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Bisexuality in American Media: Enough Already! (NSFW/Graphic Content)

So one evening I’m watching USA Networks’ “Mr. Robot” out of morbid curiosity. It’s a few minutes into the show when suddenly and out of the blue I’m shown one of the series’ main characters – a corporate executive madly in love with his beautiful wife – in an extremely graphic 10-second scene sodomizing his gay assistant. The premise of the homosexual encounter was to allow the executive access to assistant’s cell phone so he could secretly swap out its SIM card. The reasoning for the SIM-card swap was never made clear and seemed entirely disjointed from the story line, which was already peppered with mild homosexuality.

Here are the only portions of the scene I could glean from the Web:

Martin Walstrom and Mitchell Winter in Mr Robot

Martin Walstromin Mr Robot

After the executive climaxes, he tells his subordinate, “Take a shower and clean up the shit.”

Even more disturbing: Although the episode premiered at 10 p.m., it re-aired unedited during daytime hours around the country. Why? And how did the show’s creator, (((Sam Esmail))), manage to garner a TV-14 rating for this smut rather than TV-MA?

Media Research Center: … In an interview with Slate, show creator Esmail warned that “sex, the act itself, whether it’s homosexual or heterosexual, can be used for manipulation,” which he definitely introduces in this episode, and that “I don’t look at it as here’s my gay character; here’s my lesbian character. It’s our tapestry. We’re in New York City, people cross lines.” And, after watching this episode, it’s clear to see that using the now-trendy shock value of homo, as opposed to hetero, sexuality is a line that Esmail is all too willing to cross. …

As the media push the envelope to cash in on shock value, the FCC is supposed to be a moderating watchdog. In this case, it was a lapdog. Why? As you can imagine, the agency received a deluge of complaints about the sodomy scene. Here’s a sampling:

“Adult Content – appalling and graphic hetero and homo sexual sodomy acts in living and graphic color. Can’t un-see that. DO NOT want this to become acceptable mainstream television viewing. The premise of the show is fine – the content is unnecessary. Please make it stop.”

“I and my wife were watching the third episode of Mr Robot, we thought one of the better shows on television this year. Until USA network displayed graphic sexual content between two males. Disgusting, inflammatory, and just plain filthy. Although there was no penetration shown, they did graphically illustrate one cleaning the others anus.”

“… There was thrusting, nudity & sounds of fluid transfer. I’ve never seen any type of sex scene on Cable television that comes close to the level of graphicness … It was indecent in every single way. … We do not need such things so graphically depicted on public TV.”

“… one man was then seen cleaning up the other. Really? I think this has NO place on TV. The episode ended with a man and woman preparing for an S&M session.”

“… There were no warnings on the show. Nothing. I watched the first 2 episodes with my 13 year old daughter. I don’t want to watch porn of any kind, gay or not, I CERTAINLY don’t want my daughter watching it. I’m horrified and saddened by what I saw. I’m afraid for my children.”

“What do you not understand about OBSCENE programming??? The FCC appears to be another worthless government bureaucracy.”

Yet, it appears the FCC didn’t even scold USA Network for the gross transgression.

Sadly, “Mr. Robot” is just one example – albeit a more graphic one — of a plethora of random acts of bisexuality one finds on television of late. Unfortunately, it’s a trend that won’t be subsiding anytime soon. In fact, it’s being ramped up to unprecedented levels, according to a recent report.

Strong Push Toward Bisexuality in TV Programming

The number of gay and bisexual characters will reach peak levels during the 2016-2017 programming year, according to research by GLAAD (the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), a U.S. non-governmental media monitoring organization funded by the LGBT people in the media. Here are the key takeaways from its report. Keep in mind, however, it doesn’t count those random, one-time, oddly placed homosexual scenes that are becoming so commonplace:

  • Of the 895 series regular characters expected to appear on broadcast scripted prime time, 43 (4.8%) were identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer. This is the highest percentage of LGBTQ series regulars GLAAD has ever found. There were an additional 28 recurring LGBTQ characters.
  • The number of regular LGBTQ characters counted on scripted prime time cable series increased from 84 to 92, while recurring characters decreased from 58 to 50. This is a total of 142 LGBTQ characters, regular and recurring.
  • GLAAD also counted LGBTQ characters on original series that premiered on Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix. GLAAD found 45 series regulars and 20 recurring LGBTQ characters for a total of 65 characters. This is up from last year’s inaugural streaming count of 59 LGBTQ characters (43 regular and 16 recurring).
  • The number of regular and recurring transgender characters across all three platforms tracked has more than doubled, from seven characters last year to 16. There are three trans characters counted on broadcast, six on cable, and seven on streaming original series. Of the 16 characters, four are transgender men.
  • Bisexual representations on broadcast rose to 30%, up by 10 percentage points from last year. Bisexual representations also rose on streaming series, from 20% to 26%.
  • Each platform tracked (broadcast, cable, streaming) counts one character who is HIV-positive.
  • Cable and streaming platforms still need to include more racially diverse LGBTQ characters as a majority of LGBTQ regular and recurring characters on each platform (72% and 71% respectively) are counted as white.

In cumulative, general social surveys on sexual identity indicate that approximately 2.4% of the U.S. population identifies as homosexual and 3% identify as bisexual. That means the 4.8% representation (only includes regular characters) of homosexuals in American media is 100% greater than among the public, and the 30% representation of bisexuals is 1,000% greater.

In a pluralistic society, one would expect proportional representation of various groups. Clearly, homosexuals are over-represented and bisexuals are grossly over-represented by broadcast entertainment media. Therefore, one may conclude that there’s an alternative agenda. In this case, it appears that agenda is to not only normalize homosexual lifestyles but also to encourage the straight population to engage in bisexual experimentation — in particular, young and impressionable types.

In the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, a 2007 peer-reviewed article in the Journal on Homosexuality [“Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Content on Television“] made the following critical observation:

According to social cognitive theory (Bandura, 2001), one important way in which television influences viewers is by providing vicarious experiences on which to model beliefs, attitudes, and behavior when real-life experiences are more limited. A closely related idea is that the media—by depicting sexual scenarios that people might not be able to see anywhere else—provide scripts for enacting various sexual behaviors (Gagnon & Simon, 1973) such as people having sex with a new partner. Reliance on television shows for sexual scripts and television characters as models for behavior may be particularly strong among youth, who may not have much first-hand experience with sexuality, yet are starting to solidify their sexual identities and become interested in sexual relationships (Chapin, 2000). In fact, as many as one in five teens reports that “entertainment” is their most important source of sexual information (Gibbs, 1993 as cited in Brown & Steele, 1995).

4 Comments on Bisexuality in American Media: Enough Already! (NSFW/Graphic Content)

  1. Boycott it all. Write to the sponsors and threaten to dis their products everywhere. Flood FB with the stats. I think the percentage representation angle is a good one. It comes off as more data-driven then just complaining about them. It will be my strategy from now on. Thanks for the stats.

  2. TV has no bounds anymore. Unbelievable what is shown now. No longer part of the story, no longer serving a purpose, its just for its base value, gratuitous nudity for your kids to watch.

    • Gratuitous indeed. No rhyme or reason for any of it. A shot of the sky or wind in the trees would have been equally effective, probably better. I’ve taken to closing my eyes. You can usually tell when they’re finished.

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