Wildlife documentaries accused of ignoring homosexuality in animals

Wildlife documentaries accused of ignoring homosexuality in animals
Published: 2013 February 08 19:53:32 (24457 Views)
BBC's David Attenborough has been criticized for ignoring homosexuality in animals in his documentaries.

Dr Brett Mills of the University of East Anglia accused the veteran broadcaster of espousing the idea that all animals are heterosexual despite a wealth of evidence they engage in a variety of sexual activity.

Shots of male chimpanzees cuddling, for example, are described to the viewer as no more than male bonding but could in fact be driven by sexual motives, he said.

Similarly, a scene in which a male Buff-Breasted Sandpiper stalks towards another with his rear in the air may not be meant to intimidate a rival, as described by Sir David, but as a prelude to "homosexual mounting".

Dr Mills said his paper, published in the European Journal of Cultural Studies, is aimed at highlighting aspects of animal behaviour such as homosexuality and same-sex parenting which are often ignored or explained away.

In the study he highlights examples from Life in the Freezer (1993), The Life of Birds (1998) and The Life of Mammals (2003) in which Sir David's voice-over presented animal behaviour as "fact" without acknowledging other possibilities.

As well as presenting animals as heterosexual, the documentaries describe their behaviour in the context of the "family" – a human idea which often does not apply to animal groups, he said.



Dr Mills said: "The central role in documentary stories of pairing, mating and raising offspring commonly rests on assumptions of heterosexuality within the animal kingdom.

"This is despite a wealth of scientific evidence which demonstrates that many non-human species have complex and changeable forms of sexual activity, with heterosexuality only one of many possible options.”

Rather than presenting animals as either straight or gay, broadcasters should try to explain that different species engage in a wide range of sexual behaviours for a range of purposes, not just procreation, he said.

For example, documentaries rarely acknowledge that some animals gain pleasure from having sex, usually referring to the behaviour in terms of "breeding" or "mating".

Scientists have identified various examples of non-heterosexual behaviour in animals, including the famous example of Roy and Silo, two male Chinstrap Penguins at Central Park Zoo in New York.

For six years the pair remained in a "monogamous homosexual pairing" and they successfully incubated an abandoned egg from a heterosexual couple.

In some birds homosexual pairings have even been found to outperform heterosexual couples, for example by building larger nests and providing better parenting, the study said.



Source - Telegraph

Tags: bbc, Attenborough,
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Anonymous user 2013 February 08 20:25:44
This is human beings now trying to force their own dirty ways of seeing things to animals and even if this animal do yikho zizinyamazane. Abasiyeke Thina ngokusiforce to understand their own minds. Mxxxh

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