Young & Hungry (and gay)
Elliot park from Freeform’s Young & Hungry is a middle aged openly-gay man living in San Fransisco. The show wrote his character based off of the handbook of gay stereotypes. By developing a gay character to only live up to his stereotypes, Young & Hungry is setting back the gay community.
Elliot is right hand man of his boss, Josh, who is a very successful man. Elliot is not only “the gay best friend” to Josh, but he hits on him as well. He openly declares his crush on Josh even though he knows he is straight. This stereotype, while sometimes funny, has very negative effects on the lives of gay men. Some straight men feel uncomfortable around gays because they fear being hit on by a man. This show just reinforces this irrational fear and is a major setback for the progression and acceptance of gays in everyday society.
Elliot states that he “hasn’t liked girls since high school” and is very open about his sexuality to everyone except for his parents. Being gay is not a choice and Elliot does not quite transmit that message. When his parents come to visit, Elliot pretends to be straight out of fear of his parents’ disapproval. This 42 year old man has known he was gay since high school and is STILL too afraid to tell his parents. When the youth who are struggling with their sexuality or are too afraid to come out, see this show, their fears will be reinforced and they are more likely to hide their feelings. TV often portrays parents’ disapproval of their child’s sexuality rather than acceptance of them. Times have changed and most parents love their children regardless of their sexual preferences. TV needs to enforce openness and love from parents towards their LGBTQ children rather than closed mindedness in order to protect the youth from a life of fearing their sexuality.
Everybody knows the stereotypical gay and Elliot successfully conforms to every one of them. He is obsessed with fashion and his appearance and is very self-conscious about his body. His diction and tone can only really be described as gay because that’s exactly how he sounds. When Elliot gets excited, he squeals and jumps up and down while clapping his hands. He is more feminine than the females on the TV show. This stereotype is probably the most detrimental to the gay community. Feminine men don’t have to be gay and gay men don’t have to be feminine. This show does anything but refute that idea. Later in the series when Elliot gets a boyfriend, he is basically a replica of Elliot but a different race. People often struggle with their sexuality when they don’t fall beneath the stereotypes of their sexuality. People can’t assume the sexuality of someone based on how they act because the LGBTQ community has a spectrum of personalities, not just the ones that are seen on TV.
Overall, Elliot embodies every gay stereotype that is plastered all over television. The portrayal of what it means to be gay in Young & Hungry is way off and very shallow minded. The LGBTQ community is negatively affected by stereotypes that put an entire sexuality into one personality type. Coming to terms with one’s sexuality can be very confusing, and when the entertainment media engraves ideas and stereotypes into the minds of the youth, the confusion can multiply. A TV show should have a masculine football player whose parents love him even though he is gay. He should have male friends who are all open and supportive of his sexuality. Why can’t love and acceptance be the norm? Members of the LGBTQ community need to see all of the variances that there are to sexuality. It’s not just black and white, it’s a spectrum of colors… Or maybe a rainbow.