At a sold-out gala at the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center on March 21 of this year, honoree Amy Pascal gave a speech and proposed, “How about next time, when any of us are reading a script and it says words like fag, or faggot – homo – dyke – take a pencil and just cross it out.”
At the gala, Pascal explained that people’s opinions and mode of thinking are shaped in two ways: by the influence of parents, family and friends as well as what’s depicted in the media. She said that it’s difficult to control a person’s social environment, but it’s feasible to change what people see on movie and television screens.
If you’re not familiar with Pascal and her accomplishments, here’s some context. Pascal is the co-chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment and has responsibilities including supervising development, production and distribution as well as overseeing home entertainment and marketing. Although the entertainment industry is predominantly controlled by men, Pascal proves that she is quite high up on the ladder of success. In fact, Forbes listed Pascal as number 36 on its 2012 list of “The 100 Women Who Run the World.” Moreover, Women in Film, a non-profit organization that encourages women to achieve their highest potential in all fields of global media and communications, awarded Pascal with the Crystal Award.
“And now, I’m talking about kids who are gay and I’m talking about kids who aren’t gay,” Pascal said in her speech. “One group needs affirmation and the other group needs education. And, if I’m being honest, neither of those issues are high on any movie studio or TV network’s agenda…”
In a Gawker article covering Pascal’s proposal, the author argued, “While Pascal is coming from a place of positive advocacy, her only concrete suggestion — to delete certain offensive words, slurs, or phrases — might not be the best way to achieve her goal. Certainly, these slurs could set off a red-flags of a rude representation. Or perhaps they could be signs of an attempt towards a meaningful and realistic portrayal of a struggle towards equality and acceptance within the gay community.”
These are all valid points, and I admit that I agree with the author from Gawker. Censorship may not be the most effective means of reinventing the way that homosexuality is portrayed in the media. As of now, I have no alternate solution to the dilemma Pascal endeavors to tackle. Nevertheless, I still admire Pascal for taking a stand for what she believes in.
Pascal summed up her speech with, “We need to create an atmosphere that encourages people to speak up, so we get this right… We can do better and we will do better. We have to.”
I think that’s an idea that almost everybody can get behind.
What do you think of Pascal’s proposal, Lovelies?