Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Why the portrayal of homosexual men on screen is unrealistically positive: Study finds overly glamorous and witty characters leave real men's confidence shot

The portrayal of gay men in modern films and TV shows is based on unrealistic 'positive' stereotypes, researchers claim.

Impossibly glamorous, witty and fashionable gay characters risk leaving real-life gay men lacking self-confidence.

The study suggests that stereotypes portrayed on screen may amount to 'positive prejudice' which could damage the well-being of gay men.

Researchers warned against painting gay characters – who often appear on screen as the best friend of a female lead – as 'one-dimensional figures'.

The psychologists, from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, cited a series of movies and TV programmes they say may have left some gay viewers depressed.

Shows such as Sex and the City and Will and Grace, as well as the film My Best Friend's Wedding starring Rupert Everett and Julia Roberts, all promoted an assumption that gay men must be upbeat, clever and witty, the study said. US sitcom Will and Grace, for example, starred Eric McCormack and Debra Messing as gay lawyer Will Truman and his best friend Grace Adler. Will was portrayed as smart, funny and caring to a fault.

Yet the Anglia Ruskin report suggested that such 'seemingly positive stereotypes have the potential to be damaging as they paint gay men as one-dimensional figures and prevent people from seeing someone's true personality'.

The team hope to conduct further research to find out whether this overtly positive portrayal of gay men in Hollywood could be harming viewers' self-esteem.

Researcher Ashley Brooks said: 'We commonly see the gay best friend being played out in popular media, and this is also becoming increasingly prevalent in real life interactions between heterosexuals and gay men. Because these attitudes appear positive on the face of it, they gain widespread acceptance and remain unchallenged despite their potential to cause long-term damage.'

The academics are now appealing for 1,000 participants to discuss the impact of media attitudes which 'may transmit stereotypical or negative messages'. Project leader Dr Daragh McDermott said that it was important to understand the changing nature of attitudes towards minority groups.

'On the face of it, stereotypes associated with gay men, such as being fashionable or witty, appear positive and may even hold some truth to them,' he said. But he added that such assumptions can lead to unrealistic expectations of how real men behave.


Senator Cruz: Requiring women to enroll in military combat draft is ‘nuts’

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said the idea of requiring women to sign up for the draft for potential military combat is “nuts” ahead of a heated Republican showdown in the New Hampshire primaries.

Cruz made the comment Sunday during a town hall speech in the small town of Peterborough, N.H. He referenced rivals former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who, during Saturday’s Republican debate, said or suggested they supported women being required to enroll in the U.S. Selective Service program, which allows for draft eligibility.

“It was striking that three different people on that stage came out in support of drafting women into combat in the military,” Cruz said. “I have to admit, as I was sitting there listening to that conversation, my reaction was: ‘Are you guys nuts?'”

“We have had enough with political correctness — especially in the military,” Cruz added, receiving large applause from within the building, including from some women in the audience. “Political correctness is dangerous, and the idea that we would draft our daughters, to forcibly bring them into the military and put them in close contact — I think is wrong, it is immoral, and if I am president, we ain’t doing it.”

Cruz also brought up his to daughters to further present his argument.

“I’m the father of two little girls. I love those girls with all my heart,” Cruz said. “They are capable of doing anything in their hearts’ desire, but the idea that their government would forcibly put them in the foxhole with a 220-pound psychopath trying to kill them, doesn’t make any sense at all.”

In December, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced all military combat positions would be opened to women, prompting a push back from the Marine Corps, which fought to restrict from women positions that included infantry, machine gunner and fire support.

“We have to take full advantage of every individual who can meet our standards,” Carter previously said. “In the 21st century, that requires drawing strength from the broadest possible pool of talent. This includes women, because they make up over 50 percent of America’s population.”

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook recently said the addition of women to U.S. Special Forces troops will be delayed for until “no later than” April 1 to give authorities “the time to collaborate thoroughly with the services.”


Men have it tough in the social minefield

Jess Leo writes from Australia:

MEN have it tough. In this day and age, I sure am glad I’m a woman. I can walk on stilettos while many men spend their days walking on eggshells.  When it comes to the social arena men are being watched, their every move scrutinised, judged and dissected.

Sure, in the professional domain they still dominate and in the management ranks of many industries, outnumber their female peers, but when it comes to the way men interact outside of the boardroom, it’s a minefield.

I’m not being dramatic; I’m being realistic. This year began with a theme of men under the microscope.

From Jamie Briggs’ inappropriate advance towards a junior staffer in a Hong Kong bar (which was a step too far) to cricketer Chris Gayle’s awkward come-on levelled at Fox Sports journalist Mel McLaughlin, men were being called out on bad behaviour. Then it was debated whether a Tour Down Under podium finisher should kiss the cheeks of the dolled up promotional girls presenting his spoils, or a TV presenter should have a hands-on joke with his female co-host and the issue really started snowballing.

Just last week, one of the nicest guys on telly, Bruce McAvaney, was at a private function interviewing Olympic beach volleyball hopefuls when one of the statuesque athletes made a lighthearted quip about having approved her team’s standard bikini uniform.

Poor Bruce countered with an equally harmless joke about being able to see said uniform and, a split second later caught himself, muttering ‘no, I didn’t say that’ with a nervous laugh, no doubt in fear that someone would take to social media — or any other platform — and pillory him.

See that’s the thing, in this modern era, anyone can jump on and be a keyboard warrior — calling out behaviour they deem “inappropriate” and often, passing unsolicited — and unwarranted — judgment.

This isn’t limited to high-profile males either. In your workplace, social circle or even family there are men second guessing that seemingly innocuous string of words that just fell out their mouth.

It’s bad enough men aren’t sure whether they should be holding the door, picking up the dinner tab or offering their seat — lest women snap at the inference that they need the help. Just look at Channel 7’s latest reality TV debut, First Dates, where hapless males try to unravel the female psyche — and awkwardness ensues.

At this time — less than a week from that Hallmark perpetuated day of love, Valentine’s Day, it bears considering there must be some men out there positively at a loss as to what they’re meant to do when it comes to matters of the heart.

It’s been 23 years since relationships tome Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus became an international bestseller and it must feel like the two sexes are in completely different universes, let alone planets.

Even men in same sex relationships are subjected to more overt social stigma than their female counterparts.

Sure, there are important female-dominated issues that need to be remedied — the pay gap, domestic violence, representation in the workplace to name a few — but at least these are all on the agenda and being spoken about.

And while they are, we women are given much more slack.

Not long before Christmas I was in a suburban shopping centre where I was approached to buy a calendar featuring musclebound firemen in various states of undress.

I did so in the name of charity and then proceeded to marvel at the fact that should the tables be turned, that poor supermarket vendor would likely have got chased out of the shopping precinct. And all over our screens presently, comedienne Julia Morris is pawing all over a scantily clad Dr Chris Brown, as the hamming it up hosts of I’m A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! — and she’s not being slapped with a $10,000 fine.

So when a man next calls me sweetheart or his gaze wanders south of my neck, I’ll opt to take a deep breath and remember it’s a two-way street.


Finally, Europe Is Waking Up to Dangers of Multiculturalism

It may be late in the game, but Europeans are finally waking up to how decades of indoctrination into multiculturalism is now imperiling their safety. British Prime Minister David Cameron has led this campaign, but even the leaders of France and Germany are now following.

The fear that national identity is being eroded stands behind much of the angst roiling societies on both sides of the Atlantic, as it has implications for the survivability of representative democracy and even sovereignty. Having European leaders recover confidence in their ideals, tenets, and institutions can only be good for the debate on this side.

It is important that France’s François Hollande and Germany’s Angela Merkel are starting to echo Cameron, who has said such things as “We have lacked the confidence to enforce our values. … No more turning a blind eye on the basis of cultural sensitivities.”

When British, French, and German leaders begin to say that immigrants and their children must assimilate and that those who join ISIS may lose their citizenship, it’s time to sit up and take notice.

Of course, these leaders must follow their new rhetoric with actual policies. To do that, they will have to face down opposition from multiculturalist and transnationalist forces they and their predecessors helped create.

Just last week, the British prime minister unveiled a set of policies that seek to convince immigrants to assimilate into British values, or at least integrate culturally. One of these was a 20-million-pound initiative to teach an estimated 230,000 Muslim women living in Britain who speak little or no English to master the language.

In a column in the Times of London, Cameron wrote: “All too often, because of what I would call ‘passive tolerance’, people subscribe to the flawed idea of separate development. It is time to change our approach. We will never truly build One Nation unless we are more assertive about our liberal values, more clear about the expectations we place on those who come to live here and build our country together and more creative and generous in the work we do to break down barriers.”

When British, French, and German leaders begin to say that immigrants and their children must assimilate and that those who join ISIS may lose their citizenship, it’s time to sit up and take notice.

This wrong-headed “passive tolerance” of “appalling practices” foreign to Britain has allowed many Muslim women to fall victim to such customs as forced marriages and female genital mutilation and has allowed extremism to grow, he said.

For this and for his proposal to bring up in October a requirement that women on five-year spousal visas pass a language test after two and a half years in Britain in order to stay, Cameron has come under a great deal of criticism here and in Britain.

The hollering does not seem to have deterred copycats. Over in Germany, Labor Minister Andrea Nahles wrote her own column in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that refugees who refuse to integrate or learn German face having benefits cut.

“Whoever comes here to seek refuge and begin a new life must adhere to our rules and values,” Nahles, a Social Democrat, wrote. “We will cut the benefits of those who send the signal that they do not want to integrate. From my point of view, that should also be connected to participation in language courses and, in addition, adhering to the basic rules of our coexistence.”

Meanwhile, Merkel said over the weekend that she expects refugees to return to their home countries once the war in Syria has ended. Merkel’s statements come at a time when she is under increasing domestic pressure for her government’s handling of the crisis.

Migrants face significant obstacles on the path to assimilation in Germany, including language barriers and limited economic opportunities. The employment rate for Syrian migrants is a meager 9 percent in Germany. Assimilation is further made difficult in a country that does not have a rich tradition of assimilation like the U.S. America’s success with assimilation is rooted in an abundance of economic opportunities, which allowed so many immigrant groups to thrive as Americans.

Across the Rhine in France, Hollande’s plan to remove French nationality from dual-nationality citizens who are convicted of terrorism has led to street demonstrations and one minister to quit the cabinet.

This is a debate that needs to cross the Atlantic. Some possible ideas to increase assimilation, detailed in a Heritage special report published last month, include re-evaluating the practice of officially segregating America into ethnic groups, strengthening the civic and patriotic instruction parts of the naturalization process, and stopping the denigration of America and its history in our schools.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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