February 4, 2010

The Ugly Art of De-Gaying

I found this article tonight & Tumbl'd it and left it for another day that will never come but I got De Itch and decided to go for it a minute. Follow me, children!

The Ugly Art of De-Gaying

I'll leave the trailers at the source (trailers for Valentine's Day & A Single Man) & you can view them at your leisure assuming you wanna.


We may get shows like The L Word and love out actors like Neil Patrick Harris, but we can't seem to rid the homophobia from Hollywood's marketing system, let alone politics. Sure, there's always been a disconnect, where trailers and box covers make bad films look good and good films look like utter crap, but the marketing disconnect is absolutely rampant when it comes to gay themes, and it looks like there's no slowing of this absolutely ridiculous trend.

CNN's The Frisky looked into the marketing habit of de-gaying this week, pointing out the ridiculous omissions in both Valentine's Day and A Single Man's marketing ventures, where gay themes are completely bled out of the film. For the former, you might notice that Eric Dane -- otherwise known as McSteamy -- is part of the cast, but we don't see much of him. His face isn't on the poster*, and none of his scenes get highlighted in the trailer. Why? Turns out he plays Bradley Cooper's closeted, football-playing boyfriend in the film.

I think the biggest cop out you'll here from Them Who Do This Mess For A Living (other than THINK OF THE CHILDRENS) is that they're afraid of alienating the audience--the audience who at large probably feels uncomfortable with LGBT folks. Assumedly.

What Hollywood forgets is LGBT PEOPLE WATCH YOUR DAMN MOVIES. Hell they make them. Minority? Sure, but pandering to the majority is just erasing them on both sides of the fence. Frankly it's foolish and bewildering.

If you haven't already I'd recommend the documentary/book (I think?) The Celluloid Closet for an interesting look at evolving attitudes towards LGBT themes in film. It becomes apparent that Hollywood loves them some erasure whether it be based on sexual orientation, skin color, whatever. Why? It's run--and this is where you drop your voices like the house has been bugged--by the elite & the privileged. Easy!

What really eats at me with this trend is: What about once the butts are in the seats? Obviously, marketers are trying not to alienate homophobic audience members and get as many people as they can into the theater. But what happens when those same people see all the gay themes? At least it's one part of the greater whole in Valentine's Day, so maybe the homophobic folks can just shut their eyes during Cooper and Dane's scenes.

But let's take another film, one that ticks me off every time I look at the cover: Saving Face. The trailer did nicely -- making the lesbian relationship front and center. But the DVD case? Egads. The film focuses on a lesbian doctor who finds love, while her mother has a secret affair that gets her pregnant and shunned. The DVD cover shows mother and daughter, and on the back, the banished mother side story is front and center. Unless you read carefully through to the end, you'd never know that the daughter has a female lover. But the cover would have you believe that's just a side story -- it's all about mom trying to find an eligible bachelor.

I guess the anti-gay moviegoers aren't angered enough to demand a refund when the gay sneaks in, and the cycle sadly continues. Maybe instead of 3D glasses, Hollywood should put out gay glasses, so anyone who isn't scared of those themes can put them on and magically see all the plot points the marketers don't want to share.

See, we're in agreement. Facts & examples!

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