First let me say of the photo “spread” of the cast members of the hit show Glee, that these types of images are not the thing that people are up in arms about. Why would they be? You can’t walk past a news kiosk without being confronted or ass-ulted by a woman’s crotch. So it’s not really that Lea Michele is spread eagle in her undies in the high school locker room- but in my opinion perhaps is should be. Albeit in today’s society, the reality is that it is not the core issue.
What Went Wrong?
The problem started on the set of this GQ magazine photoshoot. True these were Adult “Barely Legal” – (but legal indeed) actors who portray high school students on a mega hit television show that is marketed to a broad demographic that includes kids as young as 10 year olds. Just who thought this would be a good artistic concept? Let me see, how did the art direction meeting go?

:”Ok ok so next week we’re shooting the kids from Glee. Let’s do a high school theme we’ll have the sort of loose 1950’s styling we do the cool guy musician maybe a jock, we can do like a cheerleader and like the hot fast- slutty girl”

“yeah that’s sounds perfect”

Flash to the actresses half dressed vamping it up simulation fellatio on a lollipop and legs spread from here to Sunday, or skirt hiked up and bra showing while kneeling over a megaphone.
I find the hyper- sexualization of the two female characters not wholly out of place as the shoot was for a men’s magazine but the imbalance is just so glaringly absurd- and typically pornographic with the the males fully clothed (I mean they are wearing coats and jackets) while the girls are in various states of undress!

There are a few things I find curious about Gleegate. The first is whose responsibility is it to have these actors represent themselves and the type of show that they are apart of? Is it the magazine’s? Personally I wouldn’t charge them as they are trying to sell issues. Is it the network? Now I would think that they might want to protect and preserve their product- what happened to the old school Disney days when Annette Funicello was not allowed to bare her belly button—oh yeah Brittany Spears and Dirty girl Christina Aguilera marked the dawn of a new day- and Miley is just starting to turn. Ok so what about the actresses themselves? I can’t image that someone intimidated these ladies into their lack of wardrobe or skanky poses. Truthfully Dianna Agron’s photos were not so bad, all of her bits are more or less covered however Lea Michele the “Star” of Glee went for broke.

You can almost smell her ambition coming off the photos (I’m gonna leave the easy joke alone). I can picture the set of the shoot with Michele doing her level best to one up her castmate, she gives off that type of energy. Yes high school all over again, “I’ll show you I’m hotter – give me that lollipop.”

Here is what bothers me about it. There is much ado about the fact that these are adults- not the miner characters they play. This is the justification given. Ok let’s go that route: These are adult women, thus these women have the where with all to make decisions for themselves about who they are and how the want to show up in the world. They themselves are well aware as to why they were asked to do that photo shoot in the first place, they know who their fan base is. They are the some of the hottest actresses out there now- It is hard for me to believe that for a promotional shoot like this that they would feel that they HAD to do something outside of themselves to “get ahead”. What I can believe is that somewhere they thought that this sort of imagery was somehow expected of them, the norm, that it’s what girls do to be hot and desirable. This is what is so troublesome about Gleegate. It goes to back to this idea of the sexualization of women – not necessarily by MEN but by themselves. It troubles me that the girl who is the stand out star of the show – is clearly talented, can sing, act and dance was the one who took the raunchiest photos almost in an effort to diminish her authentic talent and power. As if to say hot is more important, has more cache than being capable. It sends out the idea that even if you are smart, beautiful talented and attractive that it is still not enough- you have to be the take your clothes off and get slutty to score points with the boys- it helps nowadays if you kiss a girl while you’re at it.
I find the whole debacle pitiful on all accounts. It’s pitiful, irresponsible, and sad. Ladies, you are enough! You are fabulous fully clothed! Put your clothes on, close your legs and anybody who doesn’t like it let ’em suck a lollipop!