Beliefnet
Movie Mom

I am a huge fan of advice columnist Dan Savage and his essays for “This American Life.” His recent commentary on the death of his mother brought me to tears. And I am very impressed with his thoughtful assessment of the Disney Channel series “The Suite Life of Zach and Cody.” As a gay man, he remembers the feeling of disconnection he had as a child who never saw on television characters who reflected his view of the world, how he felt, who he wanted to be. And now as a father, he sees his son watching the ostensibly wholesome “Suite Life” and finds it as disturbing a portrayal of heterosexuality as the over-the-top stereotypes of gays he saw when he was growing up. Ten-year-old Zach’s fascination with a pretty teenage girl, his advice about how to get “babes” by lying to them, his creepy come-ons, comments like “I’d better practice my kissing” — Savage says that his son has a “look of concentration” when he watches as though he is “filing things away for future reference.” Savage wants his son, a straight boy growing up with gay parents, to see positive models of heterosexual behavior in the media. But “stereotypes are patient,” says Savage. “They’ll wear you down.”

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