By Kat Feasley
Glee is well known for pushing the envelope. They tiptoe between what is socially acceptable and what might not be. They play with the idea of girl power in episodes like “The Power of Madonna” (in season one) and less palatable showcases of Girls, like in “Sexy” (in season two). They introduced gay characters, tried for body/ fat positivity, and opened dialogues about pressing issues, like teen pregnancy. They’re making strides, but they’re also messing up quite a bit.
To preface: I am without a doubt one of those people who love Glee — I think the shorthand might be Gleek. I don’t even watch T.V., but Glee is my one and only. Which is part of the reason that I am so frustrated this season, the show is going down hill. I’m not even talking about the writing or the character development or the song choice. I’m talking about the image that it gives people for queer girls like me.
At first I thought that Glee might be a godsend for the normalization of queer characters. Kurt’s coming out was treated with beauty and respect, there were consequences for when he was bullied, and it was made clear that calling people ‘fags’ (like Finn once did long ago in season two) is not in anyway okay. Glee even brought up that it is never okay to ‘out’ someone. Yes, even if they deserve it. (Think Karofsky and Kurt’s story line, also in season two.)
And yet fast forward to this season: Santana and Brittany are taking the season by storm, but not in any sort of way that I am okay with. Their story is filled with little one liners like “I might be a bi-corn”. At one point Santana point blank tells Brittany that their make out sessions don’t count as cheating because its gay. Who can forget when the dynamic duo inform the guys at school that they will make out for them if they pay for dinner?
Just a few episodes ago, Finn outed Santana to the entire world. It is done so painfully and publicly that she will be the face of a new queer bashing ad campaign. Does one scene of repercussion come Finn’s way? No. He sings Santana a song about “girl power,” tells her he cares about her and is forgiven. Sure there’s that one part when Santana slaps Finn, but that isn’t dealing with right and wrong or the fact that Santana’s queerness doesn’t make her any less of a person; it’s dealing with the anger that she she has every right to be feeling.
If something like this ever happened to me I would need at least the principal’s involvement. But when the teens are taken to the principal it is with the charges solely against Santana, and not a word goes out to Finn’s actions. It’s not just Glee that does this. I experience the ‘you’re a girl so your sexuality is less valid’ mantra all the time, and I thought that maybe Glee would help to stop it, in the same way they tried to for its male counterparts. But instead, all it’s doing is perpetuating the same old stereotypes.