This past week the topic in my two Intro Psych classes has been Identity, Self-Expression and Behaviour Modification. On the one hand we have not covered as much syllabus material as I would have liked, however I would not change the way these classes have gone this week "for love nor money"!
Yesterday, a group of students, male and female, hyjacked my early afternoon class! They had a question in mind, backed up by TV clips and other examples. They stayed right on topic. . .talking about each person's identity - how we see ourselves and how we express or communicate our persona to others in our day-in/day-out communication and interaction with others. . . and what we can and maybe should do to change our behavior - the way we come across to others.
One of the strong examples they used was how gay lifestyle is portrayed on TV and gay self-produced TV programs and how ordinary people - straight and gay - perceive the images, identity, behaviour shown as part of being gay, living a gay lifestyle. As examples of this they used clips from programming on LOGO - the gay TV channel on cable. What they centered in on was RuPaul's Drag Race. . .!
When they began my stomach dropped to my feet: OHMYSWEETLORD. . .not drag queens! But I am very proud of them: they handled this very well. First off they acknowleged that drag queens are not totally the gay scene, and RuPaul her/himself does not come off as a particularly nice person. . .s/he is mean, sarcastic, cruel, terribly narcissistic, etc etc. . and that is the persona s/he chooses to portray. . . "Maybe it is all an act, but that is the idea many people have about how/what gay guys are!" [ Oh I hope not!]
Have you ever watched RuPaul, the Logo Channel? I confess I have a hard time, personally, with portrayal of being gay. . . .if that is how they see us. They used some of the principles commonly heard in the fields of nutrition. . .mainly "We are what we eat." If this is the way these people live, day in/day out. . if these are their goals, aims and desires, if this is how they talk and treat one another "because this is how it is". . .this is the kind of person they young guys are going to become.
They brought out that too often being gay and lesbian is shown this way on gay-tv because the ordinary run-of-the-mill gays and lesbians live/lead very boring lives. "Most gays and lesbians are just like us. . with the exception of 'the object of their affections'. Without that aspect you cannot pick them out in a crowd."
They did a great job and I am very proud of them. They were not trying to impress me or anyone else; they were talking about these things from their own real lives. I've told them on several occasions "I love you all dearly, I think you are the best things since sliced bread. . .LOL. . .and I am thrilled I do not have to take any of you home with me at the end of the day. . . " hahahahaas all over the place. . .
Later on in the office I share with two other guys I turned on the Logo TV Channel and found The RuPaul Drag Race. . . . watched it and was embarrassed to death. . .almost. No way I would want anyone to think this is what it means to be gay. . . that gay guys are like this! I hope I am not intolerant. . . that I can be compassionate toward them, etc. . .all the good things we hope to be with one another. . . but I am terribly grateful I do not have a need or desire to do drag.
So any reactions, comments, experiences, ideas as I asked yesterday, would be very helpful for me
at this time. . . . justin