A Little (Step) Forward In Sexuality
As sexuality is gaining more recognition and the attention it deserves, people in the public relations industry need to adapt to this positive change. In the PR industry, my interest lies in the entertainment field. The media and pop culture are huge aspects to focus on when in this industry. As I was researching this topic, I noticed that in the past years there was barely any coverage on sexuality. As the years went on, the topic of sexuality grew exponentially. There was coverage on sexuality through TedTalks, scholarly articles, Youtube videos, and even news channels such as the BBC covered this topic.
One channel on television that gave sexuality a great platform was Freeform. Freeform, previously known as ABC Family, was one channel that was not afraid to conform to modern society. ABC Family was a very family-friendly channel, but Freeform has very little off limits. With its slogan “A Little Forward”, it produces shows that are related to this time and age. For example, The Fosters, had main characters that were gay or lesbian. The two main parents of the show, Lena and Stef, were a lesbian couple who had a family and went through family struggles. It showed the world that a lesbian couple can still have a family and they go through the same family struggles just as straight couples go through.
What was great about The Fosters was that they showed sexuality struggles within kids as well. Another main character Jude, who was around 14-15-years old, did not know if he was gay or not.
There was an episode where he had just downloaded a dating app and his interested party was male.
This was a great addition to the show because there are kids struggling with their own sexuality and this will show them that they are not in it alone. In the past, there was not really a lot of guidance when it came to sexuality and many kids were confused or were told to push it to the side, but now there is guidance and representation of what they might be going through.
Another show that was on the Freeform Channel was Young & Hungry. Even though this show is currently not on the channel, the character Elliot Park stuck out to me. His character, a gay Asian, was very unique. He was proud to be a gay Asian and vocalized this pride on the show as well. Being South Asian, I know that there is a stigma around Asians and their sexaulity. In most places in Asia, sexuality and expressing yourself the way you want is still taboo. In most places in Asia, there is no protection against discrimination based on sexual oreientation. However, it is slowly evolving. His character, Elliot, gave gay Asians representation which is very uncommon in televison.
As a future PR practitioner, it is important to be aware of these changes in the media. The media has a large impact and reflection on the public relations industry. Being knowledgeable of the evolution of sexuality will benefit not only yourself, but working with any client in the entertainment industry. A PR practitioner can adjust their brand and image by viewing the media and seeing how it is evolving. Having a connection with the outside world and all its changes, can positively affect your client and their overall success. The PR field is constantly changing and the media is one of the best places to learn about the upcoming changes. I personally will be looking into the media for guidance about where the next step forward will be for the future of my clients.
Blog Written By: Alisha Andrews