Culture, in most societies, consists of characteristics such as liberalism, conservatives, free expression, risk-taking, political structures, competitiveness, and materialism. There are also certain ideologies that form the basis of culture. These include; democracy, egalitarianism, and individualism. The variety witnessed in culture is also a result of demographic diversity. Gay marriages have been portrayed differently in the photos and text collected from websites. The media portrayal ranges from negative to positive, majorly because a member of the community has long been in battles with the society trying to challenge the negative stereotypes against them. However, it was only until recently that the society began embracing homosexuals within the community resulting in a shift in media coverage of gays and lesbians (Kirste, 2007).
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Due to the general freedom existing in societies such as America, the media is used to air the voices and rights of gay people. The idea of gay and same-sex relationships is not condemned in America. In fact, same-sex marriages have been legalized in numerous states. The laws provide a mechanism to protect people from the personal relationship decisions that they make. For instance, it is hard to find the gay and lesbian community being discriminated against in public or under any circumstances simply because of the cover they receive from the law. However, there are certain societies where gays and lesbians are openly discriminated against. In such societies, the media is used to condemn such people and to make them feel rejected in society (Kirste, 2007). In some of the photos, gays and lesbians do not want to reveal their identity for fear of their lives.
The general view about marriage, therefore, is based on personal choice, not a societal necessity (Kirste, 2007). This means that people will not be forced to marry or coerced to make any such decision from social pressure; however, it is a personal choice. The only thing that is not encouraged when it comes to a personal relationship is early marriages. Children, before they reach the age of eighteen, cannot make any decision on their own. They stay under the direct care of their parents. They cannot be left to make a personal marriage decision (Filetti, 2001).
In American culture, high value is placed on individual self-reliance. People are encouraged to depend on themselves without having to be influenced by external forces. Therefore every decision that people make is highly influenced by their internal needs and dreams (Filetti, 2001). Everyone is encouraged to follow whatever they have passion for. It is the only way in which people can feel inspired to make positive contributions to society and feel happy about whatever they do. This is unlike collectivists cultures, where personal choices and passions are disregarded in society. In such societies, the aim is on group initiatives. People do things together, cooperate, and can make a decision on behalf of individuals (Filetti, 2001).
In most cases, situations that lead to long term friendships are not encouraged. Friendships are only expected to be casual without any attachments. They are not supposed to chain or entangle an individual to the point that they now feel obliged or having a duty to pay to the other partner. There is, therefore, that general avoidance of interdependence in relationships (Filetti, 2001).
The media in American culture, however, advocates for some principles to be observed in family and personal relationships. The first thing is happiness. In order for people to be very productive in life and venture into risks in a bid to follow their dreams, they have to be happy. Happiness begins from personal relationships by respecting the decision that people, which leads to their happiness. This is why there are very many people who live public lives that have gone public about their sexual orientation. It is, in fact, stigmatized to hide one’s orientation. Some of these orientations are not a result of psychological problems. The idea of gay and same-sex relationships is not condemned in American media.
Generally, people would interact without developing any emotional attachment or hatred for the personal relationship decision that their neighbors make. Same-sex couples, as well as straight couples and single individuals, can become friends without any emotional attachment. These incidences are very common in residential areas and in colleges. It is also a common thing in American culture to find a man a woman not yet married living together as housemates and roommates. Sometimes these relationships end up into marriage while sometimes they end up into breakups. The freedom to do all these things without being bothered by social norms and standards is what makes the culture of America so unique.
According to other cultures, some of these things which are permissible in American culture are a complete taboo. This means that they are found abnormal and therefore prohibited by laws. The issue of remarrying is stigmatized in many other cultures all across the world.
Filetti, J. S. (2001). From Lizzie Borden to Lorena Bobbitt: Violent Women and Gendered Justice. Journal of American Culture, 471–484.
Kirste, L. (2007). Collective Effort: Archiving LGBT Moving Images. Cinema Journal , 134-140.