Gay Parenting in the Media
Same-sex parenting is an issue that many people worldwide have come to either totally accept or totally dis-approve of. Although the number of individuals that are for it is a minority, the issue still causes various heated debates. People who are in favor of Gay and Lesbian parenting rights claim that as long as there is a pledge to parenthood then successful parenting is possible as a homosexual individual. One main argument for same-sex parenting is the fact that within a gay couple there is no chance for accidental pregnancy therefore the couple must make a conscious decision to become a parent. People opposed to homosexual parenting argue that homosexual couples are not capable of having long stable relationships mandatory for the successful upbringing of children. They claim it is in the child's best interest to be raised by one female and one male. Such a family would provide the best environment for healthy intellectual and emotional growth and anything else is simply a mockery of the institution of family. Obviously the debate over homosexual parenting brings for concepts of individual rights and the definition of family. What the argument boils down to is the definition of a family. With the term family given such a socially constructed meaning, it leaves little room for any sort of exception to the “rule”. When television first appeared back in the 1940's, times were very different. What one would consider completely acceptable in today’s society would have seemed the exact opposite just a few decades ago. For example, in 1953, Lucille Ball was not allowed to say the word "pregnant" while she was expecting baby Ricky and it wasn't until the 1960's show Bewitched, that we saw a married couple actually sharing the same bed (Smith 2010). Considering how conservative the television networks were during those years, it is not hard to deduce that something as controversial as homosexuality would be far from discussed or represented at any level. It was only in 1973 that television premiered its first homosexual character (Smith 2010). Over the next three decades the appearance of gay and lesbian characters in television has both increased and decreased as the times have changed. Due to the reappearanceof conservative ideals that many have adopted again, homosexual topics were again reduced to a minimum. Since that time though there has been a rise of gay and lesbian characters on television. One might think after a first glance that this means that there has been progress among gay and lesbian communities to have a fair representation in the media. However, if one looks at the circumstances surrounding the homosexual families in the media portrayal, many people may start to acknowledge the fact that if there has been any progress then it has been quite minimal. Media publications can manipulate the news using a variety of strategies that can alter the readers' perception. Publications can navigate their audience through what it feels is persuasive and feasibleregarding a specific topic. The factors that can contribute toward an altered point of view can include the publication’s audience, their lifestyle, interests, and its level of complexity. At the same time there are more conditional factors that can create a different representation of such impartial truth. Such things include the manipulation of the text through diction, tone and the articles’ actual credibility (Landau 2009). Through this, the media has the power to persuade its audience's point of view. There are two articles that can serve as an archetype for this notion. Both The Miami Herald and The Tampa Bay Times discuss a recent controversial issue concerning gay adoption in the state of Florida. In 1977 the state passed a statue prohibiting homosexual men and women from adopting children. Florida, Mississippi and Utah are currently the only states that do not legalize any form of adoption by same sex coupled parents....
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