When Chaz Bono was announced as the newest cast member on the 13th season of “Dancing with the Stars” (DWTS) two weeks ago, he became the immediate target of those who said a transgender person shouldn’t be on the show.
Some said Bono couldn’t dance, or asked which gender his dance partner would be. Others said they would boycott watching ABC. Fox News even ran a story that pled to parents: “Don’t let your kids watch Chaz Bono.”
But when Bono made his debut on the show last night, the contestant looked confident and unruffled by the controversy, and the media said his performance “shined.” As for the outcry against his participation, it seemed muffled by other news about Bono, namely actor David Arquette’s support for him.
A look at Google News from Sept. 1, when Bono was first announced as contestant, and from today, the morning after Bono’s debut, shows that even the language surrounding Bono on DWTS has changed.
First, take a look at the words that were being used in the news on Sept. 1 about Bono:
While Chaz, Bono and Dancing with the Stars are words most used, some of the other words include: “vicious,” “controversy,” “mocked,” “punk’d” and “polarizing.”
Now, take a look at the words being used in the news about Bono today:
Again, Bono and Dancing with the Stars are the words most used, but David Arquette’s name is being used almost as much. And the new words that have sprung up in the Bono coverage — “great,” “good,” “understands” and “relate” — are all positive.
While it seems the tide of public opinion has shifted in Bono’s favor, another recurring word in news about Bono today is “security,” referring to the extra security the contestant was given during filming.
But if the response continues as it has for Bono, that security may not be needed.