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Reads of the Week: Shonda Rhimes, LGBT Women & ‘Glee’ Women

Take a look at this week’s Reads of the Week: Great articles about the LGBTQ community, feminism, women and anything else worth reading.


  • Photo:  @shondarhimes

    Photo: @shondarhimes

    “I am making TV look like the world looks. Women, people of color, LGBTQ people equal WAY more than 50% of the population. Which means it ain’t out of the ordinary. I am making the world of television look NORMAL. You should get to turn on the TV and see your tribe. And your tribe can be any kind of person, anyone you identify with, anyone who feels like you, who feels like home, who feels like truth. You should get to turn on the TV and see your tribe, see your people, someone like you out there, existing. So that you know on your darkest day that when you run (metaphorically or physically RUN), there is somewhere, someone, to run TO. Your tribe is waiting for you. You are not alone. The goal is that everyone should get to turn on the TV and see someone who looks like them and loves like them. And just as important, everyone should turn on the TV and see someone who doesn’t look like them and love like them. Because, perhaps then, they will learn from them.” – Shonda Rhimes, “You Are Not Alone.”

  • Glee, another show that started out focusing on a female character whose career dreams kept her going, is now one of the most anti-female shows airing. The show consistently belittles the role of women, using them as little more than emotional leaning posts for their boyfriends, boyfriends who are always heroic and decent. When Finn outed Santana it was treated as a good thing, Finn helping her come to terms with her sexuality by serenading her with a cover of Girls Just Want to Have Fun. After all, lesbianism is just girls having fun, right? Weeks later when Dave Karofsky suffers similarly by being outed it is shown through an emotionally overwrought montage and makes way for a story about teen suicide.” – “Where Have All the Good Women Gone?”
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Why I’m Not Watching Brittana

Photo: cartermatt

Photo: cartermatt

I’ve seen all the pictures and gifs, read a lot of the recaps and many of the editorial posts. Brittana are married. This is amazing, especially when Glee often seemed more determined to walk all over queer women instead of celebrate them. But I haven’t watched an episode, not even the Brittana cuts, and I won’t, at least not for awhile.

Brittana were the couple that completely changed my life, professional and personally, in ways I could not have anticipated as an adult. They were the first time I had seen two women kiss in public (granted, it was on TV and they are fictional characters), and the first story that reached into my soul and into my past and healed wounds I had forgotten about.

But beyond maybe season 3, Glee’s behavior towards queer women–their meta commentary, dismissal of fans by the creators, often offensive storytelling, encouragement of fans more interested in competition than actual people, and a laundry list of other unpleasant ripple effects–has been a complete turn off.

I am so happy for Brittana. I’m also a little sad this could have been their story over so many seasons instead of saved for the end. But most of all, I’m unwilling to open back up (for now) to a show that has been too careless with people’s feelings and lives.

‘Glee’s’ LGBTQ Thunder Dome

tumblr_niawyjFQWT1qhzi2jo1_500Glee has this habit of pitting LGBTQ characters against each other, as well as their shippers and fans. While the resulting social media commotion may be an effective way of creating some sort of social capital for a show that should have sunk years ago, it’s at the expense of the very same LGBTQ community Glee likes to congratulate itself for celebrating.

In the latest episode, which contains the much appreciated Brittana proposal and the most sensitive treatment of Brittana since season 2, it also features Santana viciously going after Kurt about why Blaine broke up with him. The result is pretty brutal and unnecessary, even for a character whose razor sharp edge is sometimes a complex, nuanced part of her personality. Really, it was uncalled for, even if Kurt interrupted Santana’s moment.

Beyond the fact that Blaine is the toxic character in the Klaine pairing and constantly escapes any sort of real criticism or challenge, it’s disheartening that Glee doesn’t seem to have room for two hugely important LGBTQ characters to exist in the same space and support each other at the same time.

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Latest ‘Glee’ Poll

EOnline’s at it again. Oy.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 12.23.27 AM

Pretty sure that sums it up.

Debunking the Debunking of Klaine’s Popularity

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Photo: glee.wikia.com – The Crack Society

Welcome back to the Klainer merry-go-round!

A friendly, helpful Klainer hoping to debunk the previous Debunking of Klaine’s popularity (going in circles, it’s a thing) provided a lot of helpful information via comments demonstrating Klainers have a lot of time on their hands to spend on the internet. Oops, I meant that Klaine are the most popular Glee couple. Spoiler alert: Still not really true. Also, there’s room for everybody, especially ALL the LGBTQ ships and characters. Hashtag, representation. Am I right, Klainers?

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Fact Checker – The Glee Shipper Version

glee-100-episode-fox-400While Klaine shippers make some of the strongest misguided claims, they are certainly not alone. Brittana shippers have been known to employ this same logic—that Brittana can save the ratings! Sure, Brittana has a lot more going for it (this is not an unbiased site), but it’s just not true. Glee’s 100th episode showed a bump in ratings. Yes, Brittana was back, but so were many originals. Mainstream critical response, which is probably the most accurate window into what general audiences think, was not overwhelmingly positive for this episode. Glee’s 101st episode, as a continuation, showed a rating drop from the week before. The Brittana resolution was not enough to even maintain ratings from the week before. Even an attempt at boycott by Brittana fans during Swan song in season 4, when the Brittana fandom was at its height, didn’t affect the ratings that much.

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Debunking Klaine’s Popularity

This introduction preceded the first installment of expunging this old Klaine research from my archives, but here it is again: To be frank, Glee has exhausted its welcome in my head space. In trying to be a healthy person after a bad relationship, I tabled finishing two posts about Klaine almost a year ago. Some of the references are out of date and I have no desire to spend any more time thinking about Klaine and the insipid behavior of Klainers (read: no, not all Klainers). But when tweets showing Klainers complaining about Brittana came across my Tumblr dash, along with comments borrowing text from our Brittana post, I realized outdated or not, things haven’t really changed at all.

So here it is, the Klaine post, down and dirty. This is the second, more practical installment, which points out some obvious fact checking errors the Klainers may have (inadvertently?) made.


One of my biggest pet peeves about the Glee fandom at times is the misinformation used to create what they think are logical arguments. Klainers especially have this idea that Klaine is all that drives the show. This is most definitely false, both in terms of the fandom and general audiences. They are not alone in the assumption that their ship runs the show (fans of many larger ships do this), but Klainers seem to be most vehement in their misinformation. So, we’ll start by debunking Klaine’s popularity with a dose of reality.

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 10.37.08 PMFirst of all, Klaine is not the most popular couple on Glee. Actually, there is no way to tell which couple is, there’s so many of them. Klainers like to point to shipper polls where Klaine has won as the best couple. What they fail to see is that for nearly every poll Klaine has won, another Glee couple has won one as well. For example, Brittana won a recent People’s Choice online couple poll, Brittana beat out Klaine to make in into the final round of an EOnline couple poll in early 2013, Faberry won an Eonline poll circa 2012, and on and on.

Not to mention, Klaine did not win best couple at the actual People’s Choice Awards this past year. In short, the lesson here is that online polls where fans are asked to choose something has no real correlation to the actual popularity of a ship. If a poll is the best evidence of a couple’s popularity, then get off the bus now, because these polls hardly reflect any real data. They more accurately represent who has the most spare time to vote many, many times online.

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Klainers – Poaching Representation

To be frank, Glee has exhausted its welcome in my headspace. In trying to be a healthy person after a bad relationship, I tabled finishing two posts about Klaine almost a year ago. While some of the references are out of date and I have no desire to spend any more time thinking about Klaine and the insipid behavior of Klainers (read: no, not all Klainers). But when tweets showing Klainers complaining about Brittana came across my Tumblr dash, along with comments borrowing text from our Brittana post, I realized outdated or not, things haven’t really changed at all.

So here it is, the Klaine post, down and dirty. We’ll start with the more serious problem in this first installment, poaching representation.


 

Source: jwmelmoth

Source: jwmelmoth.tumblr.com

The Klainers within the Glee fandom have a reputation of so enthusiastically shipping their couple, they at times defy logic and don’t care who they trample to see their couple on screen. While this is perhaps a series of traits common to many die-hard shippers, the problem with Klainers is using the argument of LGBT representation.

This argument is made by Klainers selectively—usually ignoring the female faction of the LGBT community—to manipulate the show into giving their favorite couple screen time, and then turning around and attacking real LGBT people to achieve this same goal. Klaine is increasingly for straight fangirls and has little to do with LGBT representation anymore.

I want to make something very clear up front. First of all, I will always support the right of anyone to ship whichever couples they want; people of all sexual orientations can enjoy shipping couples of any combination of genders. What I do object to; however, is the appropriation of LGBT representation of gay men by a predominantly straight female audience for their own personal gain.

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‘Glee’ Breakdowns

Photo: wnyc.org

Photo: wnyc.org

Glee released its first character breakdown yesterday, announcing the new roles Glee is casting for their final shortened season 6. Big surprise, all these new characters are high schoolers, 3 of the 5 characters are male, including another gay male character. I am going to place my bets right now that role will be cast as a white gay male.

I laughed a little at the Twitter outrage when TVLine made the casting information public this morning. More males, another gay male, no queer women… Why is anyone surprised? This is Glee, and history doesn’t lie. Glee has never really cared about telling the stories of queer women. The entire series has evolved into a disappointing homage to white men.

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Jimmy Fallon vs. Parks & Rec

Just a fun little video for a Monday, featuring the cast of Parks and Recreation versus Jimmy Fallon in a Glee-style sing-off from a couple of years ago.