The media is not only a form of entertainment; it also shows the social perspectives and behavior of American society. Through television and social media, people learn social norms, social behavior, and how to interact with others. The media can also influence people, like their personal perceptions, views, and values. While one news program will talk about the success of Obama’s re-election, another news program will show how Romney or members of the republican party are better suited for presidency. Therefore, media has a large influence on how people view others, situations, or events. Homosexuality is one such topic. It is talked about throughout society from Capitol Hill to stand-up comedy. Everyone has an opinion about homosexuals, their life style and equal rights. Some agree, some do not, and some could care less. How the news and social media interpret current events relating to homosexuality and the lifestyle has a significant influence on society and public opinion.
The Huffington Post, an online news publications reported that Arizona Governor, “Jan Brewer asks supreme court to overturn ruling allowing benefits for same sex partners”, (Reilly, 2012). Events such as this show American society continues to struggle with the issue of homosexuality. Should homosexuals be provided with equal rights such as marriage and adoption? These are questions left unanswered as society continues to shift their values and perceptions. Homosexuality stands against most American values, beliefs, and is considered to be taboo among various cultures and subcultures. Homosexuals and their lifestyle are faced with many challenges including discrimination and violence. To further understand the social dynamics of homosexuality and society, the following six sociological concepts will be defined and applied:
- Sociological Perspective
- Sexual Orientation
Though issues concerning homosexuality continue to be a social debate throughout American culture, gay, lesbian, and transgendered individuals continue to fight for equality in American law and society.
Four years ago, in 2008, former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano authorized into law, “health benefits for state employee’s domestic partners”, (Reilly, 2012). When the new Governor, republican Jan Brewer came into office she tried to appeal the benefits. The United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reviewed the case and ruled in favor of the current law, (Reilly, 2012). Governor Brewer, in the first week of July 2012 requested to overturn the ruling. This battle between the new Governor and the courts represents the battle between homosexuals and the rest of society. Homosexuals and their lifestyle are part of America’s subculture. Chugg.com defines subculture as, “a culture within a broader mainstream culture, with its own separate values, practices, and beliefs”. Homosexuals follow and live a different lifestyle than most Americans as they are attracted to and have sexual relations with individuals of the same sex. Homosexuals don’t follow gender roles and gender stereotypes. Instead, they are influenced by their sexual orientation, “a person’s romantic and emotional attraction to another person”, (Anderson & Taylor, 2008). The lifestyle that Gays and Lesbians lead goes against America’s “deeply held convictions”, (“sociologicalguide.com”, 2012). Most Americans are against same sex relationships, same sex marriage, and believe they should not have or raise children. These values mean that homosexuals should not have equal rights and opportunity such as health benefits for domestic partners. The differences in social perceptions has created and stimulated discrimination towards homosexuality.
“The plaintiffs demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits because they showed that the law adversely affected a classification of employees on the basis of sexual orientation and did not further any of the states claimed justifiable interest”, (Reilly, 2012). This law is still in place. The court found no reason to throw out this law except discrimination. Authors Anderson and Taylor indicate that, “discrimination is a behavior”. To throw out the law already in place by the previous Governor because of sexual orientation would be unconstitutional. While individuals struggle to understand homosexuality, society also struggles to understand this as well. This is why gays and lesbians do not have equal opportunities. This can be observed in the present current events article as well as the inability for homosexuals to marry in some states and others unable to adopt or foster children. “Understanding diversity is crucial to understanding society because fundamental patterns of social change and social structure are increasingly patterned by diverse group experiences”, (Anderson & Taylor, 2008).
Society continues to struggle with the homosexual issue because of social values and is considered taboo in some cultures and subcultures. Something that is taboo is known to be a “sacred prohibition on certain things or acts”, (“sociologyguide.com”, 2012). For people with strong religious and cultural values, homosexuality goes against social beliefs and is the reason why people are against homosexuality and do not accept this lifestyle. Researchers admit that, “sexuality is related to some of the most difficult social problem”, (Tyler & Anderson, 2008). Despite this, homosexuality has moved closer to social acceptance. Steps are being taken against homophobia, gay bashing, and have created laws against sexual orientation discrimination. Celebrities keep “coming out” the closet and letting other people aware. News broadcaster Anderson Cooper and actress/comedian Rosie O’Donnell are famous and gay. Society is slowly becoming accepting and tolerant of homosexuality. Many movies and television series include gay and lesbian characters such as the movie Broke Back Mountain, reality television RuPaul’s Drag Race, and television show Modern Family. Social media has continued to shape and influence society and public perceptions. The media has encouraged social acceptance of homosexuality. Although someone does not agree with homosexuality, it does not mean that it cannot be tolerated in American society..
Definition of subculture. (2012, June 8). Retrieved from http://www.chegg.com/homework-help/definitions/subculture-49
Anderson, M., & Taylor, H. (2008). Sociology: Understanding a diverse society. (4 ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth Corporation. Retrieved from http://books.google.com/books?id=UILcQZS6Bi4C&pg=PA20&lpg=PA20&dq=sociological concepts&source=bl&ots=i-75BJ2I31&sig=3OF7GoMkbebaYjeVVz0U7TBRWCU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=DJr8T_KeDsnhrQGZlaCLCQ&ved=0CFYQ6AEwBg
Reilly, M. (2012, July 8). Jan brewer asks supreme court to overturn ruling allowing benefits for same sex partners. Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/08/jan-brewer-supreme-court_n_1657805.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular
Values. (2012, June 8). Retrieved from http://www.sociologyguide.com/basic-concepts/Values.php