Post-gay television: LGBTQ representation and the negotiation of ‘normal’ in MTV’s Faking It

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18 Citations (Scopus)


LGBTQ representation has dramatically increased on US television over the past two decades. While many media scholars highlight the importance of LGBTQ characters moving from television’s margins to the mainstream, others critique this increase in visibility. They argue that media mainstreaming promotes neoliberalism through post-gay or post-queer sensibilities. This article moves beyond quantitative studies of LGBTQ representation to map and interrogate neoliberal discourses within narrative television produced in the United States. It examines how a specific set of post-gay politics characterized by themes of ‘tolerance, acceptance and genuine love’ mask a troubling politics of normalization. This article demonstrates how these ideas have been reproduced in adult gay and lesbian characters on mainstream US television series, and subsequently negotiated by the gender and sexually diverse youth of contemporary teen television. Taking MTV’s Faking It as a primary case study, this article demonstrates how youth-oriented media both embrace and critique the neoliberal ideology of the post-gay era.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)428-443
Number of pages16
JournalMedia, Culture and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • diversity
  • neoliberalism
  • post-gay
  • teen television
  • television studies

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