salienne: (Farscape not broken)
For anyone who is still torn on Glee and on Ryan Murphy, its showrunner, watch episode 3 of The Glee Project (...shuttup).

The theme of the week is Vulnerability. Potential TW for sexual assault ) As a result, she ends up in the bottom 3. After delivering a kick-ass last-chance performance wherein she is praised by all three of the judges, she gets kicked off the show instead of two white boys, one of whom was boring at best.

Not so incidentally, she's Latina. Not so incidentally, every single judge in this show is a man. The only women are the choreographer (periodically) and the person at the recording studio (forget her title).

I did not think I could hate this show and these showrunners any more than I already do.
salienne: (Default)
Glee Season 1: Violence, Rape, and the Problem of Gender

(A special thanks to [ profile] wemblee for proofreading these and keeping me sane. <3)

Unless you have been living under a TV rock this past year, you have no doubt heard of Fox’s hit show, Glee. Part musical, part melodrama, part satire, Glee follows the daily lives of a high school Glee club and associated adults. Due to its reliance on stereotypes, Glee walks a fine line between progressivism and tired tropes, between reinforcing these stereotypes and pointing out their absurdity. While successful in some arenas (such as homophobia), this balance is particularly shaky when it comes to gender. Despite its seemingly progressive nature, Glee relies on traditional gender expectations to a dangerous extent, as evidenced by its use of romance, pregnancy, and even unacknowledged rape.


TRIGGER WARNING FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT: To say much of Glee revolves around romance is a bit like saying the club sings songs sometimes. )


As should be evident by now, Glee is not exactly the fun progressive show it makes itself out to be. Nor can it even be considered “just” satire or comedy—the scene where Will finds out the truth of Terri’s pregnancy, for instance, is certainly not played for laughs. By hiding behind humor and common tropes, by writing as if the show exists in a vacuum of character interactions even as it draws on common stereotypes, Glee does a disservice to its viewers. Even as it condemns certain behaviors such as using homosexual slurs, it normalizes gender norms and violence against women. In this way, the show reinforces such behaviors even as it makes them invisible by never acknowledging its own usage of them.

A mainstream show holds a responsibility to be aware of the messages it sends out. Unfortunately, Glee does not even seem aware of its own gendered storylines and themes.


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July 2011

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