For my thesis project, I conducted about 18 interviews. One of them happened to be a 17 year old high school student. I noticed that an extra credit option was to interview a teenager and write up a 300 word analysis. This interview would be perfect for this assignment.
While interviewing the subject ,I had flash backs of various lessons and discussions we have had in class. It was like actually living out what I had already learned, and that’s always an eerie feeling. For me it was kind of like when you’re younger and your parents keep giving you the same advice, you’ve heard it so much you’re like yes I know. Then later on in life there comes a time where you actually experience what they were talking about, it changes your understanding completely. Interviewing Mary Kate was truly like experiencing my Teenagers in the Media course in real life. Her interview differed from all the other people I’ve interviewed simply because she mentioned the media. No one else who was interviewed mentioned television or movies expect for my one teenage interviewee.
My questions for the interview were generic standard questions about their sexuality and coming out or staying in the closet. Many people who were interviewed had friends as their support system for coming out. My teenage subject relied on MySpace, Ellen and Pretty Little Liars. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing when she was speaking. She explained that when she was first questioning her feelings she reached out to an older girl who had already came out as a bisexual. She advised her via a MySpace message, which she read out to me for the interview. The message helped her deal with her fear of coming out to her parents and her questioning her bisexuality.
Mary Kate also spoke about what helped her want to come out was that so many people on tv and movies were doing it. The media was her support system! I was in disbelief. The media made her feel like who she is was ok. She explained coming out to her mother wasn’t easy; she wasn’t very accepting at first and frankly didn’t believe her daughter. She luckly had her sisters present; whom she had already come out to, stand up for her and help explain to her mother that’s it’s ok to be gay. What she had stated in the interview was that her mom was raised in the 50’s and back then it was odd to be gay. She went on to explain that her sisters told her mom that now there are organizations for gay rights and they are legalizing gay marriages and that even Ellen was gay and everything she does is positive. This finally convinced the mom that it was ok to accept her daughter, since it’s everywhere in the media it’s ok.
This was the first interview I conducted for my project and it’s one that stands out to me. I’m still in disbelief how the media not only was the closeted bisexual’s support system but also used for comforting examples to the mother. But on the flip side the media has not helped Mary Kate come out to her dad. In fact one time she sat and watched Pretty Little Liars with him as an attempt to come out. When a lesbian scene came on he criticized it and said what’s wrong with these kids today. She then told herself, ok; maybe this isn’t a good time to come out. It’s sad, but it’s true. The media has been a medium that has created support for her sexuality and opposition. It’s just like real life, but in this subject’s case it’s most of her life.