“Glee” Seems to Be Singing a Different Song These DaysThursday, March 15, 2012 By Zari Havercome, Opinion Editor
The hit Fox Television show “Glee” has had its share of praises and disses for the controversial topics expressed in various episodes. The latest stir-up involves the topics of sex in the media, specifically the expression of homosexuality versus heterosexual relations. In recent years homosexuality has been highlighted on a larger scale with the passing of same sex marriage laws in some states. Also, on the negative side, there have been suicides of homosexuals that were caused by hate crimes. Simultaneously, thanks to the releasing of shows like “Teen Mom,” sex in the media is becoming more common and is affecting audiences at younger and younger ages. One specific episode of “Glee,” entitled “The First Time” sparked controversy because two teenage couples were losing their virginity. One couple was heterosexual with characters Finn and Rachel and the other was homosexual involving characters Kurt and Blaine. Some critics believe that the show handled the topic in a very delicate manner while others, like the Parents Television Council, thought that the show was irresponsible for celebrating teen sex. Arguments arose that the story was not created to be educational but to have the element of surprise. Looking at the bigger picture, the coupling of Blaine and Kurt is something that is not often seen on many – if any – shows and it has left a significant impression on the viewers. “I can’t think of another network series that’s taken a teenage gay relationship so far or been so progressive,” said Entertainment Weekly’s Pop Watch. Liz Pearle, editor-in-chief of the nonpartisan Common Sense Media, said homosexuality is part of our culture, regardless of how we feel about it. “It’s the third rail of discussion points,” she said on Abcnews.com. “And it needs discussing, whatever our values are about it.” The fact of the matter is that when things that are happening in the world are shielded from others – if they are of appropriate age to know – they are walking into situations with no knowledge and could be naive in the decisions they make. This provides parents with an opportunity to have an open discussion with their kids about sexuality because if they don’t hear it from their parent they will hear it somewhere else. We are growing up in a time where sex sells, whether you’re doing it or not. A study from the University of North Carolina found that television acts as a “sexual super peer” for teenagers, exerting pressure on them to make decisions they are not ready for. The other side of this situation is the reality that children learn about sexual health from television. Because it is such a taboo to talk about, teenagers are often forced towards less reliable resources to get the answers that they are seeking. This is all the more reason parents should talk to their kids about the messages they are getting from media and teach them how to think critically about them.