Tagged: counter-stereotype; women; media

Representation and SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identification)


I find I am quite exasperated reading academic work on gender or sexual representation.

There is much discussion about male and female representation in medial culture, in addition to homosexuality or heterosexuality. Everything in neat binary categories.

One category if you have certain chromosomes, a penis and testes and another if you don’t. One category if you are attracted to the same sex and another if you’re not.

And all the while lamenting on the ‘marginalized’ of society and how communication and cultural studies should seek to emancipate individuals from oppression.

Isn’t this a little hypocritical when in reality there is an entire spectrum of sexualities and genders that are not being acknowledged in academic discourse? isn’t that oppressive?

Indeed even the language used in such discussions “opposite-sex attraction” implies a binary.

When we are born we are defined as ‘boy’ or a ‘girl’ on our government paperwork that will be used for the rest of our life.

When we are in public spaces, we have to make a decision on whether it is more acceptable to use the ‘men’s’ toilet or the ‘women’s’

When we are given forms  we are asked to tick one of TWO boxes: M or F.

When we are in social situations, if we are not attracted to a member of what could be perceived as the ‘opposite-sex’, it will be assumed that there is only one alternative.

It is endless…

Media culture representation discourse focuses on men or women, gay or straight and discusses the aetiology of these artificial social constructs, but not the continuum of alternative possibilities.

Gender has nothing to do with binary categories or medical dictionary definitions and sexuality is far more complex than just “who “you are attracted to, or if indeed you are attracted to anyone at all.

Our society needs some additional constructing apparently, because the limited binary role models we currently have are not adequate or inclusive.

Who we are, who we identify as, is affected by our biology, and our environment. Our gender and sexuality reflect the complexities of these relationships that two simple categories do not adequately encompass.

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Counter-stereotype Women in Media

Political & Celebrity Public Figures:

  • Sandra Oh
  • Margaret Cho
  • Jenny Shimizu
  • Aung San Suu Kyi
  • Lucy Liu
  • Fann Wong
  • Aishwarya Rai (Bachchan)
  • Sheetal Sheth
  • Gong Li
  • Kelly Hu
  • Shu Qi
  • Devon Aoki
  • Grace Park
  • Joan Chen
  • Lynn Chen
  • Karin Anna Cheung
  • Kieu Chinh
  • Tamlyn Tomita
  • Jessica Yu
  • Michelle Krusiec
  • Hiep Thi Le
  • Lisa Ling
  • Marie Matiko
  • Ming-Na (Wen-Zee)
  • SuChin Pak
  • Chandra Wilson
  • Michaëlle Jean
  • Dana Owens (Queen Latifah)
  • Naomi Campbell
  • Iimaan Maxamed Cabdulmajiid (Imam)
  • Pam Grier
  • Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
  • Tyra Banks (?)
  • Carol Diann Johnson (Diahann Carroll)
  • Whoopi Goldberg
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Halle Berry
  • Michelle Obama
  • Jada Koren Pinkett Smith
  • Maya Rudolph
  • Shanaze Reade
  • Raven-Symoné
  • Roasario Dawson
  • Nikki Blonsky
  • Rachel Ray
  • Suzy Chaffee
  • Natalie Portman
  • Emma Watson
  • Keira Knightley
  • Lisa LaFlamme
  • Claire Martin
  • Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (Lady Gaga)
  • Ellen Degenres
  • Nikki Yanofsky
  • Adele Laurie Blue Adkins (ADELE)
  • Alecia Beth Moore (Pink)
  • Mariska Hargitay
  • Angelina Jolie
  • Wendy Mesley
  • Mary Walsh
  • K D Lang

Behind the scenes:

  • Joan Sauers (script editor)
  • Deepa Mehta (film director)
  • Temple Grandin (author)
  • Lubna Hussein (journalist)
  • Wajeha al-Hawaidar (author)

0ther suggestions:

  • bell hooks
  • Arundati Roy
  • Lisa Nakamura
  • Sherene Razack
  • Sunera Thobani
  • Sook-Yin Lee
  • Alice Dreger
  • Lera Borditsky
  • Sonya JF Barnett
  • Heather Jarvis
  • Faith Gemmill
  • Monica Vela