Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Televised gender depictions of same-sex couples: A linguistic inquiry word count analysis
by Von Ehwegen, Jennifer, M.A., University of South Dakota, 2014, 144; 1561678
Abstract (Summary)

Television holds the power to transmit social norms and mores regarding what are considered legitimate forms of gender and sexual identities, tending to misrepresent those who do not conform to these conceptions. The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community is often misrepresented in this manner. Gender remains one of the main stereotypes for LGBT individuals, specifically, that these individuals are gender-inverted, creating masculine lesbians and feminine gay men. In recent years, there have been multiple television series purported to be countering these stereotypical depictions, described as being "gay friendly." However, questions remain whether depictions of same-sex couples are being accurately portrayed, or if there is still a subscription to heteronormative models for love, relationships, and familial structures. Under the theoretical framework of cultivation theory, this message system analysis study examined television depictions of thirteen gay male and lesbian same-sex couples and their gender depictions that have aired since 2000. The goal of the study was to determine if these couples were placed in heteronormative gender roles through their speech. Dialogue was analyzed using the computerized text analysis software program, Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC). Results from the study indicated that over two-thirds of same-sex couples in the sample were depicted in heteronormative gender roles through their speech patterns, with one member speaking in a masculine manner and the other speaking in a feminine manner. Implications of these depictions are offered along with possible explanations and ways to avoid this heteronormative gendering of same-sex couples.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Semmler, Shane M.
Commitee: Ehlers, Sarah, McKay-Semmler, Kelly
School: University of South Dakota
Department: Communication Studies
School Location: United States -- South Dakota
Source: MAI 53/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Communication, GLBT Studies, Mass communications, Gender studies
Keywords: Computerized text analysis, Cultivation theory, Gender, Linguistic inquiry and word count, Same-sex couples, Television
Publication Number: 1561678
ISBN: 978-1-321-07281-5
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