Tag Archives: representation

LGBT in Television

One of the ways most people relax is sitting down to a good show after a long day. Now, with Hollywood becoming more involved in the fight for LGBT+ rights, there are more LGBT+ characters than ever before. However, according to a new GLAAD study, LGBT+ people are still misrepresented (1) in most shows.

In their annual report, they found that there are no transgender characters on primetime TV.  Also, the report said only 2% of shows on cable represent these people. There was also a finding that demonstrated the lack of racial diversity in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters in these shows (1).

It is a wonderful thing that shows are now including LGBT+ characters at rates we’ve never seen before, but these people need to be represented well. There are even cartoons, like Steven Universe, that show LGBT+ people in a great way. But yet, some shows seem to stick to the stereotypes of LGBT+ people.

gay tv characters
“Now, with Hollywood becoming more involved in the fight for LGBT+ rights, there are more LGBT+ characters than ever before.” Photo from: www.pride.com

While some shows do hold on to wildly negative views of LGBT+ people, there are shows like Orange is the New Black and Transparent that bring great representation to this community. Transparent is on its fourth season of production, and with the way Jill Soloway is presenting her characters, it’s bound to have more. It is said that Soloway has an authentic way of representing her character’s relationships with sexuality, spirituality, gender identity and mental health, making the show “one of the best television shows ever written” (2).

Not all shows that have a gay or lesbian character approach it the wrong way. Glee came out as one of the first shows that openly dealt with LGBT+ people being bullied, self-doubt, and families that did not approve of the character’s sexuality. So, using Glee as an example, I think that while yes, some shows don’t know how to represent the LGBT+ community, there are a majority of shows trying to improve the way the community is represented.

1 – http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/representation-lgbt-characters-tv-needed-study-article-1.2413435

2 – http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/11/02/8-of-the-best-lgbt-shows-on-television-today/

With Greek Letters Comes Great Responsibility

Greek Life has had a negative reputation for a long time. It’s been portrayed adversely in the media and in movies. There are often news stories about members of Greek organizations dying as a result of hazing. Movies such as House Bunny and Animal House (my favorite movie) show Greek Organizations throwing huge house parties and pulling pranks. Although there may be some slight truths in the media, we never hear about the good that Greeks do such as raising money for various philanthropies.

Janie gives blood. Graphic by Janie Maitland
Janie proudly wears her letters while giving blood. Graphic by Janie Maitland

There are, however, a group of organizations that are a category all on their own: academic and community service fraternities. These organizations do a lot of things that reflect social organizations, but they aren’t considered part of Greek Life. Many of these fraternities will have “bigs and littles,” wear Greek letters and make paddles–all long-standing traditions of Greek organizations.

Although these organizations may look Greek, they’re vastly different from social organizations. While most social fraternities have a set of values they try to instill in their members, academic and community service fraternities typically only focus on one aspect of the organization. For example, a criminal justice fraternity will only accept Criminal Justice majors. While in the fraternity, the member will make many connections in their field, study together and assist each other every step of the way through their journey to graduation.

In social Greek organizations, we focus on academic excellence, values, making connections, helping the community, and representing ourselves in a way consistent withthe values of our organization. Although many non-Greek fraternities (such as Alpha Phi Omega, a community service fraternity), tend to focus on the person’s values and attitude, other organizations will only focus on one area of a person’s life. There are many organizations for many different majors such as music fraternities, business fraternities, and more. Many times these organizations focus mostly on their majors and help members find internships and network.

Since I’ve joined my sorority, I’ve always believed that with Greek letters comes great responsibility. Many times, organizations that wear Greek letters but aren’t part of Greek life will misrepresent Greek life. I’ve seen members of academic fraternities be incredibly rude, very publicly, while wearing their letters. Many times, these acts go unpunished because the fraternity is only focused on the person’s academics. Of course, if the person did something extreme, that would get them in trouble with their university. Until it reaches that level of severity, the person will probably not face any ramification.

The truth is, most of the public can’t tell the difference between academic and social fraternities. Because of this, many times these non-Greek fraternities who still sport Greek letters will accidentally misrepresent Greek life by how they act in public. It’s important that members of these organizations remember that by taking on Greek letters, they’re assumed to be part of Greek life — and they need to represent themselves appropriately.

At this time, the best those of us in social organizations can do is live up to our values through our actions. A change won’t happen overnight, but we must make up for those who misrepresent Greek life  — not only in academic fraternities, but in social fraternities as well. It’s time Greeks start holding each other accountable for the way we represent each other.