When I first laid eyes on the controversial Glee photo shoot in GQ, my immediate thought was, “This again?” The “schoolgirls gone wild” trope is an incredibly limiting way of looking at women’s sexuality, and yet, it remains oh-so-popular! So here we have yet another spread sexualizing youth, boobs, and underwear. What else is new?
Being sexual isn’t always objectifying — not if you’re in driver’s seat — but clearly, there wasn’t a lot of imagination that went into this photoshoot. Dianna Agron says that the stars were asked to “play” risque versions of their characters, and that’s the thing: this is just acting. None of these images represent anything authentic or real about sexuality. They’re fantasies, and judging from the presence of a fully clad male co-star in the spread, these are fantasies tailored specifically to the male gaze.
Though Agron admits that the naughty schoolgirl theme “wasn’t [her] favorite idea”, she went along with the idea, perhaps because women in our society are taught to trade their looks for approval. Men, on the other hand, aren’t subject to the same pressure. (Cory Monteith has got his pants on.) THAT’S what we call a double standard. Perhaps Cory should take off his pants?
Which is not at all the message to be sending to gURLs! Jaclyn Friedman, executive director of Women, Action, and the Media, said in a Twitter discussion yesterday that it’s important to “make sure girls know they’re valued for many reasons that have nothing to do with sex or sexuality or their bodies.” Right on, Jaclyn! (The full conversation can be viewed at #sheparty, a weekly Tweet chat held on Wednesdays.)
Think of all the great things they could have done in this shoot to emphasize these stars’ personalities instead of their physiques. And instead of playing into the same old stereotypes about what’s sexy and what’s not, what would have been authentic and independent ways to express their sexuality? Do you think the shoot was inherently sexist (on top of being sexy?)?
Tell me, below.
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