Glee is targeted toward young teens that may be afraid of coming out, or don’t know who they will be accepted if they do. Many times teenage see things on television based on certain characters and they are able to relate to those characters based on things they may be going through. Glee focuses on a group of misfit Midwestern High School students who are member of the New Directions Glee Club. Each character in Glee enters the narrative as fairly specific stereotype.
Over the course of the series, these stereotypes are broken down as each of the characters recognizes familiarity in one another. Many of the kids in Glee are separated. Kids fall into certain slots. Jocks and popular kids are in penthouse, and what they call invisible kids are playing in live action druids and trolls out in the forest which is considered the bottom floor. And those that are in Glee Club are located in the sub-basement, but the kids in the Glee Club become kind of refuge where the invisibles and minority characters are rendered visible and are allowed to articulate them-selves.
The gender ideology in Glee refers to the attitudes regarding the appropriate roles, rights, and responsibilities of women and men in society. Glee concept was to show how gay men and women should be accepted in society and that challenge the gender norms on the show of what is considered acceptable way for men and women to act. They also show the different attitudes of each character and how they display their attitudes toward each other.
Glee asserts itself from the outset as significant because it does not represent the revelation of queerness as a singular narrative end point. Indeed Kurt one of the characters, comes out to Mercedes within the first few episodes of Glee, presenting an alternative to the traditional coming out narrative of the queer storyline that only beings with the revelation of the character sexuality. Glee represents coming out as simply another aspect of contemporary queer adolescent experience that is no more or less important than other teen issue we face today.
This further more challenges the traditional representation of queerness on television in which a solitary queer character enacts a single coming out, and Glee subsequently focuses on an ensemble of queer teenage characters, each of them coming out in different manners. Glee offers a rare glimpse of queer teen community and redefining coming out as a complex and variable process. During the first season of Glee after Kurt came out he faced increased homophobic bullying which builds from threats of physical violence, to actual physical violence. Because of this Kurt had to move schools for a period of time.
The intense physically bullying that he faces come primarily from a thuggish football player name Max. Max harbors secret queer desires that surface as Kurt attempts to stand up for himself and his brutish actions are revealed to stem from what they call internalized homophobia and shame. Internalized homophobia serves to excuse or soften audience attitudes toward the character’s homophobic actions. There are many dangers associated between repressed queer desire and violence both absolves the heterosexual community of responsibility for the violent repression of gay and lesbians.
Max then however is not depicted as a one-dimensional figure, driven only by repressed desire as he undergoes significant transformation throughout the season. Max teases Kurt because he is openly gay and Max is still in the closet. These ensemble queer adolescent characters, their relationship begins subtly with expressing a very different relation to sexuality, identity, adolescent desire and coming out. The many things that happen on Glee are a prime example of our society today and the understanding of gender roles and sexuality.
That men are taught to be masculine and must stay that way and uphold a certain image in society, and that in when they come out they their image is torn and they are seen in a negative light by many. Many people don’t respect gay men and think less of them as a man based on society standard and what society says a man should be. The Glee cast is able to pull this off because they have a unique cast. They make sure to highlight the moments and different degrees of coming out that are sometimes often missing from contemporary popular culture.
Glee itself masquerades as a progressive show, but characters that stray from the norm back into binary systems and cinematically reproduce dominant power structures in society. Young people watching this show are taught to be more tolerant of those who are different but that show confines these characters to static stereotypes lacking independent identities or agency. By building upon conventional understandings of gender, sex and sexuality, Glee perpetuates advantaging and oppressive systems instead of challenging the ideologies behind them.