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Glee's Gender Issues: It Has Them


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#541

josiek

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Posted May 8, 2013 @ 4:30 AM


But is that Rachel thing wrong? I think Rachel does need to learn about adult love and she was very immature on what she though love was in that season.

Rachel has to matures in a lot of way.  I was givng one examply where she was doing something selfless and got no credit for  it while Finn did something selfless and was a romataci hero. [snip]


Edited by TWoP Howard, May 8, 2013 @ 3:20 PM.
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#542

SNeaker

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Posted May 8, 2013 @ 6:43 AM

[Santana] could be very mean to Puck but not constantly because they pretty almost never interacted after Season 1 but there was a reason he loved Lauren for beating her so badly.

 

Santana was never really mean to Puck, considering. Unlike Finn or Sam, she never seemed to loathe him for having dated/slept with him. She tried to sabotage his relationships, but that was not revenge or the desire to hurt him, but rather "this is my toy, and I don't want to play with it until one of the other kids picks it up." She's never hurled insults at him or singled him out for ridicule the way she did Finn and Sam (and just about everyone else in the club.) The worst she's said was that she was dumping him because his credit scores are low (ouch?) and that she was not turned on by his whining. Which for Santana is astonishingly mild. Her only other comments about Puck have been complimentary. Most of the time she ignores him.

 

Still, I have always thought the double standards with Puck or Karofsky were worse than with Finn. Puck was always treated as a lovable rougue and mostly accepted once he was in the group. He didn't really have to make up for past sins (which were more violent) the way Quinn and Santana did even in senior year by giving away prom queen. And you could argue Santana still is. That isn't to say Quinn and Santana don't have anything to make up for, of course. But Puck was far more vicious and cruel and continued to be a bully to almost the end of season 1 when he was dating Mercedes and stil throwing kids in dumpsters.

 

Karofsky's crimes were white-washed, but I don't agree that Puck's were. In fact, I remember thinking and making the point that Karofsky's quick turnaround was in stark contrast to Puck's slow one. Back in Season 1 when Puck was still ostensibly bullying outside the club for a while, he was also not popular within the club. In fact, he had no friends, especially once he lost Finn as well, and the only people he interacts with for most of that season are Quinn (his baby mama) and Rachel (who was using him.) When he dates Mercedes there's an implication that he actually hasn't been bullying in a while but that the loss of his mohawk and getting dumpster-tossed causes him to act out and go back to his old ways. Mercedes calls him on this, and the impression I get is that he stopped after that (other than acting out again after he came back from juvie, but that was a cry for help.) He has certainly expressed remorse about it on numerous occasions, most recently in "Goodbye" when he admitted he was an ass for most of High School and felt bad about it. I can’t recall either Quinn or Santana ever doing anything of the sort.

 

In any case, it's true that when Puck joined glee club he should have apologized to Artie and Kurt for previous bullying (as should Quinn and Santana and Brittany to those they bullied), but at the very least Puck stopped bullying anyone in the club as soon as he joined. Yeah, Puck can be snarky, but the only person he regularly takes the mickey out of is Finn, and that's best-bro ribbing. He's left everyone else alone since joining the club, and I can't think of one nasty thing he's said or done to any of them since then (not counting the "raw dog a beehive" stuff with Quinn, but that was personal and not bullying.) This is a very key difference between him and Santana that I think goes beyond their genders -- Santana was a bully within the glee club for another two years. Her insults and schemes were not always harmless. They were mean and they hurt people. And that's why they didn't like her. Puck apologized, sincerely, to Rachel back in Season 1, episode 8 (something I believe Santana and Quinn have never done), and after that he slowly slowly started showing signs of having changed; quitting bullying, standing up for the club and the people in it, and actually making friends. He also had everything he's done (multiple dumpster tosses, slushies, beaten up by the football team and at juvie, locked in a porta-pottie -- overnight! -- verbal and physical bullying by Rick the Stick) karmically come back on him, and each time he took his licks and it led to growth. I would say the trials he went through were harsher than Santana and Quinn making the choice to give up being prom queens when they realized they no longer wanted it. Although I'd say Santana's real trial came when Finn outed her as that was more directly related to her bullying and pushing him until he snapped. (Which was not ok for him to do, of course.)

 

As for Quinn, I don't believe she was ever really called to task for her mean-girl bullying, and the club voraciously embraced her and lavished support on her during her pregnancy, even though she had never been nice to any of them ever. I don't think she's ever been made to apologize or take responsibility for it. Certainly not by Rachel who repeatedly tripped over her own feet to be Quinn's friend. Giving up prom queen to Rachel was...more about the specific issues between her and Rachel and all the PROM QUEEN crap when she was dating Finn. She sure as hell never had to apologize for her stint with the skanks in which she engaged in bullying and giving swirlies to kids to extort money from them. Quinn has had many trials of her own (many, many), but I can't say they were directly related to her bullying and therefore felt like some kind of punishment in the way all of Puck's crimes came back to haunt him.

 

I think the show has gender issues, but I honestly don't think the "paying for bullying" is one of them.
 

Puck to a small degree with Quinn. Except Quinn is not going to play that game for long. You can sppon her but in the morning she is going to be stealing a baby no matter what yo have to say.

 

Puck's "saving" of Quinn in that horror of an episode was annoying as hell, but at least Quinn got to pay it forward and be a hero by saving him with a speech and a Princess Charming kiss in "Goodbye."


Edited by SNeaker, May 8, 2013 @ 7:25 AM.


#543

Cherith

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Posted May 8, 2013 @ 7:34 AM

Both Quinn and Santana have apologized to Rachel both in words and in actions. Quinn implicitly when she asked why Rachel was being so nice after all the horrible things she had done and in practice by constantly telling Rachel how she was better than Finn and Lima and had to get away. Santana in the Whitney episode and in actions by advocating her talent and having her back. And Santana and Rachel were always mutually antagonistic so I don't even know that she had to apologize. Why does Santana have to apologize to Rachel? Because her insults just happened to be better?

And Santana was a vicious bitch but I don't think Santana was a bully. Bullying suggests a power imbalance. No one cared what Santana had to say 99% of the time and either shrugged it off or thought it was funny. When they did care they swiped her right back and had no fear of doing so, at all. And they always ended up hurting her more than the other way around. Which she 100% deserved. But there was zero fear of Santana, no feeling of being defenseless against her. She was mostly a bitchy annoying bee and sometimes when she stung you could easily squash her. Unlike Quinn and Puck and Karofsky she pretty rarely went beyond that dynamic. She once offered to let Finn date her and Britt because Sue asked? OK, that is a pretty meek scheme. She gave two cheaters mono one of whom had told about her boob job. She tried to lunge at Rachel a couple of times. Tried to take on Lauren? Her fight with Mercedes was mutual. Her biggest scheme was to help Kurt get back in school for her own good. And in that circumstance Kurt ended up being mostly amused by her childish love of the game.

When Santana was fairly bad it was mutual. She told about sex with Finn, which is a secret she was not obligated to keep, after being told she was stupid, worthless and would end up a stripper by both Finn and Rachel (insults she deserved in context). It was not unprompted to be a bitch. Finn and Santana were in a mutual game of trash talk as Finn explicitly told Rory. When Santana was winning (becuase duh) Finn didn't back off he just thought of something else for them to do so he could win (dodgeball which she won because duh). They were both playing. They both knew they were playing. They both knew the rules of the game. They both got hurt. I feel sympathy for the consequences Santana suffered but not for the hallway thing. And I don't feel a ton of sympathy for Finn for getting into the ring with a better opponent. (Plus, Britt outed her on the fucking internet that is way worse than anything Finn ever did.)

Plus, Santana loved Glee and thought those kids were her friends. And was literally shocked when told otherwise. She thought she was the hilarious, real girl everyone loved for being so sassy. I am NOT saying this excuses anything. I am saying intent matters and Puck and Quinn wanted to intimidate and hurt. Santana post the early episodes thought she was being funny and charming because Santana is delusional. She still does this eventhough she openly loves Kurt and Rachel.

Rolling a kid in a wheelchair is a power imbalance, having a bunch of big guys throw little guys around is a power imbalance. Being head cheerleader and organizing bullies to slushie is a power imbalance. Drawing pictures on the wall which you can't confront all that. Santana didn't do those things. Puck could have killed Artie.

I want to be clear. I think Santana was a horrible person a lot of the time and deserved what she got. I am one of the few lesbians who will defend Finn in Mash-Off until the cows come home (but not in IKAG because condescending is worse). But while you can technically be a bully without having an inordinate amount of power in a situation I don't think that really fits what we see as bullying in real life. And none of those kids took Santana seriously and when they did they got in her face with a second of pause and usually won. Santana thought she was being the funny real girl everyone loved. She wasn't trying to hurt anyone most of the time when she would mouth of in the choir room and, if so, she bullied Will as much as anyone. They mostly chose to hang out with her even outside of Glee. Mercedes wouldn't even go to a Rachel Berry party without Santana there. Rachel had Santana at both of her sex conferences (over Mercedes in one). Mercedes conference called Brittany and Santana a couple of times.

In my opinion, Quinn was worse Santana was just funnier so more memorable. And I don't think Santana is even remotely comparable to Puck even though the show treated them that way. It isn't like Kurt or Artie could have just gotten in his face and hurt him back without hesitation.

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People would still have thier favorites and get upset when say Rachel who is still the lead got more time with her girlfriend than Tina got with her girl.

I was just kidding I don't think everyone being gay would solve anything except my bordedom with the show.

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Puck's "saving" of Quinn in that horror of an episode was annoying as hell, but at least Quinn got to pay it forward and be a hero by saving him with a speech and a Princess Charming kiss in "Goodbye."

Yes that is the crazy thing about how they treat Quinn. They shit all over the character but she is also the only truly feminist female with her own agency. She uses that agency to do stupid things (baby stealing) as much as to do good things (Yale). But Quinn does what she wants and ain't no man really going to stop her or teach her the error of her ways for very long. Rachel maybe.

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Which for Santana is astonishingly mild. Her only other comments about Puck have been complimentary. Most of the time she ignores him.

I think she was pretty dismissive of him but I agree. But if we are being honest post real life break up they just didn't put Mark and Naya in scenes together if they could possibly avoid it post season 1. Even when it would have made a lot of sense. They usually wouldn't even look at or address each other in a group scene.

Plus, in show, I am sure sex with Puck was more enjoyable than with other guys because he probably always had Britt join in.

Edited by Cherith, May 8, 2013 @ 8:01 AM.


#544

SNeaker

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Posted May 8, 2013 @ 7:50 AM

She told about sex with Finn, which is a secret she was not obligated to keep, after being told she was stupid, worthless and would end up a stripper by both Finn and Rachel (insults she deserved in context). It was not unprompted.

 

No, the pole-dancing comment came after. The only thing that prompted Santana to reveal the news about Finn was Rachel's complaining about not getting a solo and Finn saying "she's not worth it." And Santana had clearly been gearing up to make that reveal just because Rachel left her out of the "girlfriends of football players" club. And what prompted her later to taunt Rachel with "Did I tell you he bought me dinner after?" when Rachel was already very upset?

 

Many of Santana's insults were mild and not taken seriously, but other times when she would open her mouth in the choir room and viciously lay into her teammates, it did bother them and create tension. I don't hate Santana for this, but I did used to think there was a clear difference between funny mean Santana and just plain mean Santana -- especially when she was attacking Rachel or Finn. She didn't just do all that to be funny, she did it to tear people down, perhaps to better deal with her own self-loathing. I consider that a form of bullying. It took a long time for the group to embrace her, and I think that was for good reason. My only point is that it makes sense for the club to accept Puck in a way they didn't accept Santana for a while because Puck quit that shit out as soon as he joined (maybe out of a "team player" sensibility) whereas Santana ridiculed them on a regular basis. And what she did to Rory during dodgeball I would definitely call bullying. So I don't think it's about Puck getting a pass for being a boy. He was a horrible bully, but he had an actual redemption arc. And he's still paying the price (and will continue to if he stays in Lima) because no matter how much he changes, he's still seen as that guy that people cross the street when they see on the sidewalk and will end up pumping gas. So I don't think there is a double standard here wherein the boys get their bullying whitewashed (certainly no one ever tried to apologize for Puck's or give him a pass due to his home life the way Karofsky's gayness gave him a pass) while the girls have to pay for it.


Edited by SNeaker, May 8, 2013 @ 8:41 AM.


#545

fireangel

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Posted May 8, 2013 @ 8:33 AM

[snip] I can only speak for myself, but I find there are serious gay/straight inequality issues on Glee that is not to do with the fact that Rachel is lead. For example I do not begrudge the screentime Rachel has gotten this season over Kurt, and how Kurt has spent 3 -4 episodes with no more than a scene that serves Rachel because he happens to be her room mate. That is not Rachel's fault, she deserves her stories in NY regardless of what Kurt gets. (Really, the problem is Mckinley sucking up 3/4 of the show, not anything to do with Rachel) But when I say that Rachel gets a better a treatment when it comes to her romances, I mean it, and it's because she's straight. This also applies to Finn and Brody and to Jake/Marley as well as Brittany/Sam. I think the issues run deeper than mere jealousy of a lead character, but actual gay/straight inequality. So hypothetically speaking, if everyone was gay, it would eliminate this bias, which would make Glee a lot more enjoyable to me. 

 


Edited by TWoP Howard, May 8, 2013 @ 3:22 PM.
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#546

Cherith

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Posted May 8, 2013 @ 8:34 AM

I am not defending Santana's insults she is a horrible person and a bitch. I just don't think it is quite the same as bullying.   And I don't think it was real bullying when no one feels intimidated by her. I think the exception is Sam whom she did intentionally target to tear down because she hated that she couldn't be attracted to him. That was bullying. Maybe Lauren but that didn't work out great for her.

 

I think Finn to a degree but she was mean to Finn mostly post-Furt  after he told her he was so ashamed to have been with her she is obligated to lie about it or else she would be the bitch (in so many words).  Before that I can't think of one instance where she called him fat or anything. She and Rachel went after each other and became more antagonistic as Santana became more into getting solos. But it was not one sided (which is why I am not sure she owes Rachel a huge apology). Kurt was often just as mean to Rachel before they became friends. Santana just goes way too far with anything she ever does and tends to be really good at stuff. So her insults always seem so much more memorable.

 

I mean it isn't remotely OK to be mean to someone becuase they hurt your feelings and your pride. But it isn't quite the same as bullying, which is more about trying to assert your power over someone to feel better about yourself. She disliked Finn for explicitly not wanting to be at all associate with her sexually in public.

 

The show was pretty inconsistent about Santana being accepted. Sectionals season 1 she is in on conference calls with Mercedes who is chill with her. The episode before Kurt included her in the no Rachel meeting about year books (Quinn and most of the guys weren't). Season 1 she was included in Rachel's sex conference. Mercedes wouldn't go to a party without her in Blame It On the Alcohol. She was always at lunch or at coffee with the kids. She was always shown joking around and gossiping with them in back. It was only when it was conveinant to suddenly make her an outcast lesbian post-Sexy that she was suddenly not very accepted in the group.  Before that she was always included and shown to be more included than Rachel most of the time (who the kids really had trouble warming up to). And then after that little random arc was mostly over she was back to mostly being chill with everyone and hanging out at lunch in Purple Piaono Project or dancing with Mercedes at prom.

 

(I tend to think her entire arc was very quickly revamped a bit after Naya's performance in "the hurt locker" and suddenly they just couldn't play her for laughs anymore. That girl wasn't a joke so suddenly she couldn't just be funny in the background and have it not mean anything.)

 

And I do think it is a gender issue for the show to suggest Puck and Santana were even comparable.

 

Puck quit that shit out as soon as he joined

 

Maybe to Glee club but he was still an active violent bully late Season 1 when he was dating Mercedes.

 

 

No, the pole-dancing comment came after. The only thing that prompted Santana to reveal the news about Finn was Rachel's complaining about not getting a solo and Finn saying "she's not worth it."

 

 

 

Well, Rachel suggested she was stupid and wouldn't know what hypocrite means. Which, as an aside,  at least Santana's insults make sense and are based in reality.  I also don't think she has any obligation to be Finn's dirty little secret.Rachel's boyfriend was lying to her.

 

And what she did to Rory during dodgeball I would definitely call bullying.

 

I 100% agree but that sort of highlights the point. That was not typical Santana behavior. That was a set up to make it ok for her to be outted by Finn. And I do think it was bullying and I am not denying it but I also think a lot of people would have an issue with someone who tried to manipulate their friend/girlfriend into getting into their pot of gold. It isn't like Santana decided to randomly target a new kid for no reason or because he was weak. She didn't give a shit about him until he was trying to trick his way into Britt's pants. Again that is completely and totally wrong.

 

And he's still paying the price (and will continue to if he stays in Lima) because no matter how much he changes, he's still seen as that guy that people cross the street when they see on the sidewalk and will end up pumping gas.

 

But that isn't the price for being a bully. That is the price for barely bassing high school and being thought of as having no marketable talents. Which isn't true. But it isn't that people think he is a bully just an idiot townie who will never succeed and that is for different reasons.


Edited by Cherith, May 8, 2013 @ 11:22 AM.


#547

SNeaker

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Posted May 8, 2013 @ 8:54 AM

And I do think it is a gender issue for the show to suggest Puck and Santana were even comparable.

 

Has the show ever suggested it, though? I don't think they ever drew any parallels.

 

Maybe to Glee club but he was still an active violent bully late Season 1 when he was dating Mercedes.

 

It's hard to know how much he was bullying at that point. He returned to it specifically in that episode because he was trying to get back to the top of the heap, and all we saw him doing were some mild dumpster tosses, which were always played for comedy and not that violent, and Mercedes called him out for it, and he stopped. He himself was tossed in earlier. Would we call Jacob Ben Israel and the other geeks "active, violent bullies" for doing that to him? He references bullying (spraying kids with fire extinguishers), but we the audience had not witnessed him doing any since...I think the pilot? And in "Accafellas," Puck cheerfully states that he had stopped beating people up so much. If Santana's bullying of Rory was circumstantial to that episode, so was Puck's dumpster tossing dweebs in "Laryngitis" and intimidation busking in "Never Been Kissed." Either way, he was made to pay for it and was never given a pass. And the point was simply to explain why the glee club may have been more accepting of Puck than they were of Santana -- if indeed they even were. If not, what are we we even arguing about? :)

 

But that isn't the price for being a bully. That is the price for barely bassing high school and being thought of as having no marketable talents. Which isn't true. But it isn't that people think he is a bully just an idiot townie who will never succeed and that is for different reasons.

 

The "crossing the street" thing strikes me as being connected to the bullying and general hoodlumyness of his youth. You don't cross the street when you see someone coming because you think he's an idiot, it's because you think he's going to steal something from you or attack you.


Edited by SNeaker, May 8, 2013 @ 8:56 AM.


#548

Cherith

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Posted May 8, 2013 @ 8:56 AM

Well, he is also a lot less attractive then he used to be. Sometimes that is just sad to look at.

 

And the point was simply to explain why the glee club may have been more accepting of Puck than they were of Santana -- if indeed they even were. If not, what are we we even arguing about? :)

 

Ha, I didn't necessarily mean the Glee club who I think accepts almost anything except obnoxious divaness. With that I think you are actually totally right in one sense. Puck wasn't given more of a pass. And I think Kurt and Mercedes (and Quinn but she didn't count) were very very often shown to get a kick out of Santana and think she was hilarious when it wasn't directed at them (and it rarely was in the second season). They were often shown laughing at her "jokes". But how the show sort of treated them. Like, I think they take Karofsky and Puck's redemption more seriously and tend to think Santana and Quinn need to constantly make ammends for their bitchiness on a meta level. I think Santana is still doing so.

 

I have 110% more of an issue with Karofsky's sexuality being given more depth than Santana's. Like, they didn't have to make her a lesbian if they didn't want to. Hell, I think Quinn made more sense as a lesbian. But they chose to so they should have taken it as seriously as Kurt or Dave. I Kissed A Girl was just such a joke. And Kurt kept making this big point about how bad outting was but it was a joke when Brittany did it to Santana.


Edited by Cherith, May 8, 2013 @ 9:05 AM.


#549

SNeaker

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Posted May 8, 2013 @ 9:04 AM

Ha, I didn't necessarily mean the Glee club who I think accepts almost anything except obnoxious divaness. But how the show sort of treated them.

 

Heh. Well, in that case I still don't think they gave Puck a pass while punishing Santana or Quinn. To my mind they very specifically delighted in giving Puck his karmic dues over and over, not to mention the full circle of being on the other side of it with the Rick the Stick thing. Were we supposed to like him and feel bad for him? Yeah, but we were also supposed to laugh at him and think he was getting what he deserved (at least with the dumpster tossing and the porta-pottie incident, both of which were played for laughs.) Whereas I actually think they let most of Quinn's and Santana's cruelty slide. And if Quinn and Santana still need to make amends for their bitchiness (which I'm not sure I agree they do), it's because...they're still bitchy. Puck is not still a bully. He's basically the opposite. But some will never see him as anything else. (In-show I mean. Not talking about the audience since it's verboten.)

 

Would I say they took his redemption arc seriously or more seriously than they took Quinn's or Santana's? I'm not sure. I think a lot of it was actually accidental, which is why it worked. It was subtle instead of being in-your-face. They definitely took his graduation storyline seriously, but that was not really about his redemption. They've taken some of Quinn's and Santana's storylines just as seriously. I just don't think there is much of a parrallel to draw here between Puck and Quinn/Santana when it comes to treatment of gender re: bullying.

 

I have 110% more of an issue with Karofsky's sexuality being given more depth than Santana's.

 

 

That I completely agree with.


Edited by SNeaker, May 8, 2013 @ 11:15 AM.


#550

Cherith

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Posted May 8, 2013 @ 9:20 AM

I can only speak for myself, but I find there are serious gay/straight inequality issues on Glee that is not to do with the fact that Rachel is lead.

 

 

I agree. But as far as gender goes I think Brittana and to a lesser extent Klaine shows that they would still play the same tired gender dynamics even in same sex pairings. Even if it makes no sense!

 

I think Brittany's actions are more problematic than Finn's.

 

ETA:

 

Puck is not still a bully. He's basically the opposite. But some will never see him as anything else.In-show I mean.

 

 

 

Just as a point of clarification, although I know it isn't what you are suggesting, I want to be clear I am not saying Puck is still a bully. I don't have an issue with Puck I tend to have an issue with the way the show treats men and women, as we hashed out, but I am not shitting all over the character in any sense.

 

Like I have a million and one issues with the show and the use of Finn. But I like Finn usually as a character when he isn't doing something ridiculous.


Edited by Cherith, May 8, 2013 @ 11:43 AM.