Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Clip-art: you've come a long way baby ... maybe?

When searching for images with which to decorate this site, I typed the word 'gay' into the Microsoft Office online clipart search engine. Twenty-eight images appeared, seven of which depicted same-sex couples with children. The researcher in me started counting:

• female couples: 4

• male couples: 3

• non-caucasians: 1

• semi-decent artwork: possibly 2 but mostly 0

It should be said that all of these images are reasonably ambiguous. To a heterosexist eye they could easily appear to be 'mother, daughter and granddaughter' or 'Male Friend One congratulating Male Friend Two on his son's soccer prowess'. But they do come up under the category of ‘gay’, so at least someone at Microsoft has decided they must be same-sex parents.

Are clip-art images a good way to measure representation? Most likely NO. But it is interesting nonetheless.


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