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Focus on the Family
October 4, 2001 10:30 AM   Subscribe

Focus on the Family says ABC’s The Drew Carey Show propagandizes "the idea that men enjoy watching lesbian sex." Instead of showing the kiss, the camera pans slowly around to show the male cast and crew in a voyeuristic trance. "To a lot of people, Drew Carey represents middle America, and what you see here is perversions working their way through the TV and this supposed middle American icon"
Among religious conservatives in general there is a dislike of ABC and parent Disney programming. The conservative American Family Association thinks Christians should boycott Disney. Are these groups just a bunch of religious fuddy-duddies or do they have a valid gripe?
posted by wfrgms (45 comments total)

 
But men do enjoy watching lesbian sex ...
Men find women attractive. Therefore, it's only logical to assume that women would find women attractive.
... yea ... that's the ticket
posted by Dillenger69 at 10:34 AM on October 4, 2001


AND as a counterpoint, women that I have talked to have a secret enjoyment of images of males in intimate situations with other males. . .although I think that it will be awhile before we see a Will and Grace with this kind of thing. . .
posted by Danf at 10:39 AM on October 4, 2001


They simply do not have their pulse on the modern American man. That, or perhaps conservative Christian fundamentalists are all closet gays and that's why they don't enjoy watching lesbian sex.
posted by fleener at 10:40 AM on October 4, 2001


Those stupid groups can suck it. I like Drew Carey. Did anyone see last night whose line is it anyway? I almost pissed my pants.... because it was so funny not because I have a bladder problem.
posted by aj100 at 10:43 AM on October 4, 2001


"..Drew Carey represents middle America.."
I enjoy watching lesbian sex, as much as anyone in middle America; I'm on the west coast of Canada.

As far as entertainment becoming propaganda, Hollywood is just catering to what the other 49% of Americans want to see. The religious have their shows about angels and have taken over Sunday morning television, the pagans have ABC.
posted by cburton at 10:51 AM on October 4, 2001


Are these groups just a bunch of religious fuddy-duddies or do they have a valid gripe?

That would be a rhetorical question, right?
posted by eyeballkid at 10:53 AM on October 4, 2001


I thought that they were already boycotting Disney? On a related story. Apparently the Family Research Council is claiming that Bush is too pro gay
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:55 AM on October 4, 2001


As long as the lesbians don't look like the lesbians I know in real life, then yes, men do enjoy watching.
posted by Hugh2d2 at 10:57 AM on October 4, 2001


i really hope that the quote was supposed to say that the Drew Carey SHOW represents middle America, or else they have no idea what the man is like. he frequents strip joints and dates strippers, and isn't ashamed of it. he believes that its simply healthy male behavior.
posted by mich9139 at 10:58 AM on October 4, 2001


My favorite Drew Carey moment. . when a woman was sitting on her vibrating pager and repeatedly calling her own number. . .I guess this was OK with Focus on the Family. . .Drew Carey has some pretty subversive stuff, cloaked in a middle american setting.
posted by Danf at 11:06 AM on October 4, 2001


hey, why is Drew Carey getting all the attention when there was a lesbian kiss on Buffy the other night? and the lesbians were shown in bed together. and they referred to each other affectionately. it's not fair. FOF needs to spread out their craziness a little more.
posted by tolkhan at 11:09 AM on October 4, 2001


The AFA is on drugs.
posted by trioperative at 11:13 AM on October 4, 2001


Willow and Tara kissing on Buffy probably doesn't get the same attention because it's handled in a way that treats lesbian sexuality as normal—not as "two chicks getting it on" for a male heterosexual gaze.
posted by acornface at 11:14 AM on October 4, 2001


Before passing judgement I would have to see the tapes of women making love to women. What do they do for the money shot? Ask a woman: would you rather have one man with another woman in bed with you or you with two men?
posted by Postroad at 11:19 AM on October 4, 2001


Do men really like to view hot lesbo action? I'm in Missouri - the AFA will have to show me the evidence.

Maybe twice!
posted by UncleFes at 11:23 AM on October 4, 2001


Danf, you've got a good point with:

>> AND as a counterpoint, women that I have talked to have a secret enjoyment of images of males in intimate situations with other males <<

A buddy of mine and I go at it (insert your favourite euphemism here), and his wife and my girlfriend-and-soon-to-be-wife watch. I don't surprise easily, but their enthusiasm for that took me aback the first time. And I've noticed that from other females as well.

But, I'm Just Weird, so your mileage may vary.
posted by ebarker at 11:26 AM on October 4, 2001


Ok, maybe I like watching pretty girls, but there are some of us who validly think the gay/lesbian thing isn't something we want our children to see. I mean, if you go too far, everything starts getting disgusting.
posted by Counselco at 11:27 AM on October 4, 2001


Media critics say when programs try to change public opinion,

This would be a good point if public opinion would be changed by said program. Public opinion is already the same as the scene.
Sleepin' Jesus, it was a joke about how goofy, kind of dumb, beer drinking, regular guys enjoy the idea of "two Hot Chicks kissing" and it works because, well, that's true
posted by srw12 at 11:29 AM on October 4, 2001


ebarker and danf are correct about women liking to watch two men together. In fact there's a rather decent sized writing community of women that write about just that thing.

Personally I see nothing wrong with either men or women getting aroused by seeing two members of the opposite sex of the watcher making love.

As for Counselco's concern about children watching gay and lesbian couples, are you saying that you'd let your children watch heterosexual couples?

I'd much rather have my kid interested in sex and love than in war and destruction. Then again, as a parent I do my best to make sure my daughter doesn't get exposed to things that are too adult for her. I don't think any child needs to watch explicit sex, regardless of whether or not it's straight or homosexual sex. Seeing two people in a loving relationship, however, is another matter entirely and I see nothing wrong with allowing kids to see that not all of the world is straight.
posted by calyirose at 11:36 AM on October 4, 2001


Their gripe is valid from the perspective of their organisation -- a Christian group which interprets scripture to be in condemnation of homosexual behaviour. They believe that it is wrong, they believe that a lot of Americans agree, which is true. The only question is whether or not television programming and scheduling should reflect this not-as-narrow-as-you-may-think perspective on such issues, or if it shouldn't.

It's largely a matter of money: if the boycott of Disney/Capital Cities/ABC ever becomes big enough that it costs them revenue dollars (advertisers go elsewhere because viewership is down) then it would be a mistake for the network to ignore that there is an audience that isn't being reached by the programming that they air, and to amend their programming thusly. But we know from previous boycotts called by similar groups (especially the NBC/Paramount boycott which has never been called off, all over the flick Last Temptation of Christ) that this is unlikely.

Therefore, the only answer to give FotF, the AFA and anyone else who believes that Drew Carey's show is immoral is the same one that you give to the people who believe that Drew Carey is not entertaining: change the channel or turn off the set. There are hundreds of options to the Drew Carey show, and I'm sure that with some effort, everyone can find something that is more appealing to their sensibilties, whatever they may happen to be founded upon.
posted by Dreama at 11:36 AM on October 4, 2001


Focus on the family has forgotten amout Middle Ameria's right to change the channel. if we don't like it, we don't watch it.

as an example of this in action, when was the last time you purposefully set out to watch an infomercial?

that's what I thought.
posted by presto at 11:38 AM on October 4, 2001


LOL. They don't seem to mind that all the characters on the show are drunks....
posted by electro at 11:46 AM on October 4, 2001


weregays???? LOL!!!! I can't stop laughing. That Ellen and her evil powers... uh huh sure, she couldn't even keep Ann Hesch(sp?) from deciding she was straight.

Counselco, that site has to be a joke. how can someone be that dumb.
posted by srw12 at 11:52 AM on October 4, 2001


Ok, maybe I like watching pretty girls, but there are some of us who validly think the gay/lesbian thing isn't something we want our children to see. I mean, if you go too far, everything starts getting disgusting.

Counselco--

First off, I'm averse to the idea of a valid argument for children not seeing 'the gay/lesbian thing.' Believe it or not, gays and lesbians are human beings just like you and me, they have feelings just like you and me, they fall in love just like you and me. And while they may not have sex the same way you and I do, that's not what's at issue here. Sure, no one's condoning the sight of homosexual intercourse, but then no one's pushing for hetero intercourse on prime time either.

Second, likening homosexual love in any degree to Rotten.com is a just plain rotten thing to do. And, well, flame-bait. After all, no one is linking hetero sex to pictures of dead babies or roadkill. And to tell you the truth, if you go too far in any sexual orientation, be it homo- hetero- bi- tri- whatever, it can get damn disgusting. Once again, I don't think this is a situation where you can justifiably single out homosexuals. Not that such a situation exists.
posted by dogmatic at 11:58 AM on October 4, 2001


Focus on the Family can attack. But brilliant people know how to respond. Of course, FotF will then retaliate.

Stolen from this barren thread in the Humor section on Plastic.
posted by bruceo at 12:04 PM on October 4, 2001


calyirose: I'd rather my children more interested in math or science or reading or photography or computers (wait, maybe not computers) than EITHER war OR sex.

Dreama: you raise a good point, but you're off about the "just change the channel" argument. That works for the moral relativists like most MeFi-ers, but clearly FotF is a morally absolutist organization. They see things in terms of black-and-white, you (and most others here) see grays.

I hope FotF keeps it up. SOMEONE needs to stand up to television in general (heck, and movies and music, too), and draw some lines. Not just about sex, but how about taste? How about quality?

Try this: give up TV for... oh, I dunno... six months. Really, it's not that hard. And then, one day, flip on the tube and watch whatever's on. I gurarantee it won't be funny. It will be insipid, dull, lifeless, and boring. Virtually ALL television is so painfully awful, so unremittingly empty, so valueless, it is the intellectual (and moral and emotional) equivalent of eating wallpaper paste.

No, that's too kind. Wallpaper paste isn't addictive and harmful...
posted by terceiro at 12:33 PM on October 4, 2001


terceiro - I quite agree. I don't own a TV. When I see a program at a friend's house, I'm always amazed at how disappointing the quality is, even with my low expectations.

I do have to wonder why anyone is surprised to find that most guys enjoy watching lesbians. It's obvious - hetero guys like seeing women doing sexy things - this way, they don't have to consciously ignore the 50% of the view wasted on some other guy. </joke>
posted by adamsc at 1:11 PM on October 4, 2001


I didn't see the Drew Carey show in question, so I'm generalizing, but I think probably the group most maligned (if any) are the lesbian viewers, who see their romantic proclivities yet again sexualized for the straight male audience.
posted by jess at 1:18 PM on October 4, 2001


The show portrayed lesbianism (and male heterosexual fascination with lesbianism) as healthy and - more importantly - normal sexual behavior. This reflects America's taste in entertainment, but it also serves to reinforce the social norms underlying that taste.

For many, Television serves as a window into the views of the rest of society. If television portrays a certain behavior as commonplace, viewers begin to think that the rest of society treats that behavior as commonplace. They get used to seeing the behavior, and, to varying degrees, they react the way that they think society (as portrayed by TV) wants them to react. Obviously, younger viewers are more susceptible to this sort of thing.

FOTF believes that anything but monogamous sexual activity is aberrant behavior. Once you accept that (I know that's contentious, but think pluralism), it's not too hard to see why they don't like to see lesbianism portrayed as normal on a show that seems to reflect the values of middle America.

You can't argue that a lot of pornographic material features lesbian activity. Speaking as a former teenaged male, I strongly believe that it's easier to get into pornography if you think it's "normal" behavior for your age. And TV definitely influences your perception of that.

Anyway, FotF is not trying to shut down ABC. By challenging the appearance of societal acceptance, they're challenging these social norms where they live. Everybody who reads about their protest, everybody who talks about it at dinner or with friends, at least knows that some part of society disagrees with the values being shown on TV. If FOTF happens to sway the producers of Drew Carey, so much the better. But I don't think that's their goal.
posted by gd779 at 2:06 PM on October 4, 2001


John 7:7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil.
posted by aaronshaf at 2:09 PM on October 4, 2001


John 7:7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil.
posted by aaronshaf at 2:09 PM on October 4, 2001


the idea that men enjoy watching lesbian sex

Well, duh!

You know even the hardcore male FotF'ers are hoping the leadership tones it down on this one.
posted by themikeb at 2:15 PM on October 4, 2001


Of course they are, because all of those Christians are just hypocrites who secretly indulge in everything that they openly condemn. No one actually has a solid belief system, convictions or a guiding sense or morality, it's just not possible.

Could we be a little more condescending and arrogant?
posted by Dreama at 2:38 PM on October 4, 2001


Forget Focus on the Family- I think Walt Disney himself would have choked on his own spit. (I happen to be old enough to remember him).......You have to remember that for years and years the name Disney had been associated with movies and programming aimed specifically at families and children......so in a way this is a double slap in the face to conservatives.

Now I will be honest and tell you I do think that the boundaries of sex are marriage, period(hey, why just pick on lesbians?) But I will also tell you that i have ALWAYS hated Disney and my dislike of them has very little to do with the topic on hand.
They are cheesy formulaic bottomline bottomfeeders looking for ways to siphon off a fast buck off the american family while traumatizing children(remember Bambi's mama? ) I don't think I ever made it out of one disney movie without crying(well, maybe not the love bug movies-but those were just STOOPID!)

So if disney dropped off the face of the planet a good time would be had by all if it were up to ME.
posted by bunnyfire at 3:05 PM on October 4, 2001


[begin sounding like a conservative]
Actually, I think sex ought to be restricted to wedlock.
[/end sounding like a conservative]
[begin sounding like a radical]
Therefore, I think gays ought to be able to get married.
[/end sounding like a radical]
posted by thomas j wise at 3:51 PM on October 4, 2001


I just remembered something my mother once told me about a book published by FOF: it had a section on homosexuality at the end, which came with "explicit stuff" warnings. According to my mother, it was indeed explicit--so explicit that it qualified as hardcore pornography, and she refused to keep the book in the house! This would have been several years ago (1980s, maybe?). Anyone recognize the book?

Much of this reminds me of the Victorian "escaped nun" genre--Maria Monk, Rebecca Reed, Barbara Urbryk, Edith O'Gorman, etc.--and its explicit representations of sadism, seduction, and the like. All aimed at supposedly God-fearing Protestants, who seem to have enjoyed a solid dose of softcore pornography with their anti-Catholicism.
posted by thomas j wise at 3:57 PM on October 4, 2001


Oh heck. Some guy has a crew cut and he automatically has 50's values? Give me a break.
posted by ilsa at 4:02 PM on October 4, 2001


Lesbians! Hooo-wah, lesbians!
posted by aaron at 4:51 PM on October 4, 2001


To a lot of people, Drew Carey represents middle America

ROTFL That is TOO funny. Carey tries to be as deviant (in a good way) as The Simpsons. He's not as successful (who is?), but he has his moments. I can't believe anyone is actually naive enough to take him straight, as "middle America!"

Now I will be honest and tell you I do think that the boundaries of sex are marriage

You know, I've often heard that that is true...and that they are tough boundaries indeed, for hardly ANY sex gets in!
posted by rushmc at 6:01 PM on October 4, 2001


I'd rather my children more interested in math or science or reading or photography or computers (wait, maybe not computers) than EITHER war OR sex.

And THAT, my friends, is the root of all that is wrong with our society (as well as some of what is right with it).
posted by rushmc at 6:03 PM on October 4, 2001


Rushmc, you obviously don't know my husband and me..............

the reason I put that in about the boundaries is I thought it was only fair to let people know what my own viewpoint was regarding sexual mores. Altho I do believe sex belongs in marriage, I also believe that there needs to be plenty of it there- as a matter of fact the Bible actually commands husbands and wives not to hold out on EACH OTHER. Yep, you heard me-hubby can't plead a headache all the time EITHER.

Betcha didn't know THAT.
posted by bunnyfire at 6:29 PM on October 4, 2001


I think it might also be worrisome if the photography became equal with the sex. For the record, I think the popularity of slash does prove that it's not only males who enjoy fantasy same sex action. Of course, does that mean we need a theory of the female gaze?
posted by Charmian at 12:36 AM on October 5, 2001


cheesy formulaic bottomline bottomfeeders looking for ways to siphon off a fast buck off the american family while traumatizing children

Hey - quit peeking at my latest business plan!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:09 AM on October 5, 2001


Altho I do believe sex belongs in marriage, I also believe that there needs to be plenty of it there- as a matter of fact the Bible actually commands husbands and wives not to hold out on EACH OTHER. Yep, you heard me-hubby can't plead a headache all the time EITHER.

Marriage is not a sex contract. My cousin's ex-husband believed that, and so he used to rape her. That's right. A wedding band doesn't stop it from being rape. It's amazing how many people don't realize that.

Sex with an unwilling partner is sex with an unwilling partner. Now there's nothing wrong with trying to seduce your spouse, but when it's forced - eww. How could that be fun, anyway? Get some dirty magazines and be done with it if you need it that bad to not wait for the good stuff.
posted by phoenix enflamed at 2:49 PM on October 5, 2001


Anybody who would FORCE it on anybody is a rapist. Period.
Believe it or not God isn't a right winger either. Shocked me too.....again, the point I was trying to make was that GOD DOESN'T HATE SEX!

I mean, come on, He IS the one who came up with the idea, designed the parts, decided who got what, so on and so forth.....so let's see, He is either seen as an old fuddy -duddy who wants sex to be boring, or a misogynist who made sex for men to hurt women with,....

DO WE SEE A PATTERN HERE????????????????

I used to sleep around when I was a stupid single back in the seventies. I did not enjoy it.
I became a Christian, and I actually managed to stay celibate for over three years (and not for lack of opportunity I must say). I then married a virgin(!) and here is the part that you will be totally shocked at-from day one-and yes, that would be the honeymoon nite-it has been everything I could have hoped for and then some. Communication, creativity, satisfaction,(yes, inEVERY meaning of the term) -if there were a contest in this area I assure you we would have won it.

So make fun of my Christian monogamy if you like, feel sorry for my narrowmindedness if you must-but I am having way too much fun to care.
And God approves heartily.
If you don't believe me, read Song of Solomon in the Bible-the imagery is not that subtle.

a blushing bunny
posted by bunnyfire at 6:04 PM on October 5, 2001


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