About-Face BlogGender InequalityOn The Pulse

Everyone’s equal in “Glee.” Or not.

By February 17, 2011 2 Comments

Everyone's free to sing on "Glee," but only the boys can play football.

I am a sixteen-year-old girl, and a Gleek.

At my school, at least, it almost seems the two are synonymous.

The other night, I sat down with my brother to watch the Glee “Thriller” half-time episode. We were so excited about the show and had been living in suspense for days.

The too-short ads, blasting “Thriller” by Michael Jackson and showcasing puffy skirts and shuffling zombies had heightened our excitement until I was sitting down with huge expectations of wonderful dances, pyrotechnics and some amazing vocals.

 And it lived up to it.

Glee served up some wonderful dance moves and singing, but halfway through an impromptu dance session with my hairbrush in my hand, pretending to be Rachel, I stopped and looked at the screen properly.

 “Why are the girls lying on the ground, not playing?” I asked my brother. (For people who don’t watch the show, the Glee girls had stepped into the all male gridiron football team to save their fellow glee members from having to forfeit the game.)

 My brother answered, “Oh, well, they can’t play. They just lie on the ground and the boys play around them.”

 Sorry! What?

The "Glee" girls only seem to be good for cheering.

The "Glee" girls only seem to be good for cheering.

That’s exactly what happened. Instead of joining in the game and playing their best, all of the girls, except Lauren, lay flat on the ground and did absolutely nothing.

At one stage, Tina did pick up the ball and try to score a point. Naturally, she failed, and got knocked out flat. All the team members gathered around her, concerned that the “poor little girl” had been damaged irrecoverably by the tall strong football player.

Eventually, the rest of the football team realized their mistake in leaving and returned to win the game. The girls stood on the side and cheered.

Woo! Go team! Go!

I admit, I can’t play football, but the reason I cannot play is because I’ve never bothered to learn the rules, not because I’m a girl and am somehow physically incapable of performing such a male sport.

Some of my best female friends are really, really good football players, and I hate the way Glee assumes that the girls couldn’t even try to play the game, let alone play well.

All in all, I was very disappointed with the show. Yes, it has great songs and dances, but so do other shows.

I went to school the next day and was a little black cloud on everybody’s Glee parade. Thanks to About-Face and other feminist blogs, this show upset me when, sadly, none of my schoolmates had a problem with it.

Glee, a show that is all about the so-called “losers” and rejecting the norms placed on us by society, failed epically in my opinion. It is supposed to be about those of us who don’t fit in, who dress differently, talk differently or like the same gender.

In short, it’s supposed to be a show about acceptance. But apparently we are all equal, except on the football field.


Sarah is a a sixteen-year-old girl living in Brisbane, Australia. She discovered About-Face a year ago, after she came across it while researching  an assignment on women in advertisments. She says, “it has opened my eyes to the role media plays in our lives and the impact it has, particularly on people my age.”