Welcome, Gays. We've Been Expecting You
This one’s a new spin on an old song. The representation of the LGBT community in the media has been a contentious topic for a long time. First, being ignored pretty much entirely, then being pigeonholed to laughable stereotypes, it’s fair to say it’s been a long hard road (no gay pun intended, swearsies). Now, the road may have taken a bit of a strange turn, however.
Ariana Grande is the most recent celebrity facing backlash for something known as ‘Queerbaiting’. Apparently in one of her indistinguishable auto-tuned auditory car wrecks she made reference to the possibility of being bisexual. With a negative connotation? Nope. Actually, she turns out to be a big supporter of gay rights.
The offence stems from artists using homosexuality as a tool to sell records, or TV shows, or whatever. So, exactly like heterosexuality, then? ‘Sex sells’ is the oldest and most redundantly quoted marketing trope of all time.
BBC News released an article on the issue, which includes an interview with Professor Julia Himberg, of Arizona State University, in which she states:
Right, because we were all under the impression that pop music has something to do with artistic integrity, rather than trying to gain the widest possible audience of pre-pubescent clones to whom we can pass the torch of crippling self-esteem issues and eating disorders.
The real problem seems to lie with the fact that Grande probably isn’t actually bisexual. Which, again, moot point. Since when does art (as loosely as the term applies, in this case) have to perfectly reflect the creator’s personal life? Springsteen wrote Racing in the Streets before he even had a driver’s license. That doesn’t mean incensed gear-heads in retina burning reflective Mercedes wind-breakers took to the streets in protest. The song is appreciated for the earth-leveling, Hemi-overpowering, class-shattering, anthem of gas-burning awesomeness that it is.
You just can’t have it both ways. Demanding representation while complaining when said representation makes money is like eating a 16oz steak and then lamenting not having enough room for dessert. The media commodifies accepted forms of sexuality (notice how trans people are still not really featured). So, to all the gays out there: Welcome to the mainstream! Now your sexuality can also finally be whored out in the name of making a quick buck. God bless capitalism. And Dick Cheney.