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Cultivation theory and media normalisation michael a

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Cultivation theory and Media NormalisationMichael, a recent gender studies postgraduate, expressed the following:9
“I’d just like to see it a bit more normalised… But you know there’s the flip side ofthat where you don’t want to belittle people’s struggles, because obviously there arestill massive impacts of transitions, especially with young people, some of them getdisowned by their families, it’s a real situation. So you have to have a healthybalance, I think, of representation of people’s struggles, but also of those who havebeen able to lead successful lives without the main focus being on a “sex change”,or experiencing negative shit as well. So I’d like to see more of a balance I think.”Cameron added:“It’d just be nice to see some positivity and pride. And I think that’s unfortunatelywhat a lot of trans movies are missing. It’s all about “it sucks for us”, and there’s alot of pity, and awkward stuff. It’d be nice to see some pride and some happinessand some good stories. Because then I think people will be more inclined and moreencouraged to be more positive to trans people because they can see other peoplebehaving that way.”I believe both Michael and Cameron have touched on important points here, whichcorrelate toThe cyclical influence of trans violence in relation to media representationgraph, the results of theTrans Media Watchsurvey, and also to Carter and Weaver’scultivation theory research. While the pervasive image of the trans person as a victim maynot necessarily have a direct influence over real life violence against trans people, thenormalisation of fictional trans character as victims places trans people in a social categoryof “otherness”. And while we don’t want to, as Michael said, “belittle people’s struggles,”the introduction of the normalisation of trans characters (whose gender identity is a smallerpart of their much broader narrative function) can help eradicate the social “otherness”trans people feel in real life. In this sense, the victimisation and vilification of transcharacters can have dual negative functions within the context of cultivation theory. Thefrequent vilification of trans characters can contribute to a sense of insecurity andvenerability felt by cisgender audience members, wherein the trans person represents athreat that can translate into the real life deviant sectors of society. In addition, thevictimisation of trans character can, as most of my interviewees expressed, contribute tofeelings of depression, otherness, fear, and social exclusion, especially in young transpeople who have not yet built up a supportive social structure and subsequently obtainmuch of their impressions of their identity from the media. James revealed:10

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