Thursday, 3 October 2013

Fetishisation of Sexual Trauma.

[TW: Sexual abuse]

As if Glee wasn't bad enough, can we just talk about the issue of molestation for a moment? In an episode last season when characters were opening up Ryder confessed that he had been molested as a child. Knowing Glee this will probably be the only time this news comes up and it's most likely for thrills, to throw something shocking into the mix to seem oh so edgy.

Men who suffer sexual abuse often are left feeling emasculated and uncomfortable. Glee, however, applies the ultimate male privilege. As Ryder confesses to having been sexually abused the other guys around him scoff saying that it sounds like a situation they'd welcome. This rubs salt in the wound of anyone watching who has endured through sexual abuse, molestation and any form of sexual trauma.

Kitty confessed later that she had been molested and slut shamed so badly that she had to change schools. I felt that this could have been explored a lot more. However I'm utterly appalled and disgusted that Glee chose to sexualise a moment of childhood sexual trauma.

Someone sits there and writes these scripts and doesn't apply a damn shred of common sense.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Glee and Original Songs

I've liked the original songs in this episode - this feels more like what Glee should be. It'd be much better if it were creating original songs rather than manipulating arbitrary plot lines as a means of getting to perform specific songs and cramming them in there when they're popular.

I do however get a little annoyed that almost all original songs are along the lines of "We're different, and that's cool"

Because that's a good message, sure, but I think the audience have absorbed it by now.
Something a little different please?

Finn's return

Does this mean Finn is dropping out of college? After what... a few days? Another ex Glee kid flunking out?

Now OK, I get it. People flunk, people fail... but here it's being handled in entirely the wrong way.

No counselling post-shooting?

So far in this episode I've seen no reference or evidence of counselling going on. Where has Emma even been since the wedding? She only seems to be brought on as a foil for Will whenever he needs to get some emotion out.

When I was in school some traumatic things happened and open counselling sessions for students was mandatory. It had to be supplied for students to deal with trauma.

Dreams rantalong.

Scene with Coach Washington.
She repeatedly refers to Blaine, not by name, but via gay stereotype; specifically the word 'fruity'
Offensive as hell.

Then to call Becky 'Adult Baby Robin', Robin being Sue Sylvester's seldom referenced daughter who also has Down's Syndrome is extraordinarily offensive as it reduces her to her disabilities.

Ableist, homophobic nonsense.

Then Becky, yelling at Blaine, says "mind your own gay business gay Blaine"

Is this show going to perpetually reduce people to single traits or aspects of their personality?
Director: "That's what you get for holding an open cattle call for Funny Girl"


Everything wrong with this show.

Will Schut-Up

When did Will become such a tyrant?
The entire Glee club are against his choices and he blames it on them, not him for being out of touch with the club.
He yells at individuals. I bet by the end of the episode the kids will be apologising to him for daring to have a voice.

Another thing...

Can Finn just magically get into college part way through the academic year?
Congrats, Glee, for further promoting the idea that college is about partying and not about education.

Also Finn asking for girls' bikini tops?
Sexist, misogynistic bullshit.
Will: "Unique, you need to tone it down with the whole boob thing"

The whole 'boob' thing? This is Unique's gender identity, you transphobic, closed-minded bigot. For a club that apparently celebrates diversity and accepts minorities there sure is an overwhelming amount of trans hate.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Shooting Star: A #rantalong Blog

This is a rant along blog where I rant along with a Glee episode. The episode is "Shooting Star"
I've seen reviews. I'm pretty sure my fears are confirmed and there will be some sort of school shooting event which, to me, seems disrespectful and too soon. Oh well let's see. Clicking play...

Whole week themed around "Last Songs" and conveniently something horrific happens. Unrealistic. Would have been more plausible during Diva week or some other week because life doesn't magically revolve around the plot it's travelling to. Tragedy hits when you least expect it. Most of us, when we found out about terrorist events in our own countries, were just going about our daily lives and there was no foreshadowing, nothing that could have warned us of what was coming. Trust me, I've been there. It usually happens when you least expect it and that's why it's so horrifying.

Ryder supposedly "in love" with a girl he met online. This suggests love is fleeting, that you can trust and forge feelings with strangers. This seems a dangerous thing to show to teens as it may make meeting people online and 'falling' for them seek plausible and safe without warning of the difficulties and threats of meeting strangers online. Always remember that this show has such a young demographic. This show just makes me go all Helen Lovejoy:

Does anyone else think that the girl Ryder is crushing on kinda looks like Anna Paquin?
As in Sookie from True Blood?

Ha. Wrong girl. "Please call me"
If you pick up a total stranger and sing to her and make this huge gesture only to find she doesn't really know you and you're seeking out another girl but STILL seems interested in you.... you better damn well call, boy. She must be hella interested.

They're singing to a cat.
All credibility this show had gone.
Cat portrays a more realistic, well-rounded character than any of the cast.

Shannon refers to Will as a "special friend" despite the fact their friendship hardly ever gets any screen time.

Oh God no... I think Shannon Beiste is such a wonderful character. She embodies so much of what Glee is trying and failing to portray: someone who has retained so much strength despite all they've encountered, someone who isn't glorified and sent towards Hollywood with every chance given to them. She's had life hard, very little has been easy, she's been the underdog and yet she's persevered. I think Shannon is probably the closest thing this show has to a "good example" character. And she's really putting herself out there in this scene to Will - she's so sweet and vulnerable. Suddenly and conveniently Will and Emma are back together. 

\Actually a really sweet moment with Brittany and Becky - that was nice actually.

Here we go.
Shots have been fired. Students are running. Sense of panic.
Automatically I wonder about the teachers of Sandy Hook who protected the children, who tried to help them hide and escape at the risk of their own lives. I wonder how their families feel watching this.
I'm wondering the purpose of this. Is it to make teens aware of events like this so they know what to do should it happen to them?
Everything about this feels wrong, it's so against everything Glee and I'm not sure if I like that (before life doesn't care about normality, things will happen regardless of your personal routine etc) or if I hate this dark and sudden change. It's done well in that it provides an uncomfortable atmosphere. I just wonder if the world, particularly America, is ready for this... After the Denver Batman shooting, Sandy Hook, the shooting of Malala Yousafzai... so conflicted.

Ok wait fuck no.
Sue, a teacher, brought a gun to school.
Not a student, but a teacher.
Stupid decision, the plot twist makes a mockery of recent horrific events.
They should fire the character and complaints should be lodged against the show. 

I totally hope Katie IS Brad the piano player

Shannon wanting to know how Will guessed her fave food: "My favourite food was everything"
Gee - thanks for fat-shaming, Glee. Reducing a character to physical traits typically associated with shame in the media.
Ken Tanaka? Didn't the show execs and producers claim this character died of a heart attack? Wow. Great writing, Glee.

Wait. I've just noticed. What the hell happened to Finn?
Remember kids - overweight pets aren't funny. It's your responsibility to keep them happy and healthy.
You need to moderate their food and keep them healthy.

Will talks at the start of the episode about the importance of spending time with the ones you love, specifically referencing Emma. Later when danger hits he does not rush to be with her. When he rushed to get Britanny he could've gone to see if he could get to her too. 

Twist - it was Becky.
Oh wow. So many feelings, so conflicted about what I think about this...
This whole fucking episode.
I don't even....
I think I need to go away and think because I'm full of weird kinds of rage.

"Shooting Star" worries

Since I noticed last week the description of the upcoming "Shooting Star" episode of Glee I've been concerned.

'A terrible event occurs at McKinley while the glee club members prepare for regionals.'

I've not seen the episode but I'm worried it's going to be on the theme of school shooting and I'm not comfortable with this. It's too soon. After the Batman Denver shooting, Sandy Hook and all these big, publicised events if this is the focus of the episode it'll just seem like Ryan Murphy and his team of insensitive employees and producers are now turning and feeding on tragic events.

If this is the case then this is a new low.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Transphobia in Glee

As a show Glee was meant to be about acceptance and diversity combined with that school musical thing popularised for teens by Grease and High School Musical. It may have seemed promising from the first episode, but the show is now one massive, weekly trainwreck.

This post is about transphobia on the show.
Glee has been applauded for being so LGBT friendly, though I've discussed in several posts why the depictions of LGBTQ persons is actually fairly offensive and regressive. Despite praise for this show, it actually seems to verge on transphobic despite the introduction of trans character Unique, also known as Wade Adams, a young, pre-op trans mtf teen. This show has dropped terms like "tranny" and "she-male" as if to normalise verbal transphobic abuse. Where the show has previously attempted to point out the derogatory and inappropriate nature and usage of the word "faggot", transphobic slurs go by without question or criticism.

In the Rocky Horror episode having a man play the role of Dr Frank'N'Furter was deemed inappropriate (the word "transsexual" even removed from the show as if to suggest it's a bad word) and Unique was later prohibited from playing Rizzo; following the notion that art imitates life we see the echo of transphobia even in fictional events on the show.
In Glee's version of "Born this Way" the verse that mentions gay/transgender persons is cut.

These examples show a level of discomfort concerning trans issues and an unwillingness to provide a positive message to/about the trans youth of today. Instead Ryan Murphy's creation of Unique as a character seems exploitative. Actor Alex Newell came from The Glee Project. Though not a winner, Ryan Murphy initially gave Newell a 2 episode arc and then kept the character on where other winners like Joe Hart (played by Samuel Larson) and Rory Flanagan (played by Damian McGinty) and Harmony (no surname given, played by Lindsay Pearce) all faded into the background. Ryan Murphy originally didn't seem too interested in Newell until Newell expressed interest in performing in a dress and heels. You could practically see the dollar signs rising in Murphy's eyes as he noticed something new and different to exploit on the show.
The show, that claims to be inclusive of everyone, is not in that it excludes trans people thus passing on transphobic views to an impressionable audience of typically young viewers. If trans people are included from the message of acceptance they will continue to feel the brunt of discrimination and violence (both verbal and physical) will continue against the trans community. This show should spread awareness, not further ignorance.

Just because Ryan Murphy is gay does not make his views acceptable, it does not make him a trans* ally. 

As a transgender woman Unique experiences a high level of transmisogyny from almost everyone on the show. When some of this transmisogyny is presented as humour it helps to normalise such views and abuse which only knocks the trans community one step back. Transgender women, especially transgender women of colour, are all too often the victims of violent hate crimes.
For Glee to show discrimination is good, people need to understand the daily discrimination the transgender community face, but they don't seem to be tackling the issue in a sensitive and effective way. It should never be presented as a joke. Unique is even forced to give up female clothing and go under her birth name during school hours, ultimately being robbed of her identity, with little sympathy from fellow Glee club members or further discussion on the issue. This allows for misgendering and uncertainty about which pronouns to use towards Unique whose identity is being stolen and questioned, controlled by others.

Dean Geyer even called a fellow tweeter a "tranny" and then claimed to see nothing offensive in such a term:

As you can see, when Dean is called out and asked to apologise he does but whilst stating that he doesn't think calling someone a "tranny" is disrespectful. This is disgusting behaviour that shows the transmisogyny of Glee on and off screen, the seriousness of transphobic slurs isn't acknowledged.

Unique is rarely given solo songs anymore, swallowed whole by the hypocrisy of the New Directions, a further loss of identity. 

"Diva" - #rantalong

This post is just going to be a rant along as I post my thoughts as the episode goes on. It'll be for the episode Diva which I've also deconstructed and criticised in previous posts, but I want to start doing these rantalong blogs to encapsulate a general blow by blow of this show... that blows.

Ok. Let's start now...

Blaine argues that men can be divas but then proceeds to join in a song that states that a Diva is "a female version of a hustler" thus reinforcing the feminine within diva.

This episode seemed promising. As a hater of Rachel Berry I was looking forward to Kurt and other characters knocking her down a peg. In order to tackle Rachel's diva behaviour Kurt....just acts in a similar way, challenging and offending her. For a character who was once the most likeable character this episode showed him in a new and vicious light that follows on from "Naked" perfectly... in that it's bad.

Alex Newell's character of Unique/Wade is so interesting and could really be used to target transphobia within our society but of course this isn't so. As mentioned in previous posts Glee claims to be a hate-busting, all inclusive group of misfits promoting tolerance and yet the group shows a lot of intolerance towards Unique.

Oh yeah. Let's bring Santana back to sing a number with the cheerleaders from her school singing a totally unrelated song because that makes all the sense in the world. I'm sure half a cheerleader troupe have nothing better to do during school hours. Do these kids not even go to college? What does the song have to do

"Rizzoli and Isles lesbian subtext blog" - like lesbians are just obsessed with more lesbians. Glee continues to depict queer women in a stereotypical, negative, derogatory light. Santana's return to Glee to ward Sam off of Brittany makes her affection seem aggressive and predatory even singing a song with the words "She's mine" as if to suggest that women are to be commodified and left as mere objects to be owned.

Finn points out something about the centrepiece decorations saying "Blue is like the colour of sad" - the flowers aren't even blue, they're purple.

Ahh. This is the episode where Tina gets super creepy that I wrote about a few posts back. No Tina.
She gave him medicine that he's stated makes him sleepy and straddled him. This seems representative of a rape scene which renders it pretty disturbing despite Ryan Murphy's support of this as 'not creepy' and a depiction of 'real loneliness'
She falls asleep, head on his bare chest, forcing intimacy. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Even has pictures of them in their locker. Later corners Blaine in the hallway and yells at Blaine for not returning her affections after all she's done for him. This is similar to the principle of the "friend zone" and the "nice guy" where guys say they are nice guys to girls ("nice guys finish last", a phrase used for justification) and villify women for then putting them in the "friendzone" despite their efforts to attain the person of their affections. Needless to say this is sexist bullshit, anyone who buys into it is ridiculous on the basis that no matter how nice you are to someone that is your choice: they should owe you nothing, especially not their bodies/love/affection. The fact that Tina then wins the "Diva" award, that she's rewarded for such behaviour, sets a terrible example.

"This is a blood sport" - No, it's singing. Don't make it out to be anything more.

Would you really have that many people turning up to midnight madness? Are these people really all so emotionally invested in a feud between two friends? Do they have nothing better to do with their lives? They live in New York City, one of the most excited places on Earth and they're watching this.... Really?

I also hate how Rachel sings and closes her eyes and always makes it look like she's in such pain. Really really bugs me.

Part of my problem with Rachel and her diva attitude is that she is so often supported in her choices and self righteousness. She's rarely penalised or criticised effectively for her attitude and behaviour. Kids these days don't seem to have a decent enough grasp of humility. The "swag" generation focuses more on themselves and their success. Rachel totally epitomises this lack of humility, this sense of entitlement that builds up a rather unhealthy overall attitude.

Sue: "Don't any of you have jobs"
See my blog post on glee characters dropping out of college/returning to McKinley High at the drop of a hat. Writing for convenience, totally unrealistic.

Rachel to Kurt "You'd be an amazing Fanny Brice" - suggestion that homosexuality is inherently effeminate. I wrote a blog post along that theme also so feel free to look it up.

Award going out despite the fact we only saw Blaine and Tina sing. Evidently no one else matters. But yay! finally encouragement and acknowledgement for Tina. Even Blaine gives her a chocolate rose. Him apologising and celebrating her seems representative of internalised guilt a rape victim may feel, like they were in the wrong, or victim blaming. So much here feels wrong.

Rachel is beaten and suddenly acts like a stroppy little kid. She's acknowledging that she's a diva and that her attitude is terrible, only for Kurt to then tell her she's talented/ambitious/unique and build her back up again when getting a taste of humble pie could have really done her some good. Essentially we're back to where we were at the start of the episode with nothing learned from the experience.

Your best friends fiancĂ©e is stressing out about her oncoming wedding? Kiss her. Because that makes sense and is totally appropriate. If you've ever been with someone having a severe panic attack kissing them isn't really the best thing to do in a lot of these situations.

Santana paid woman to pretend to be her girlfriend - further negative representation of lesbians/queer women.

Santana on the real world "No one gives a damn about you" - a view Glee seems to too often glaze over.
Santana given job at KcKinley, but suddenly moves to New York? This all makes so little sense. Just assumes she can move in. This shit doesn't happen in the real world. Ugh.

Well this episode was a giant, steaming piece of crap and now I want to wash my eyes.

Next blog post will be about transphobia in Glee.

Darren Criss appreciation

If you didn't already know Darren Criss used to be a part of StarKid productions and he wrote his own music, working towards team created musicals like A Very Potter Musical/A Very Potter Sequel that achieved wide internet notoriety (if you haven't seem them already, look them up on youtube)

I kinda just wish Darren Criss would leave Glee because he has proven that he is so much better than this nonsense. I'm sure Glee provides decent pay but come on Darren... you're better than this.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Queerness and the Female Agency

Today we're going to discuss the treatment of queer female characters on the show 'Glee'

The "Lesbian Kiss of Death" is a device used in television to pick up ratings, the sudden forced relationship between Santana and Brittany arguably an example of this to boost ratings and create a plot twist and interesting romances. It seems written for convenience and perpetuates the image of the queer female as tokenistic - even fetishised and sexualised. 

Glee's treatment of queer woman is probably the worst representation from any mainstream show. 
Kisses between Kurt/Blaine or Brittany/Santana are kept short, almost chaste, as if in some sort of attempt to "maintain family values" which for a show like this seems ridiculous. Unlike the romance between Blaine and Kurt, the relationship between Brittany and Santana is mostly ignored/off screen and shoved out of focus so that other relationships can be focused on. As a couple they've so rarely been given scenes or dialogue just together. When kissing in the hallway they are interrupted instantly by Principal Figgins who rigidly calls them out as "TEEN LESBIANS!" in front of their peers opening them up to judgement and embarassment for simply wanting to kiss, Santana's contestation of such treatment when heterosexual couples kissing isn't called out, isn't treated seriously.

Santana's sexuality was outed by Finn. Her dialogue, the chance to express her sexuality in one of the most monumental moments an LGBTQ person has, was robbed. Santana didn't come out of the closet, she was thrown from it, and she has been feeling the impact of it ever since. A sex tape of Brittany and Santana is created thus forcing shame onto them as they are tokenised and fetishised for their sexuality. In recent episodes ('Naked') Santana shows that this still follows her around suggesting this display of her sexuality, the theft of privacy, has ruined her life. In fact we only got to see Santana coming out to her Grandmother, not her parents, and the coming out to her peers was robbed. All we see is more vilification for her sexuality, not even in a humorous way, it simply comes across as cruel. 

Brittany, when talking to Sam about the potential of them getting together, says something about how people on lesbian forums will be outraged if she dates a guy. This represents queer females as aggressive, possessive beings who have serious opinions on the relationships of others. It also suggests that lesbians too fetishise lesbians. It makes queer women seem more like a cult than anything. Nice one, Glee. Offensive 'til the end.

Brittany, as a bisexual/pansexual individual, was given more scenes with fleeting love interest Sam than she ever got with Santana, a character who had been present since the show began. This shows Glee's priorities to glorify heterosexual relationships over any other relationship. Kurt, an openly gay character, even states that he doesn't think that bisexuality exists. Facepalming so hard, you guys.

The show would evidently rather focus on Finchel and Klaine than focus on the love lives of queer women or queer female interracial relationships. Why get a couple together if you're not going to explore their relationship as equally as the others? The writers then so quickly have Brittany move on to Sam and write Santana in as the jealous ex for convenience and conflict more than anything. The relationship is broken up for ridiculous reasons, Santana looked at a random girl and had some sort of kooky woman-to-woman feeling which meant they had to break up. Really, writers? You wanted to push your Break Up episode so hard you depict lesbians as unfaithful sexual deviants more than the more conservative members of our society would have us believe? This reeks of bullshit.


The characters are racist. The writers are racist. The show is racist.
No, don't argue with it. I don't want to hear "But Mercedes and Mike and Tina and..."
No. Shut it. The show is racist and we're going to discuss why. Sit back, listen and check yo privilege.

Glee: a show that serves as emotional porn whilst parading under the typical liberal politics about the celebration of difference and unity, sympathy for the 'other' or the underdog, whilst claiming to be superior in their inclusion of "serious issues" and "representation of minorities"

But the way they treat issues or minority groups is utterly tokenistic, regressive and offensive thus illustrating a total lack of compassion and understanding. In this show, as previously discussed, we see POC characters pushed into the backgrounds or reduced to harsh stereotypes for laughs or convenience, with white characters glorified and given more attention.

This post is specifically going to focus on the character of Sunshine Corazon.

Sunshine Corazon was such a promising character. As a POC character that threatened even the supposedly unbeatable Rachel Berry, Sunshine came in like a lamb to the slaughter. A Filipino exchange student, the over glorified Rachel assumes she doesn't speak English and begins the caricature-style speaking in a loud voice, slowly enough as she assumes that Sunshine doesn't speak English, an assumption Sunshine then squashes. This shows how the characters of the show itself are racist, how the writers who created them are racist, but even worse is Sunshine's lack of response to this event. Sunshine could have taken the opportunity to turn around and call Rachel out for her behaviour, but this was not written. Instead she smiles, accepting this treatment. I mean... who would point out a flaw in the demi-goddess that is Rachel Berry? This scene was played for laughs and is so uncomfortable to watch.

In a fit of jealousy Rachel sends Sunshine to a crackhouse, putting her life in danger, all for having the guts to audition for glee club, something Rachel is hardly punished for. Eventually Sunshine doesn't become a part of the club and even leaves school, a promising character entirely written off. A show of how intolerant this 'tolerance promoting' show really is.

Aural Intensity? More like Aural Inferiority...

Let's be honest here. No matter how much you enjoy bopping your head along to the teenybopper songs of Glee, they're not real.

There are points where the autotuning is so clear I wonder why they don't have a Glee member who is just an self autotuning robot.

The professional choreography and autotuning may leave other performers feeling inferior.

Don't worry babies. You're only human.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

"I'm Vegan"

Rachel: "I'm vegan"

Rachel: "Actually maybe I'm vegetarian"

Rachel: *eats pepperoni pizza*

Rachel: *cooking duck*

Rachel: *eats cereal with milk in it*
Rachel: *croque madame, with cheese and egg*

Rachel: *drinks milk*
Glee: A place where continuity and the ability to hold a solid narrative come to DIE.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Stereotype Perpetuation: Cheerleaders as Bitchy.

We all know the stereotype - the cheerleaders are the bitches of the school, right? This makes a basic televised assumption of an entire group of people.

This isn't a stereotype perpetuated by just one character - we see negative attitudes and bitchy comments pouring out of Santana, Quinn, Kitty, Brittany and even Becky.

People are people, not the stereotypes created for them.

Glee: The show that gives the least fucks about not reducing characters to mere stereotypes.