Many parents are concerned about their children being desensitized by programs airing on MTV or E! because of their reputation for risqué content. We expect to see scantily-clad clothing and explicit behavior when tuning in for “Keeping up with the Kardashians,” but the same conduct on Fox’s light-hearted musical focused around students at William McKinley High School raised some eyebrows last week.
When word got out about GQ’s November issue featuring a sexually-suggestive photo spread of three Glee cast members (Lea Michelle, Dianna Agron and Cory Monteith), the Parents Television Council spoke out, calling the shoot a “near-pornographic display.”
“It is disturbing that GQ, which is explicitly written for adult men, is sexualizing the actresses who play high school-aged characters on ‘Glee’ in this way,” said PTC President Tim Winter. “It borders on pedophilia.”
Compared to shows such as “Family Guy,” “Married with Children” and “The O.C.” which have shared the same prime-time slot on the network, do “Glee” cast members and producers really deserve the backlash they’re receiving? Anyone who believes this is a kid’s show evidently has not been watching. If parents are already allowing their children to be exposed to mature issues such as homosexuality, marijuana use and teen pregnancy, then images featured in an adult men’s magazine should be the least of their worries.
“If you are hurt or these photos make you uncomfortable, it was never our intention,” said Glee actress Dianna Agron on her blog. “And if your eight-year-old has a copy of our GQ cover in hand, again I am sorry … but I would have to ask, how on earth did it get there?”
The show is no “High School Musical” and it has definitely gotten that point across with this tactic. As a “Gleek,” I applaud producers for pushing the envelope and allowing Michelle and Agron, 24, and Monteith, 28, to break away from the image portrayed by their teenage characters. Therefore, viewers now see that these stars can contend with entertainers like Miley Cyrus, Justin Timberlake and Rhianna.
We’ve seen stars born from shows such as “Lizzie McGuire” and “Even Stevens,” and “Glee” is no exception. The racy photo shoot may be the end of the show’s so-called “wholesome” image, but I have a strong indication it is just the beginning of these up-and-coming celebrity’s careers.
By Jessica West