Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Slut Shaming on Glee

While overall I thought last night's episode of Glee "Furt" was great, I have one bone to pick. Glee has done a great job at addressing homophobic bullying, but has unfortunately, consistently participated in slut shaming.

At the beginning of last night's episode, Rachel calls a meeting with Quinn, Brittany, and Tina to tell them that they all need to put pressure on their football player boyfriends to confront Kurt's bully, who had been growing increasingly unpredictable and scary.

"Wait a minute. You just set feminism back like 50 years," Quinn tells her. Ha ha! I laughed.
Then Santana walks in. (The female character... not the famous male guitarist.) She perceives the meeting to be something about Glee club that she was left out of, and Rachel explains that it's only for girls whose boyfriends are on the football team.
"I'm dating Puck," Santana points out.
"You're getting naked with Puck," Quinn replies. Aaaannnnddd now YOU have set feminism back 50 years! Santana has no problem with her sexuality... so why do others?
Santana (played by Naya Rivera) is the show's resident bad girl. She's not usually nice, she's aggressive, and she's sexually active, and pretty. Like other sexually active girls in the media, Santana is portrayed as predatory and her sexuality is seen as something sad. The virginity of the other characters is seen in contrast to Santana's promiscuity, and this sets up the classic good girl/bad girl on-screen dichotomy. A girl cannot be a good person and sexually active.

Like Sarah Michelle Gellar's character in Cruel Intentions or Regina George in Mean Girls, Santana has been relegated into the character slump of "mean slut." Which is really unfortunate because not only is Naya Rivera a talented actress and singer, but the slut shaming on Glee (Santana and Brittany are often talked about as being easy or slutty) is undermining one of Glee's principle messages that bullying is bad. Slut shaming is bullying, and I hope that sometime... soon... there's a story arc about Santana standing up to Quinn's born-again-virgin snootiness and saying that there's nothing wrong in with her comfort in being sexual.

7 comments:

  1. Very true, but Santana herself is a bully, which is why I have no sympathy for her. Brittany, who is portrayed as one who "gets around," is made to be a likable though dumb character who doesn't truly mean any harm. Santana, however, is quick to attack others personally and has been a bully on the show since day 1.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Santana is a bully and her character is hard to like, but my problem with her portrayal is that by making Santana unlikeable, it's sending the message to viewers that slut-shaming is not only acceptable (because no one sticks up for her... as she's mean), but valid because Santana "deserves it" for being a bully.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I do agree that because Santana's character is a mega bitch, it's sort of an excuse for others to pass harsher judgment on her. But I don't think that Glee partakes in "slut shaming" as much as other shows do. Actually, I remember very early on in the show when the exact opposite ideals were portrayed as "wrong" (Quinn's oath of celibacy was made out to be almost laughable). I think Santana's sexuality is just a part of her character that isn't meant to be negative, but that's just me. Maybe I just don't see it as a bad thing and the Quinn moment you're referring to was so brief that it went over my head so I didn't think of it as slut shaming.

    In terms of her being a bully, I think and I hope that we'll learn more about why she's so mean to others later on, as we have seen very brief moments of her being both vulnerable and insecure.

    Honestly, this show has makes me mad on many levels. The main character, Rachel, pretty much needs a guy in her life in order to be happy. Actually, it seems as though every female in the show except for Sue and Santana, needs a man or partner in her life to be happy. But that's another rant for a different day.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Also, I want to just add that I really like your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  5. All the female characters are pretty lame, I've been bothered by that too. But in general, I think that female sexuality on Glee has been treated badly. Other than than episode in the first season where Rachel calls out the purity club on being dumb. Quinn had sex and got pregnant --> now she's a born again virgin and "cold." Rachel is too insecure, Santana has sex and is a skank, Brittany has sex and is dumb... none of them are having healthy relationships, which I know doesn't make for good television, but I feel like the way that the girls' sexuality is being treated is drastically different than the boys' characters and it's not sending out a good message on any front.

    ReplyDelete
  6. who cares if shes a bully she is hot so she gets away with it because all the guys want to bone her

    ReplyDelete
  7. really every guy in the show and the world wants her to go down on them and then hump her brains out cos she is fucking hot and needs aa good ploughing which I for one would be happy to provide

    ReplyDelete