Saturday, December 21, 2002

We're Also Responsible For Acne & Feelings of Social Inadequacy

According to a December 17th column by Joan Ryan in the San Francisco Chronicle conservatives are the culprits for the rise in ant-gay bullying in the schools:

"There's been a polarization of sexuality over the past 20 years, so the anti-gay bullying has gotten progressively worse," says Dr. Lynn Ponton, a UC San Francisco psychiatry professor and author of "The Sex Lives of Teenagers."

"There are more explicit images in the media," she says, "and at the same time more rigid views (about sexuality) from the right wing and churches."

Since the claim that "anti-gay bullying has gotten progressively worse" in the last twenty years is not backed by any evidence I have a hard time accepting it at face value. But assume for the sake of argument that it is true. What does that say about the efforts of schools to teach diversity, tolerance, and respect for those who are different? These efforts have seemed to consume more and more of the education establishment's attention during the last twenty years but these results would seem to indicate they have failed at least in one area.

And as much as I would like to believe that the teens of today are influenced by the right wing and churches I gotta think that entertainment, in particular movies and music, plays a much larger role in guiding their decisions and actions. So why no finger pointing at Hollywood for it's often stereotypical portrayal of gays or the music industry, particularly rap which has a history of anti-gay messages?