Posts Tagged ‘race’
Sue is now the co-director of glee club and makes it her mission (as always) to divide and conquer the glee club and force it into submission. She does this by separating the members. Since Sue and Will are each choreographing their own numbers, Sue decides that they should have different people in each of theirs. She takes all the minority members of glee and eventually leaves Will with only three people for his number. The division and fighting eventually get to the members of the glee club and they walk out and Sue resigns. Will gives an “inspiring” speech about how they are all minorities because they are in glee and all is right in the world of the glee club.
In the meantime, Terry blackmails her obstetrician into faking a sonogram so Will can “see his baby.” And news about Quinn’s pregnancy is now all over school thanks to the blogosphere. Quinn’s crushed but sees in the end that she has the glee club to support her.
So it was great to see the minority characters in a main storyline, but this is not the way that I would have wanted it done. By separating out the minority characters, it is showing that they are different…not the same and not as talented as the white members. Of course, I think this is what the storyline was trying to show. I think it was trying to show that when people are grouped, separated, or identified solely based on their race, they are discriminated against. I really liked Mercedes line when the glee members got fed up with Sue and Will fighting and left: “I may be a strong, proud balck woman, but I am more than that.” She showed that she is proud of who she is but there is more to her than just her race. And I think that was supposed to be the moral of that storyline. But, as we see in most of the Glee storylines, what is intended by them and what they actually show are two different things.
I, of course, hated the storyline with Terry. I just cringe everytime she comes on screen because I know it is going to be something about how she is manipulating Will and faking her pregnancy, and generally being crazy. But I was glad that there wasn’t a storyling about the relationship between Will and Emma. Terry’s actions with her pregnancy are basically leading to it being ok for Will to cheat on her with Emma. But it’s still not ok, and I hate seeing all that flirting when I know what it’s leading to.
And I have to say, I liked the storyline with Quinn’s pregnancy this week. It showed what she really has invested in this pregnancy as well as the support network that she actually has (though she doesn’t think she has it or doesn’t realize that she does). And it showed that despite Rachel having feelings for Finn and those being her true motivations behind helping Quinn, that Rachel does actually care about what happens to Quinn because she feels connected to everyone in glee.
I feel like all that I talk about when I do these write-ups about Glee are race and pregnancy. But those are the things that really bother me about the show. And the blatant ableism. But I do have to say, I really do like Jane Lynch’s character Sue. She just says the most ridiculous, racist, ableist, sexist, etc. things. But we are supposed to realize that what she says and what she does are not appropriate and not right. She is the extreme that we are supposed to recognize as inappropriate.
I really liked the musical numbers this week. I keep watching Glee because a) I keep hoping it will get better and b) for the musical numbers. I felt like there were more than usual this week, and I was ok with that. It took away from the actual storyline. And I like how they incorporate the songs that the glee club is performing into the storyline between the characters. For example, Finn and Rachel singing “No Air” mirroring their actual feelings for each other. At the end, they performed “Keep Holding On” and it felt as if they were singing it to Quinn, telling her that they will support her in whatever she needs. I really do like that aspect of the show.
Also make sure to check out meloukhia’s analysis of “Throwdown” up at this ain’t livin’.
Based on the recommendations of others (particularly meloukhia), I have started watching Veronica Mars…and I love it! I am about halfway through the second season right now and I can’t wait to get the next discs from Netflix. There are of course some problematic things with the show (stereotypes, slut-shaming, etc…more later), I think that Veronica Mars is an overall feminist show.
Veronica Mars is a show about (surprise!) a teenager named Veronica Mars, played by Kristen Bell. Her dad is the ex-sheriff, now private detective in a town in Southern Califonia called Neptune. Veronica plays a large role in her dad’s private detective agency and all runs investigations through her school. Her best friend, Wallace, is usually her accomplice and she has a group of people who she turns to for information. She has run-ins with the now sheriff who pretends like he doesn’t want her help, but often takes the leads that she gives him.
The running investigation in the first season is that of the murder of her best friend, Lily, which is solved in the season finale. Lily was the daughter of a wealthy family whose son (and Lily’s brother) is Veronica’s ex-boyfriend (then boyfriend again in the second season). In the second season, the running investigation is that of a bus crash that killed 8 students. There appears to be an explosion in the bus that caused it to drive over a cliff. As I am not done with the second season yet, the investigation of the bus crash is not yet over.
So, why is this a feminist show? Veronica Mars is all about a girl taking her life into her own hands. She investigates everything from blackmail to murder to theft. She doesn’t care what people think about her and she’s not afraid to get in people’s faces.
Other than the fact that Veronica Mars is about a kick-ass woman, it tackles some really great issues. The show actually has a pretty good representation of the diversity of Southern California. Many other shows that take place in Southern California fall into the same old tv show model…an all-white cast. While a large amount of the cast of Veronica Mars is white, there are also a large amount of African American and Latino/a characters that are major players in the show. The show also tackles class issues. The high school that Veronica Mars attends is heavily populated by “09-ers” – the people who live in a certain zip code that are very wealthy. Veronica, on the other hand, is not wealthy and there is a big divide between the “09-ers” and people who don’t live in that zip code. Veronica has the uncanny ability to somewhat navigate between these two worlds. Her best friend Lily and her ex-boyfriend Duncan, as well as her other ex-boyfriend, Logan, are all “09-ers.” She kind of fit in with that world, at least with those people. But once she doesn’t associate with them anymore, she’s cast out of the “09-er” crowd. These situations really highlight class issues that happen in real life, and not just in high school. The show also handles issues of rape, exploring and developing one’s sexuality, and domestic violence.
For such a feminist show, though, there is a large amount of slut-shaming. Women who slept with their boyfriends, slept with people other than their boyfriends, or were even raped were shamed. Most of the shaming was done by high school boys — and even occassinally high school girls — but I didn’t really think that it was necessary. Not only was there slut-shaming for women who freely expressed their sexuality, there was slut-shaming for women who were raped and had not control over what was happening to them. Not cool.
There was some occassional problematic language and events, but the slut-shaming was the only ongoing, overall thing that I saw wrong with the show. What do others think? Is there something I’m missing? Or is Veronica Mars really the awesome, feminist show that I see it as?
Chally was kind enough to let me cross-post this amazing post. Chally is a scary feminist. Among other things, she’s a non-white, heterosexual, cis, disabled, middle class woman. She lives in Australia and enjoys knitting, Doctor Who, and cake. You can find her at Zero at the Bone.
To recap: I identify as non-white (the language I use to refer to myself changes though; I’ve yet to find anything I’m really comfortable with). I have blue eyes and pale skin. (I have a bittersweet joke that I’m whiter than most white people.) I often take advantage of this and keep quiet about my ethnicity around people I don’t know. Because it’s just another thing to talk about, another thing through which a dominant group constructs me as less than, because it’s just too much.
This leads to some interesting patterns.
Not knowing my background, white people tend to claim me as one of their own. I have sat through so many racist “jokes” cracked by people who thought I was in on them. I think this is a reflection of what I like to call the default human mentality. If you’re a member of a dominant group, and representations of how normal you are are just everywhere, you’re likely to think that everyone else is of that group unless they’re obviously not. I know that’s something I’ve been struggling with as a heterosexual person.
Not knowing my background, non-white people are far less likely to make assumptions. This can be reassuring and comforting, but it can be disconcerting when I’ve decided I’m going to let people think I’m white in a particular situation, especially when I’m outed among white people.
Being able to pass – or, more, being passed – as white is a privilege, it really is. This is never more apparent then when I start to talk about my ethnicity. I watch the faces of the white people I am in conversation with. All too often, there’s a quick series of emotions that run over their faces.
It goes like this. First, there’s surprise. Then, there’s a sheepish look (did I say anything that could have offended her? I should have realised…). Then a bit of internal searching, going through the back catalogue of experiences with me to see if there were any clues. After that comes indignance: hey, wait a minute, it’s not my fault and how could I have known and anyway race is a sensitive thing so I’d best keep myself out of it. It’s then that most of them realise that I can see what’s going on in their heads. I take a moment to chuckle inside. Finally, it goes one of four ways. They continue to treat me as a person, with little deferences to my particular circumstances where required (which is, you know, very nice and exactly the sort of thing you ought to do, white people). They act exactly as they did before (which is also nice, but kind of missing the point). They totally change the way they interact with me, from the way they angle their bodies to their tone of voice. Or, they shut down. With regard to this last, sometimes I wonder, is it because they feel betrayed? Are they embarrassed? Do they just not like non-white people?
So, I am no longer coded as a white person, or there is no longer any ambiguity. And there are mixed emotions there. On the one hand, it’s another piece of oppression I’ve got to wade my way through with this particular person. On the other, it’s so sweet to be identified as what I really am, to no longer modify my speech and mannerisms and what have you to conform to whiteness.
But how do non-white people react, you ask? Sometimes a ‘really?’ but more often a look of non-surprise or a ‘yeah, I thought so’ and, more often than that, happily, thankfully, we just continue with our business.
Being invisible, playing white, has only the illusion of freedom. I’m still racism’s perpetual puppet, waiting until I don’t have to be scared.