Openly gay actor Neil Patrick Harris made a guest appearance on the hit show last night, and played it straight. So does the show really wallow in stereotypes about gays, women, and even straight men? Or is it a brilliant satire about high school agony? Andy Dehnart and Thaddeus Russell square off.
After enjoying a honeymoon with critics during the first half of its premiere season, Glee is now increasingly coming under attack for its presentation of standard images of minority groups, especially in the character of Kurt. He is “that oldest of clichés: the sensitive gay boy who really wants to be a girl,” writes Ramin Setoodeh at Newsweek.com. Yes, Kurt Hummel is a stereotype. And he is my hero.
Disappointingly, Glee wallows in stereotypes and clichés, particularly ones that have to do with gender. Every opportunity it has, Glee turns its characters into what our society expects and demands from people based not on who they are as individuals, but what their genitalia looks like. Forcing gender roles upon people is damaging, but that’s what Glee does: it accepts society’s definitions and reinforces them.