So, as you all probably know by now, Lea Michele, Dianna Agron, and Cory Monteith (all of Glee fame) did a photo shoot for GQ magazine where Lea posed like a super slut in her underwear and Dianna showed her midriff, while Cory Monteith got to be covered up, because he is a guy. We don’t recommend it, because you can understand what is going on without seeing these, but you can see the offending photos (and a great observation about how DESPERATE the photo shoot comes across) here: http://www.dlisted.com/node/39304
Seriously, Lea Michele looks like she is about to burst into flames from the effort to look as much like a porn star as possible. Way to try too hard. Tasteless. Do the readers of GQ even watch Glee? Does Glee really need the publicity? (No.) The Parents Television Council/Committee/whatever (some conservative TV watchdog group) condemned the shoot, saying that because it was shot in a high school and featured the whole schoolgirl fetish thing that it bordered on pedophilia. We think that since no one pays attention to the PTC, they had to say the most extreme thing they could to get attention. These girls in no way look like children, even if one of them IS sucking on a lollypop in a photo.
The Lame, “But It’s Not a Family Show” argument
But the PTC has a point. Defending the Glee stars, people have been saying, “It’s not a family show.” Our response to THAT is, “So?” Kids in high school and middle school watch it, and that’s a fact. That’s like saying Gossip Girl and 90210 aren’t aimed at children under 18. Also, when we say, “It’s not our jobs to police TV and society, it’s the parents’ jobs,” we are pretty much saying, “If kids have bad parents or no parents, that’s not our problem. We want to see all the sexy stuff we want without judgment.” It’s for this reason that this argument doesn’t hold much water for us. We all have to live in this society, and the public needs to draw ethical lines over what we tolerate and what we can do without. Anything involved with Glee sends messages to young men and women about what is right, what is normal, and what success looks like. Forget kids. Even if you celebrate freedom to the max, is it really beneficial for the grown men reading GQ to see photos like this? Do freedom and the almighty dollar outweigh our interest in having a society where women are not props like this? Even regular adults groaned at this shoot, and we think we know why. It’s because the shoot is contrary to what the show stands for and why we love it.
What’s worse, sex or violence on TV?
These bloggers don’t really mind sex, nudity, violence, and language in our TV shows. All you have to do to notice that is to look at the variety of shows we watch. But you might be asking, “Hey, we’ve read scolding and hints of conservatism on this blog. What gives?" What we DO care about are the messages the show carries. For example, we loved Sex and the City, because although there was plenty of carefree sex, in the end really connecting to another person, commitment, friendship, forgiveness, and actual intimacy won out. We think parents and discriminating viewers should worry just as much about the messages in the media as the content. And hey, people are dehumanized when they are NEVER the object of lust as well as when they are ONLY objects of lust. You have to find a balance. This is why we slam violence so much more than sex. No one is humanized by violence. For us, a good, true message can overcome bad content. See: Any episode of South Park.
Betraying the heart of Glee
Glee has been described as a positive, wholesome show. This has nothing to do with its content. It features sex, drugs, and light cursing, and is not squeaky clean at all. Glee’s wholesomeness does not come from its content, it comes from its message. The show is about diversity, underdogs, and being confident in who you are. This is what the photo shoot violates. Glee whipped out its whitest, skinniest stars, took off their clothes, and slapped them in a men’s magazine. This exploitative, weird photoshoot celebrated the status quo and young women looking stupid. Also, notice how they turned Lea’s face in most shoots to hide her unique facial features, particularly the nose.
Thoughts on the actors involved
On her blog, Dianna Agron wrote a response to the outcry over the photo shoot, and it was articulate, humble, wise, and pretty awesome. We like her a lot better now. You can read it and follow Agron’s blog here: http://felldowntherabbithole.tumblr.com/ Dianna admitted that the shoot wasn’t her favorite idea, but she didn’t walk away. As for Lea Michele, there is no doubt that she is an ambitious girl willing to do anything to succeed in showbiz. In this, she is like her Glee character, Rachel. Lea showed her breasts on stage night after night in the musical Spring Awakening, and she has the raciest poses and outfits in the photo shoot. Also, she has jumped right in line with Hollywood’s hellacious body standards by losing a lot of weight between seasons 1 and 2. This disappoints us, because she is one of the most gorgeous and talented people on TV today. After Glee, she will probably always be successful, and she has a steady job. We don’t know why she thinks she needs to do stuff like this. It saddens us that her beautiful voice isn’t enough. And Cory, you could have said something or done something too. Call us prudes, but we don’t think this shoot adds anything good to the world or to TV. It’s sexist, desperate, and dumb.
It’s a world playing to the lowest common denominator. Be careful what you see.