"Do you know what it feels like for a girl?" - Glee

I confess: I watch Glee.  Not religiously - I miss episodes, and rarely finish an entire episode.  The show is inconsistent - sometimes too cheesy to bear, but sometimes profound, beautiful, and moving.

Last night the "Madonna Episode" was re-run, and I watched it for the first time.  Throughout the episode, the male characters were confronted with their own bad behavior toward women, even as they explored and followed their sexual pursuits.  Several times, the guys lamented in conversation their sexist tendencies, and discussed their need to be better - more respectful, more thoughtful, and more empowering.

This isn't great script writing or great acting, but what Glee managed to do was demonstrate some awfully progressive relational solutions to normative cultural misogyny - not just for the students, but for the teacher Will Schuester, too.  Maybe not earth-shattering, but certainly more than most teen-TV fare which too-often only contributes to the hyper-sexualization of teenage girls, and the marginalization of women in general (and yes, Glee is just as often guilty of this, itself).

In their attempts to both understand their female classmates, and apologize to them, the boys sing Madonna's surprisingly thoughtful song Do You You Know What It Feels Like (For A Girl)...
Silky smooth 
Lips as sweet as candy, baby 
Tight blue jeans 
Skin that shows in patches 
Strong inside but you don’t know it 
Good little girls they never show it 
When you open up your mouth to speak 
Could you be a little weak? 
Do you know what it feels like 
For a girl? 
Do you know what it feels like in this world 
For a girl? 
Hair that twirls on finger tips so gently, baby 
Hands that rest on jutting hips repenting 
Hurt that’s not supposed to show and 
Tears that fall when no one knows 
When you’re trying hard to be your best 
Could you be a little less 
Do you know what it feels like 
For a girl? 
Do you know what it feels like in this world 
For a girl? 

Trite or not, cheesy or not, I'd like to see more of this in pop culture.  Glee, for all its silly failings, has tackled a lot of major social issues, including homophobia, bullying, and teen pregnancy.  It's what keeps me watching (well, that, along with my background in musical theatre).

4 comments:

Scott said...

I'm addicted. The campier the better. And I must say when Kurt and Blaine sang 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' I think it was a TV moment.

Ted said...

"It's what keeps me watching (well, that, along with my background in musical theatre)."

I knew it!

Ted said...

And dang if didn't forget to click for email updates again.

Peter J Walker said...

Ha! Ted, am I that transparent?

Scott, I have to confess I felt the exact same way. It was only seven years ago that I recoiled, finding myself accidentally on a gay date. I was surprised by the fear I saw in myself at that moment, and it's largely what pushed me to start exploring a different way of being Christian.

Not so many years later, I felt equally surprised by how moved I was in that duet. Not to overstate it, but: gorgeous. Definitely "a moment."

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