Pop-Culture | Posted by Blake W on 06/12/2013

Female Stereotypes on Glee

Glee gets a lot of crap for the way they portray their female characters. They are mostly vain, obsessed with themselves, or are solely focused on their love interests. Since it’s probably way too much to hope that a show like Glee actually portrays multidimensional, realistic characters, I’ve decided to come up with three female archetypes that Glee could use to create more compelling characters (but, let’s be honest, will probably mess up).

The Feminist

How Glee could get it right:
She could be one of the rare female characters that isn’t obsessed with a guy on this show, and have a Jack and Liz kind of thing going on with Mr. Shue. Most importantly, she could bring a focus on women’s issues to the show. She could be involved in organizations like NOW and have Girl-Power themed song weeks and talk about the sexualization of women in the music and entertainment industries.

How they’d probably mess it up:
Instead of making her a well informed feminist whose interest in women’s rights comes from her belief that women should be treated equally, they’ll make her a bitter man-hater with serious daddy issues. Only the love of one of the male Glee members can cure her. Or, they’ll give her a makeover and learn that what they initially thought was man hate was just the beginnings of a Taylor Swift disciple.

The “Slut”
How Glee Could Get It Right:
Basically, make her a teenage Blanche Devereaux from Golden Girls: a girl who sleeps with and dates a bunch of men because she wants to and refuses to be slut shamed. This could ideally spark an episode about how destructive double standards are. A stand off between her and an abstinence only education speaker would be awesome.

How they’d Probably mess it up:
They would probably make her a self-hating “slut” or make her settle down with the right boy, because he changed her and showed her the error of her ways (implying that there was something wrong with her in the first place).

The Prude
How Glee could get it right:
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a slightly more comprehensive and realistic view of abstinence in the media? I completely agree with the idea that abstinence-only education contributes to teen pregnancy and STD’s by keeping teenagers uninformed about sex and preventive measures (Glee actually does deserve props for having acknowledged this). But for some teenagers, this is a perfectly valid option, because of religious reasons or not — there are plenty of teenagers who choose not to have sex for their own reasons. The show could focus on how this girl handles relationships and could praise her for making the personal choice that’s right for her.

How they’d probably mess it up:
Instead of having her base this decision on her own judgements and ethics about sex and relationships, it will eventually be revealed that she once had an awful experience with sex somehow, or they’ll make her a christian bigot. But most likely she will end up falling in love with a boy who makes her re-think all of her values.

As you can see there is a theme running through this post: I believe there’s a way to make the character archetypes mainstream sitcoms like Glee use positive for women. If only the writers of these shows would keep an open mind, and try their best to create positive role models for women, these shows overall (not just their characters) would improve.

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