Glee shoot 'borders on paedophilia'
Two female cast members from television show Glee are being criticised for posing in sexy outfits in a men's magazine.PT1M0S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-16vdq 620 349 October 21, 2010
My daughter is a huge Glee fan. I pretend not to be but truth is your columnist is a middling Gleek as well.
She and I like to sing. The girl has a beautiful voice, clear pitch, a strong diaphragm. I can hold a tune and that's about it. When she was a baby I sang her show tunes in the bath. She listened intently; and as she toddled she too began to sing with a child's unbridled joy.
When she was five we found a singing teacher even though she was too young to read the lyrics. We lied about her age because the teacher had never taken on anyone that small before. Thanks to her early bath training she was able to conceal that she couldn't read - she already knew so many of the standards.
She would look at the music, the small electric mind working out that shapes on the page corresponded to the words that she was singing. It's an overreach to say singing taught Evie to read, but somehow the singing smoothed the transition. Eventually we fessed up about our fraud. Theresa didn't mind: by then she'd taken my girl very much to her own heart.
My daughter doesn't go to singing lessons any more; she is pursuing other things in the peripatetic spirit of Generation Nintendo. But it was the music that drew her to Glee and she stayed because it provides a glimpse into her imagined future. She's toddling again, more confidently and robustly towards another transition - high school, young womanhood, which in her eyes is a glamorous thing.
The future can be glimpsed through many portals. There's one in her mother's wardrobe, where her feet are now large enough to pilot the high heels. Glee is another one. The Glee universe is a place where older kids have unfettered agency - parents are either permissive, absent, repressive and therefore justifiably rebelled against, or repressive then permissive - in any case they are cameos, not the main game. Young adults are the centre of the universe: a pleasing hierarchy to envisage if you stand on the threshold of joining them.
When Evie first started watching the show, I flinched periodically at the risque references and at what her younger brother, an intermittently sober young man, refers to as ''adult concepts''. (Was she ready, the perpetual present mother's question?)
But reservations were counterbalanced by the intrinsic intelligence of the show. If we were being curmudgeonly and ungracious, we'd tut-tut and opine that it's generic and archetypal, but it's deft and it has bite. The show doesn't treat its young audience with contempt; it doesn't assume they can't manage anything beyond Justin Bieber and tortured Home and Away love triangles involving semi-literate lunk-heads in Havianas.
It gives the teenage personality permission to be complex - people who conform in Glee are idiots and drones, reversing the conventional gravitational pull of the cohort aged between 10 and 20.
Thespians and nerds and a young man in a wheelchair are resilient and cool: the princesses and jocks are the vulnerable ones because their engineered selfhood is revealed to be a house of cards. It's a good message to have in your back pocket to navigate the high school jungle.
So I was disappointed to discover this week that the bright young things of Glee have been predictable. They have done a soft-porn photo-shoot for GQ magazine. Parents' groups in the US have been quivering with umbrage at the thought of still chubby hands picking up GQ in a store, imagining it is Disney Girl. Fans have reacted with a collective ''what the . . .?'' Maybe they thought they were being ironic - the shoot is certainly camp enough to be ironic - in any case the in-joke fell flat with their audience, who were offended enough to provoke one of the young actors into a public apology.
My negative reaction wasn't so much concerned with a reflexive aversion to boobs and bums. The actors are adults, your columnist is instinctively libertarian on these questions. My aversion was more on the ground they had been so stereotypical. How disappointing to be rendered plain vanilla after all - to have to be dewy-eyed and come hither rather than persist in ornery and unconventional.
My hope for my own daughter more than anything is to be ornery and unconventional and inspired in a sea of conformity - a girl confident enough not to need to hold her mother's hand any more - even if sometimes the reality of that inevitable evolution in our relationship makes me cry.
Katharine Murphy is The Age's national affairs correspondent. Follow her at Twitter@murpharoo