Per 1, Lang & Lit
An Imaginative Exploration of “Same Love”
By Martin Valencia
Prompt: How and why is a social group represented in a particular way?
Throughout history, revolution has been sparked by the influence of social change. Humans are clever, finding dozens of ways to adjust an unsatisfactory establishment into an adequate alternative. With methods ranging from strict non violence to genocide, and producing such change as radical transformation in government or sudden, fundamental shifts in public opinion on social issues. Today, Americans in the United States find themselves in the midst of a new revolution; the equality and acceptance of the homosexual community. Like all revolutions, there are many influential figures who affect this revolution through their actions and prominence in any given movement. In this essay, the music video for the song, “Same Love” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, will be analyzed in order to show how the homosexual community is represented by Macklemore in order to gain public support and empathy for their cause.
The music video for same love follows the life of a boy, from birth to old age, as he faces the trials and tribulations of a gay person throughout three major stages of his life and sexual identity; adolescence, adulthood, and finally old age. These three stages are used to not only represent common issues in the homosexual community, but also show the underlying similarities between the homosexual community’s wants and desires with those of the heterosexual community.
In the first stanza of the song, the viewer is introduced to a teenager (for brevities sake we will call him Charlie) partaking in activities one would expect of someone his age; Playing football outside with his father, attending church, and going to parties with his friends. Charlie seems to be a normal kid. The camera cuts to a party. There is a group of racially ambiguous teenagers sitting around a bottle a young woman had just spun. The stops pointed at Charlie. Charlie laughs with his friends but something is wrong, Charlie looks down and rubs the back of his head. It is obvious he is uncomfortable. Charlie is then seen walking up stairs, away from the party, locking himself in a room. It is at this point the chorus (sung by Mary Lambert) begins, “And I can’t change, even if I tried…” The viewer now realizes that young Charlie is gay. We follow Charlie through the entire chorus and part way through the second stanza. Charlie is seen having fun but whenever a romantic couple situation arises he looks unhappy and alone. Charlie is seen looking hard in the mirror, analyzing himself, who he is.
The director of this video is very deliberate with how he wants young Charlie to be portrayed. Charlie is made to look as a happy normal adolescent in public but forlorn when alone. The director does this to represent the young, closeted men of the homosexual community. There are two major messages the director wants to get across; one, the only difference between gay people and straight people is sexual orientation. And two, society is responsible for the unnecessary grief homosexuals feel which causes depression in thousands of teenagers in the United States. The first message is addressed by using Charlie as a generalized example of a person who is gay. Charlie does all of the activities we would expect a normal teenager to do, Charlie dresses and looks like any other teenager, and finally Charlie has feelings like any other teenager. The director hopes that the act of giving the issue a face instead of leaving it as an abstract idea because, quite frankly, most Americans can not relate to the grievances of this minority. This tactic follows the same logic as the saying, “One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic”, if the audience focuses on the woes of a single person then it is much easier for the people at home to empathize. The second is accomplished by...