homosexual desires. This is exemplified in the reading Elementary School Girls And Heteronormativity: The Girl Project. When homosexuality was brought up the group of girls who were being studied thought of homosexuality as disgusting. The girls were speculating whether or not Zac Efron was gay. One of the girls said that “Gay people who were kissing were breaking the law” (Myers, Raymond 183). Another girl said that “her brother refused to watch High School Musical III because Zac Efron was gay” (Myers, Raymond 183). It’s horrifying to think that these girls will grow up thinking that being gay is wrong. Parents try to teach diversity but only in the means of skin color not sexual orientation. If we want our future generation of leaders to be truly diverse then a lot more has got to be done. Exposing children to same sex couples will not demoralize them or turn them gay. Most children would not think of being gay as “wrong” if their parents and other adults didn’t attach a bad stigma to it.
"Will Spongebob make you gay? Two conservative Christian groups are attacking the cartoon character for allegedly being part of a "pro-homosexual video" ." Countdown with Keith Olbermann. MSNBC, 25 Jan. 2005. Web. 16 Oct. 2011. <http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6852828/ns/msnbc_tv-countdown_with_keith_olbermann/t/will-spongebob-make-you-gay/#.TpsCkXKqHKd>.
SpongeBob Controversy. MSNBC TV. Web. 16 Oct. 2011. <http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/6850011#6850011>.
Bert and Ernie gay marriage controversy continues . Dir. Action 4 News Staff. 15 Aug. 2011.
ValleyCentral.com. Web. 16 Oct. 2011. <http://www.valleycentral.com/news/story.aspx?id=651737#.TpsNOnKqHKd>.
Unit II Reading: Sex, Power, Intimacy
Unit II Reading: Elementary School Girls And Heteronormativity: The Girl Project