The social context surrounding Cameron and Mitchell’s conversation can be understood through the social constructionist model of communication. The social constructionist model of communication is based on the idea that people live in multiple social worlds. Social worlds are created with boundaries that outline meaning for those that interact within the world. Social worlds are shaped by interactions that create what is considered appropriate and inappropriate language and behavior. Examples of different social worlds include the way a teenager interacts with friends versus how a teenager acts around their grandparents – each group involves a different set of standards or expectations that are created and followed. Cameron and Mitchell belong to certain social worlds as well: how they interact at home with their daughter, how they interact with their gay friends and how they interact with extended family, to name a few.
According to the social constructionist model, communication is a way of making these social worlds. Within social worlds, words do not have meaning, but instead, meaning is negotiated between the people. Communication is something that people live and experience instead of something people execute. No message can be received the same due to contingencies and its constitutive nature. Contingencies relate to the absence of certainty in how a message will be interpreted within a certain event. A message being constitutive relates to its many meanings and the power of people to create these meanings. When keeping in mind contingencies and constituencies, communication becomes a complex, strategic process that can no longer be considered common sense.
The social context of Cameron and Mitchell’s conversation is shaped by the social worlds they belong to and the meanings they have negotiated within these worlds. The immediate circumstances surrounding the conversation are shaped by Cameron and Mitchell’s interactions in the social world of their home life as well as within the social world of their heterosexual friend group. In the social world of their home, Cameron and Mitchell have negotiated what it means to be in a partnership with each other and are comfortable with the home life they have created. In the social world of their heterosexual friend group, Cameron and Mitchell are still negotiating what it means to be gay in the community.
Prior to this conversation, Mitchell cooked Cameron breakfast in bed to say thank you for staying up late taking care of their daughter, but Cameron asks him why this thank you falls on Mother’s Day to which Mitchell denies any connection. After this quick interaction, Cameron and Mitchell both talk to the camera about how they do not like it when people think of gay men as women. The next scene cuts to Cameron and Mitchell walking their daughter to a playgroup in the park, which happens to also fall on Mother’s Day. At the playgroup, however, heterosexual couples are also celebrating...