Fighting with the Sky

Posts Tagged ‘Glee

Welcome to the week leading up to Christmas…aka retail hell.  So while I’m spending my days making sure people are happy while shopping for their loved (or not-so-loved) ones, enjoy some posts that I have found intriguing.

FWD/Forward: On Speculation and Boundaries

Brittany Murphy died today.

It took exactly five seconds for the speculation to start up about why she would die of cardiac arrest at the tender age of 32, and not quite double that for the snarky comments to seep out of the woodwork. Because certainly if she had an existing heart condition we all would have known about it, since we have that right to her privacy.

What we have, much like the public consumption we have of celebrities, especially women, is a perceived right to make snap judgments about their lives and their health.

Genderbitch: Prescriptive Feminism is Patriarchy Lite

Well, except for prescriptive feminism. And therein lies the problem. Prescriptive feminism is feminism wherein women try to tell other women what to do. Not only prescribing how to be a feminist but even attempting to deny other women our self determination, agency and will. Sound familiar?

FWD/Forward: Glee: The Halfway Point: Women and Race on Glee

Glee’s core message about women seems to be that they are all manipulative, evil, lying sneaks. The show includes not one but two deceptive pregnancy plots, interspersed with numerous depictions of women as nags, from Quinn pressuring Finn to get a job to pay for the baby to Terri trying to force Will into buying a house they cannot afford. The women of Glee are so troped that they almost seem like caricatures of themselves.

Professor, What If?: What if Santa brings out the fat-haters?

Hope you can ignore all this fat-hatred Santa. Seems like your body size should be the last thing people focus on. But, when you’re fat, doesn’t seem to matter what you do or what kind of person you are, the thing people will focus on and shame you for is fat. Just imagine if you were (an out) female — then you’d likely see a load more fat-hatin and fat-shamin!

FWD/Forward: Guest Post: Future of Portrayals of Disability in Movies? Cameron’s Avatar

My doubts started forming, however, when I looked more closely at two sources: the movie’s dialogue and the movie’s synopsis. I want to start with the synopsis. Through about the film’s box office numbers, I understand that Avatar is quite popular with audiences. This synopsis contains profoundly ableist language in the way it describes the protagonist Jake as “confined to a wheelchair.” I don’t use a wheelchair; nevertheless, I was very offended when I read that. We’ve been trying to eradicate terms like “confined to a wheelchair” for a while now, and to see this demonstration of ignorance on such a large scale, since it is mainstream, is distressing

Now that most tv shows are taking a break until after the holidays, I’m going to have to find something else to write about…which will be hard as I work everyday til Christmas.  But we’ll see what happens.  In the meantime, check out these awesome posts!

feministhemes.com: SyFy Original Alice

SyFy’s Alice takes it to a new level. Alice is now a young adult teaching karate classes and navigating the dating world. When her new boyfriend Jack gives her a special family ring, she finds herself falling through the looking glass into Wonderland. Here she sets out (with the help of the Hatter) to rescue Jack and escape back to her world. Although Hatter really wants to be Alice’s hero, she often ends up using her karate skills to help them escape and really holds her own throughout the movie. Hatter just wants to save Alice, but Alice is set on saving Jack (a nice twist on the “damsel in distress” trope).

FWD/Forward: Glee: The Halfway Point: The Introduction

One of the most common criticisms leveled against people who critique television is “relax, it’s just a television show.” This is frustrating and curious when it comes to Glee because many people are praising the show for “breaking boundaries” and “drawing attention to social issues.” Fans apparently want to have it both ways; they want to be able to defend the show on the grounds that it’s “just a television show” while patting themselves on the back for watching such a progressive, insightful, inspiring television series.

Hugo Schwyzer: Ten Firsts for Feminism in 2009

For the second straight year, let me offer my own entirely unofficial “ten great firsts for feminism in 2009? list.  These come in no particular order, and you’re welcome to add your own in the comments section (or at your own blogs).

Women & Hollywood: The Nancy Meyers Effect

But what Nancy Meyers does better than anyone is make these women relatable to other women, and those women go out and buy tickets to her films. That’s why she gets paid the very big bucks and has final cut of her films. (According to the article she makes $12 million a movie not including movie she makes on the grosses.) Of course I know that I won’t be able to write a play in the throes of a breakup and then have it produced on Broadway…but knowing that didn’t make me like the film (Something’s Gotta Give) any less. I think it made me like the film MORE because Diane Keaton’s character was so competent.

The Observer: It just feels scary…all the time

He’s been voted the best Doctor Who ever, but David Tennant’s rule as the Timelord is coming to an end. So how will he cope with life outside the Tardis? Johnny Davis, who has spent the past year trailing him, talks to Britain’s most popular actor.

Just because I love Doctor Who and David Tennant and I’m excited and sad at the same time to see his last episodes as The Doctor.

00029162It’s sectionals time in the Glee world.  As already discussed, they are up against the reform school for girls and the deaf school (I’ve already talked about this pretty in depth, so I’m not going to go into it again).  But, as we already knew, Sue had leaked the set lists to the competing schools, so they performed the numbers that our glee club was supposed to, leaving them with nothing to perform and an hour to come up with something (these numbers included that reform school girls performing “Proud Mary” in wheelchairs).  Of course they pulled it off and won.  I mean, were we really expecting them to lose?

In the side stories, Emma takes the kids to sectionals, moving her wedding to Ken back a couple hours.  But that’s the last straw for Ken, and he leaves her at the alter.  Emma then quits her job at the school because she couldn’t stand to see Will or Ken around the school.  Rachel tells Finn about her suspisions about Quinn and Puck (all the secrects seem to be coming out).  Terry’s trying to work on her issues and take responsibility for lying about the baby by going to a therapist, but Will doesn’t want to hear any of it.  While the kids sing “My Life Would Suck Without You” (I hate that song) to him because he had to miss sectionals, he realizes that he’s in love with Emma and runs after her, where they share a kiss.  And the principal finds out that Sue leaked the set lists so fires her from the Cheerios and suspends her from school (does she have a job other than Cheerios coach?).

This episode was filled with all the inspirational crap that the series started off with.  I’m sorry, but maybe I’m just too cynical to take that kind of stuff seriously.  It was all, “we’re facing difficult odds, but we can pull through” and “we can do this because we have each other” stuff.  And there was a line that where they said they could win because “we believe in ourselves and what we’re singing.”  I’m sorry, I just can’t handle that kind of mushy stuff, but that’s just me.

And I probably was not as happy as the audience was supposed to be to see Will and Emma get together in the end.  We all knew that they were building up to this.  And we were supposed to be happy when this happened because they were building Terry up as this evil wife whom Will should have left a long time ago, so it’s ok that he’s in love with another woman.  And I don’t really feel their chemistry all the time, so the ending of the show felt a little forced to me.  And just so we’re all clear, they are also doing the same thing with Finn and Rachel.  They built Quinn up to be a lying girlfriend, so it was ok that Finn was in love with Rachel and now that Finn and Quinn are done, he is free to be with the person he really loves.

And speaking of Emma, I was quite proud of her during this episode (except at the end when she and Will kissed).  At sectionals, she stood up to the other glee club’s supervisors.  She told them off about the lessons that they were teaching their kids — that the only way they could win was by cheating.  And told them that maybe if they would have believed in their kids more, they would have been amazing without cheating.  Then later in the episode, she (briefly) didn’t let the men in her life control it anymore.  After Ken left her, she realized that she couldn’t put herself through the pain of working at that school anymore, so she quit.  And when Will realized that he didn’t want her to leave, she told him that she couldn’t be with him because he just left his wife.  But apparently all that changed when he kissed her.

And did they seriously have to have the reform school girls do “Proud Mary” in wheelchairs?  It would have been just as an effective of a steal if they had done it without the wheelchairs.  I think they were trying to go for funny…that the reform school girls didn’t have anyone in a wheelchair so it was funny that they would do a number in wheelchairs.  But it was bad enough when our glee club did it originally, but to have that school steal it and perform the number when there was no one disabled in their choir, I think that was worse.

I was happy for a while when Mercedes stood up for herself because she wanted to perform the ballad instead of Rachel.  She did a great performance which even Rachel recognized as good and won that honor.  But then the other school performed it, so she gave the ballad back to Rachel, even though Rachel just wanted to find another song for Mercedes to sing.  I was happy for a while because it was a minority character who wasn’t just going to blend into the background.  But then she gave it up to the white girl again, who already gets all the attention from the show.

Well, Glee is done for the fall.  So I guess we’ll have to wait til January (or whenever it comes back on, I’m not really sure) to see how they are going to prepare for regionals.  I wonder what kind of drama they are going to create now that Will knows Terry’s not pregnant and Finn knows Puck is the father.  Maybe they’ll create drama away from pregnancy and making all women look decietful and petty.  I can hope, can’t I?

00029130This week’s episode of Glee is all about the glee club members trying to fit in…still.  Sue gets the principal to take away the glee club’s yearbook picture, which the glee club is surprisingly ok with because a yearbook picture might bring more unwanted, negative attention to them.  Except for Rachel, who desperately wants the yearbook picture.  She ends up getting the glee club a commercial for a local mattress store.  But what they don’t know is that accepting payment for a singing job would get them disqualified from sectionals.  Mr. Shue ends up taking the blame for them so that the team can go to sectionals without him.

The day has come.  We all knew it was around the corner.  In the most dramatic scene that Glee has ever seen, Will finds out that Terry is not actually pregnant.  There was yelling, Will got mad, and Terry looked like an emotional, irrational woman.  I’m really glad that Will has finally found out because the whole Terry-hiding-her-pregnancy-from-Will storyline was probably my least favorite.

This episode did mark a return of the Will/Emma storyline, which I am also not a fan of.  Just thought I’d throw that out there.  Emma also proclaims that she identifies with Terry’s decision to fake a pregnancy because losing Will would just be too hard.  Yet another example of how the show paints women as irrational and out to get the men.  And speaking of that…has anyone else noticed how fickle Rachel’s emotions are?  First she’s into Finn.  Then she’s into Puck.  Then she’s in love with Mr. Shue.  And now she’s back to being in love with Finn.  Because high school girls will fall in love with anyone who gives them any attention, obviously.

Honestly, I didn’t think this episode had a whole lot of storyline outside of Will and Terry’s fight.  But one thing that really stuck out to me was the performance for the mattress commercial of “Jump.”  Throughout the entire performance, everyone is jumping around on mattresses…except for Artie.  But how could he, he’s in a wheelchair, right?  Artie was just propped up in a mattress in his wheelchair off in the corner not really doing anything.  And then there was a shot of him laying on a mattress while people jumped around him so that he bounced.  Just another example of Glee portraying people in wheelchairs of not being capable of doing much of anything.  I’m sure they could have worked some better, more active choreography into the number for Artie instead of him sitting there doing nothing and then having people bounce him.

I do have to say, though, that I did really like the Lily Allen song, “Smile.”  I love Lily Allen, so it was great to see one of her songs in the show, even if it did catch me off gaurd.

Sadly, these are really the only comments that I have for this episode.  I just wasn’t that impressed, positively or negatively, by much of anything.

Update: meloukhia brought up a really good point in her review.  I can’t believe I didn’t talk about this originally, I remember being shocked about it when I was watching the episode…I guess I was so shocked that I forgot to write it in my notes.  But I need to bring it up now.  When Will finds out that Terry isn’t actually pregnant, we see him as an abusive husband.  He yells and throws things.  He even grabs her arm quite forcefully and backs her up against the counter with no way of escape.

Ok, yelling I get.  He’s upset.  I yell when I’m upset.  But there’s no reason to be physically or verbally abusive.  What she did was a pretty horrible thing (and I am glad the storyline is over because I hated it), but there’s never an excuse for abuse.  I think this situation could possibly be grounds for divorce, but it would have been nice to see them talk about it rationally and without physical or verbal abuse.  I can even understand Will leaving for a while.  It was probably a good thing to cool down so as to not escalate the level of abuse.  But can we ever see a mature, honest relationship based on communication in Glee?  Apparently not because they can’t even show Will and Terry talking about the situation.

Again, I’m sorry I didn’t include this originally.  MAJOR mistake on my part.

Oh Glee.  This week Will is scared the Sue is leaking his set list and choreography to the competition but then feels bad about accusing one of the teams of cheating, so invites them to a scrimage — which of course leads to inviting the other team to a scrimage.  Who are the competition you may ask.  Well, they are a correctional school for girls and a school for the deaf.  Let’s just throw some stereotypes and ableism in there for a good old time.

I have to be honest, I didn’t really think there was a whole lot of plot this week.  Finn likes Rachel, but then Rachel changes her appearance because she thinks Finn will like her better.  Quinn is confused about her feelings for Puck, so invites him to babysit with her.  But he ends up “sexting” with Santana the whole time they are together.  So Finn and Quinn decide that they are in love again.

But despite the lack of plot, there certainly was a whole lot of problematic things about the episode.

Ok, let’s start with some of the very apparent ableism.  When one of the girls (the blond Cheerio, I don’t remember her name) is showing the glee club how to fling their hair around, she actually says “it’s like cool epilepsy.”  But she’s the dumb blond who says stupid things, so it’s ok.  Yeah, I’m sure people with epilepsy love being othered and objectified in this way.  And then there was the glee club for the school for the deaf.  I actually enjoyed the beginning of their performance of “Imagine.”  There was one main guy vocally singing the song and the rest of the club was sign singing the song.  It was actually pretty nice.  But then “our” lovely glee club was so “moved” (I guess) by the performance that they felt the need to join in.  They sang next to them and tried to join in on the signing.  Why?  Why do you need to take over their performance like that.  I’m sure it was meant to be this touching moment of teams joining together to sing “Imagine,” but it just felt to me like some great appropriation.

But don’t worry, they also sang “True Colors” at the end of the show while sitting in a  semi-circle with different colored shirts on.  I’m sorry, sure “True Colors” has a great message, but I really don’t like that song.  It’s just super-cheesy.

And then there’s Kurt’s makeover of Rachel.  Kurt (by the encouragement of Quinn) makes Rachel think that Finn will like her more if she dresses more provocatively — or not like a combination between a grandmother and a toddler as they say in the show.  Rachel is very beautiful and she already has a fondness for pretty short skirts.  But let’s slap some more makeup on her and skin-tight clothes to make the boys like her more.  This sends a great message.  But, again, don’t worry…Finn tells her that he liked her they way she was, he liked the way she dressed, and he doesn’t like what she’s done to herself.  So, yet again, Finn is the good guy and Rachel is just messed up in the head.

Which brings us to, yet again, the overwhelming theme of the show…boys are amazingly great and the girls are just crazy.  But this wasn’t necessarily the case with all of the guys this episode.  Puck shows us that he is still going to be who he is — which apparently a jerk.  He’ll be a father to Quinn’s baby but he’s still going to cheat on her if she doesn’t “give it up” to him.  I was really starting to like Puck, but then the writers had to go and do this.  Because he is the “stereotypical” high school guy.  All he really cares about is sex and doesn’t really care about anyone else.  It would be great with we saw some more nuanced characters of Glee.

I was really disappointed with this week’s episode.  Not only was there not a whole lot of plot and a whole lot of problematic content, the songs weren’t even that good.  That’s usually what keeps me going, as those of you who regularly read these reviews know.  But this episode, there just wasn’t really that much.  Period.

1x10_8Sorry about the late posting, but I actually had a life outside of the internet this week.  I’m just going to start off by saying I hate hot for teacher story lines.  This week’s episode was all about the power of the ballad to express emotions that you wouldn’t normally be able to express.  Rachel gets paired with Mr. Shue for their assignment on singing a ballad to a partner and immediately falls in love with him.  Mr. Shue is really concerned about this so he sings a mash-up of “Young Girl” and “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” to tell her that she should back off.  Of course, she doesn’t get the message.  But she finally does come to her senses and apologizes to Mr. Shue.

In the meantime, Finn is really stressing about Quinn’s pregnancy so Kurt (who is trying to turn him gay because he is in love with Finn) suggests that he sing “I’ll Stand By You” to his baby to get out his emotions.  Finn’s mom catches him singing to a sonogram and then makes the connection that Quinn is pregnant.  And then Finn decides that he needs to tell Quinn’s parents, so he sings “You’re Having My Baby” to her while at dinner with her parents and her parents kick her out of the house.

So this episode is just yet another example of how Glee portrays women in a negative light.  All of the men are these great guys who put up with the crazy women in their lives.  Mr. Shue has to deal with both Rachel’s love and Terry’s paranoia and non-pregnancy.  Finn has to deal with Quinn yelling at him all the time and is a great guy for continuing to support her.  But can we also talk about how Mr. Shue agreed to sing “Endless Love” with Rachel which is what made her fall in love with him (not that it’s Mr. Shue’s fault, but you can see where he has some responsibility in this).  And then he thinks it’s a good idea to sing to her again to get her to back off.  Really?  You think that’s a good idea?  And then Emma (the guidance counselor) was absolutely no help.  It was her idea to sing to Rachel to back off.  Then she was there and got so caught up in his performance that all she could say “he’s a great performer.”  No help at all.

And Finn.  He had no right to tell Quinn’s parents without her permission.  And obviously she had a reason for not telling them because her father kicker her out of the house (luckily, Finn’s mom is pretty supportive and is letting Quinn stay with them).  And even if it is the “right” thing to do to tell Quinn’s parents, that’s her decision to make, not his.  Even if it did fit in the song “You’re Having My Baby” (which I was expecting at some point), it’s still not okay.

And then there’s Kurt trying to turn Finn gay — making comments like “girls are your problem” and “that’s enough to make you give up girls altogether.”  I just really don’t like story lines where gay people try to turn straight people.  I mean I’m all for expressing the sexuality that you feel, but you can’t “turn” someone, and I don’t think we should be promoting that idea.

As always, I enjoyed the musical performances.  I really liked their rendition of “Lean On Me” (which the glee club sang to Finn and Quinn to show that they support them).  It’s a standard glee club, a capella song, so I was expecting it to come up at some point.  As much as I enjoy the musical numbers and continue to watch for said musical numbers, I really wish that the story lines would step up to the callibre of the musical numbers.

So, this is going to be yet another week where I will be pretty absent from the online community.  I’m working tomorrow and then I will be out of town Thursday through Saturday to visit some friends.  In other exciting news, Sarah Palin will be starting her book tour for Going Rogue right here in my hometown of Grand Rapids at a local Barnes & Noble.  “Sadly” not at the B&N that I work at and I will also be working when she’s going to be here so I don’t get the lovely privilege of going to her book signing.  You can tell how upset I am about this.

Anyways, here are some of my favorite posts of the past couple days, as always.  Don’t forget to leave links to what you have been writing/reading in the comments!

FWD/Forward: Glee: “That’s why we call it dismissing legitimate concerns instead of acting”

[Before I go any further: I didn’t feel “empowered” by Glee, nor did most of the women with disabilities that I know. That said, my goal here isn’t to tell you or anyone you know how to feel about the show. My objection to the above is not only the condescending tone and dismissal of everything that people who actually work in the industry are saying about representations of disability and how that affects their work, but also being told how I should feel about the show.]

Women & Hollywood: A Tale of Two Young Actresses

The NY Times ran two very different stories about two very different young actresses – Megan Fox and Kristen Stewart – who both appear in huge franchises, Fox in Transformers and Stewart in Twilight. Both women had cover pieces, Stewart in the Arts & Leisure section and Fox in the Magazine.

Both these women are big tabloid fodder. Their faces are everywhere but there are a lot of differences between these women and I think it illuminates some of the issues facing young women in the business today.

The Sexist: Chris Brown: “I Love Women”

It assumes that all women are the same. I’m a heterosexual woman with plenty of men in my life. I love my father, my brother, and my boyfriend. I do not love Tucker Max, Tom Cruise, or the skeevy guy in The Continental. How could this possibly be? Because I understand that even though my boyfriend and Tucker Max share a couple of pronouns, they have little else in common. Men who announce that they “love women” fail to recognize us as individuals.


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