Friday, April 23, 2010

Glee: An Exercise in Pop Culture Feminism

Have you ever seen a primetime show reference the gender wage gap?

If you hadn't joined the Glee bandwagon already, Tuesday's Madonna-themed episode is a good place to start. This feel-good musical comedy about high-school outcasts is a joy to watch anyway, but its more subversive political themes make it all the more interesting. Glee features one of the first coming-out plots for a teenage character in primetime and frequently checks itself for tokenism of the aforementioned gay character and its black female vocal powerhouse. In Tuesday's episode, the girls stick up for themselves sexually and otherwise, and the boys end up learning a lesson in empathy while considering ideas like "for a boy to look like a girl is degrading/Because you think being a girl is degrading."

This episode doesn't portray a feminist utopia. Trust me, I could find plenty wrong in an analysis. But all told, this is the most feminist piece of media I've ever seen in primetime, and it's damn entertaining.

See The Power of Madonna episode of Glee on Hulu as soon as is humanly possible.

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