Not sure I would call Glee a wholesome family show. A friend of mine who watches Glee with her 14-year-old son said she was appalled by a scene in the episode with Britney Spears in which a boy was masturbating in an audience. Glee has plenty of mature themes that require parental guidance, and the many pre-teens who are watching may not be ready for those discussions.
So now three of the cast members have appeared in a pornified photo spread for the November issue of GQ and there is an outcry. Some parents are angry, saying that since the actors represent teens and their fan base is teens, they should behave in a way that somehow reflects their teen-aged characters. I don’t really see that. The older teens who are an appropriate audience for this show can differentiate between actors and real people. And in that same Britney Spears episode, Lea Michele appears in a schoolgirl sexual fantasy outfit, with pigtails and revealing school uniform, not so unlike the one she wears in the GQ photos. The GQ photos take it farther, but we were already on the way.
And I don’t agree with the Parents Television Council that these photos sexualize teens or border on pedophilia. The actors are adults. It’s not pedophilia or child porn if we’re displaying adult women, even if they are dressed like schoolgirls and posed in school settings, it’s just fantasy.
These are not my concerns with this magazine feature. My concern, as a parent, is that we are raising our children into a culture that regularly sexualizes women, a culture that does not value women for their accomplishments. And the music industry may be the worst offender. Research presented last week at the SPARK Summit found that over 90 percent of music videos featuring female artists contained some degree of sexualization. In other words, almost all of them. Did these two women decide that if they wanted careers in music, it was time to stop living in a fantasy world in which female singers are not degraded? Possibly.