Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Does Tom Daley show progressive modern attitude?

This isn't fictional media, but a really interesting case study nonetheless in the mediation of sexual image, and how social media equip celebrities (and everyone else!) to at least attempt to mediate and control their public identity and responses to their 'outing'. There has been much media commentary on this - its made the front page of most papers today - with the sentiment that things will only be truly improved when this isn't a story worthy of note or comment expressed in much of the coverage.
Even the Daily Mail managed to avoid overt homophobia; the paper that gave a home to the hateful column attacking Stephen Gately on the day of his funeral lauded Daley as 'frank and fearless'.

Social media can be a very hostile environment too; this Huffington Post article (blocked by the web filter in school as I type this, somewhat ironically) gathers together some of the homophobic tweets that were outnumbered by the overwhelming messages of support.
One of the many interesting articles on this noted the reluctance to accept the bisexual identity Daley's statement basically laid out, with 'gay relationship' being the key to most reports:
But the mainstream media can't quite get it straight, in any sense of the phrase. Does this mean Daley has "come out", as the Huffington Post has asserted? Or that he is merely in a "gay relationship" the staid and cautious phrase used by the Telegraph and ITV? Likewise, the LGBT media isn't much clearer on the matter, and instead seems intent on claiming Daley as a new gay icon – even the UK's largest LGBT news agency Pink News earlier used the headline (interestingly, since corrected but visible in the URL): "Tom Daley comes out as gay".
But hang on a minute, he never said that. Let's revert to his YouTube message of five minutes and 26 seconds where he does not once mention the word "gay", nor the phrases "gay relationship" or "coming out". Instead, he refers to wanting to be honest; the fact that he has been vague but never lied about his personal life to the media and doesn't intend to start now, and most importantly, expresses his desire to avoid being labelled by other people. So what do the media go do? Why, label him of course. (Nichi Hodgson in The Guardian)
Any thoughts, add as a comment.
Here's Daley's video:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please note all comments are moderated