The ideas of sexism and homophobia are still considered to be one of the most burning ones and the most difficult to analyze. Lots of people cannot comprehend how people of the same sex may create couple, bring up children, and be a separate family institution. Female oppression and gay humiliation touch upon race and ethnic lines (Sex, Lies and Stereotypes), and this problem cannot but bother so many people. The exhibition under consideration, Sex, Lies and Stereotypes, is aimed to prove how unfair but still constant discrimination of people is; and several illustrative posters like Women Are Not Chicks or Oh, So That Explains the Differences in Our Salaries demonstrate how burning the topic can be and underline that so many people of different age and gender are already in these discussions. People try to use their sexuality to its full extent in order to achieve the desirable goals and meet their demands: diets, comparisons, lies, and suggestions create certain limits for human achievements, and people are eager to find different approaches to overcome them, but still, they cannot comprehend that they themselves create these limitations and suffer.
Lots of sophisticated scholars determine “homophobia as a cause of sexism, heterosexism, and racism” (Murphy 191). As we know, phobia means fear, and sometimes, this fear may be conscious, but sometimes, this fear is regarded as unconscious. Nowadays, lots of men are still afraid of their own tastes and preferences just because the traditions of masculinity are considerably exaggerated. The point is that “society is less threatened by lesbian sexuality than by gay sexuality” (Carroll 302), but still the fear to be a member of such minority exists in any person. This prejudice to of wrong sexuality is so deeply rooted that even time does not have such powers to destroy these problems and solve the problems once for all.
By means of pictures, it is possible to observe that relations between men are still regarded as something strange (Stand by Your Man), and the power of lesbians does not lead to development of society but attention to the affairs, which are inherent to women only (Lesbians Are Coming out in Full Force). The exhibition helps to comprehend that even art plays a very important role in all these discussions and can help to make solutions by means of illustrative examples. Observing the life of ordinary people and talking to relatives, friends, and friends’ relatives, it becomes clear that women want to become as slim as possible, this is why they try to keep diets and ruin their health; gender discrimination at work influences people’s attitude to their duties and benefits; and gay marriages are still not comprehended by some part of society and cause numerous misunderstandings. The main message of this exhibition lies in its title and several subtitles: sex, lies, and stereotypes are so closely connected to each other, that, very often, these three issues have unbelievable mutual impact.
The strong side of the exhibition under consideration is its diversity: its creators mention everything from children participation in these discussions to both gay and lesbian marriages. It is necessary to underline that gays’ and lesbians’ presence in military is still under a question, lots of parents may simply deny their children with non-standard orientation, the vast majority of gays are bashed very frequently, and same-sex marriages are not allowed in many countries. These problems have to be mentioned, it is necessary to solve them in order to make this life safer and to improve our generation’s future. With the help of pictures, offered at the exhibitions like Sex, Lies, and Stereotypes, people get a chance to realize how many problems exist in this world and have to be solved. A picture, where two men take each other’s hands and cut the cake, shows that people around supports their decision; they do not want to hide their relations, and even the figures of little men on the case symbolize the idea that people of different spheres of life accept this choice and are ready to help them. It is not necessary to see their eyes, because they identify men as a part of society, who is ready to make decisions and takes own tastes and interests into account.
In my opinion, it is wrong to think that sex and stereotypes are based on lies, but this is the only idea that comes to my mind when I look at the title of this exhibition. However, some subheadings, offered within this exhibition, help me comprehend the essence of the problem of sexism and homophobia and realize how one of the issues influences the development of the other. If women prefer to create couples with women, men in their turn can do the same. And if the power of women raises day by day, the approaches, women use should be changed as well. Success requires considerable and radical steps, and people are ready to take them just in order to correspond to current conditions.
Carroll, Janell, L. Sexuality Now: Embracing Diversity.
Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2009. Murphy, Peter, F. Feminism and Masculinities. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
Sex, Lies, and Stereotypes. Center for the Study of Political Graphics. 2004. Oct. 2009