Let’s talk about covers. I’ haven’t blogged about the magazine industry in a while and a recent firestorm of controversy has erupted around the November cover of GQ Magazine.
TMZ reported yesterday, that the Parent’s Television Council, a self-described non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment, is up in arms over “Glee” actors Dianna Agron, Cory Monteith and Lea Michele’s provocative poses on the GQ cover. Here’s a portion of the group’s statement:
“It is disturbing that GQ, which is explicitly written for adult men, is sexualizing the actresses who play high school-aged characters on ‘Glee’ in this way. It borders on pedophilia. Sadly, this is just the latest example of the overt sexualization of young girls in entertainment,” said PTC President Tim Winter. “Many children who flocked to ‘High School Musical’ have grown into ‘Glee’ fans. They are now being treated to seductive, in-your-face poses of the underwear-clad female characters posing in front of school lockers, one of them opting for a full-frontal crotch shot. By authorizing this kind of near-pornographic display, the creators of the program have established their intentions on the show’s direction. And it isn’t good for families … Unfortunately, it seems ‘Glee’ is only masquerading as a family show and is far from appropriate for young viewers,” Winter concluded.
I’ll first say that just because “Glee” has actors playing high-school kids singing and dancing doesn’t make it a family show. It’s on at 8 p.m. at my house, when my kids are off to bed, and it’s on Fox.
When has anything televised on Fox been appropriate for kids?
The “Glee” writers don’t craft the character’s dialogues and interactions with middle-schoolers in mind. Seriously. I also don’t believe they mis-market it as a family show. “Glee” is a perfectly respectable grown-up’s show complete with sarcasm, lust, raunch, jealousy, insecurity, and plenty of “I-remember-when-I-did-that-as-a-teenager” situations that make adults fondly (or not) reminisce about their wonder years.
So why in the heck would the PTC believe that “Glee” producers and GQ editors should plan their photo shoot and promotions around middle-schoolers? That’s just lame.
I won’t argue that there is an epidemic of “sexualization of young girls in entertainment,” I’m just not sure this is a solid example of the practice considering the ages of the actors. They’re not teenagers. They just play them on TV.
In a classy move, Dianna Agron (not the gal in the pink panties), addressed the negative buzz about the cover on her blog. She downplayed PTC’s surprise that GQ is pushing consumers’ comfort-level boundaries, and I agree.
“In the land of Madonna, Britney, Miley, Gossip Girl, other public figures and shows that have pushed the envelope and challenged the levels of comfort in their viewers and fans … we are not the first.”
You go girl. (My daughter’s not allowed to watch Hannah Montana, either.) Agron also “apologizes” if the images are offensive, which I wish she wouldn’t have done. But it was for good measure.
The GQ cover was done in the spirit of the show and portrays its same tone and context. There’s no disconnect there, which means that the photographer, stylists and editors did their jobs well in producing a cover of excellent composition.
I hope that the GQers are doing two things right now: Rolling their eyes at all of the naysayers, and high-fiving each other because they’re going to sell a lot of magazines.