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While some applaud Glee for it’s honest portrayal of its gay characters, others claim its too picture perfect. Kurt is depicted as a flawless person in his looks and in his actions, which may give gay teens unrealistic expectations in how they should look and how they should act. What is being presented is the desirable image of the gay male, in terms of race and class, is the same as the desirable image of the heterosexual male. What differentiates Kurt from the rest of the stereotypical gay characters is that he's not there for laughs or diversity.
He's there because he serves the purpose of saying, gays are real people with feelings too, and he's there to let gay teens know they're not alone. And that's why there's more praise than outrage toward a character like Kurt. As a gay teen, Kurt is faced with a number of scenarios that challenge his true identity. In a later episode, named ‘Preggers’, Kurt joins the football team in an attempt to show his dad that he is not gay.
After returning home from kicking the game winning point, he is shown in the basement of his house applying skin care products in front of a vanity mirror (Preggers, 2009).
He finally tell his father that he is gay; however his father admits he has known that Kurt was gay since he was three because he asked for high heels as a birthday gift. This is another gender stereotype, in which girls want dolls and men want cars.
Another criticism of homosexual portrayals in the media is of the romantic interests given to the homosexual characters, or lack of. While you can see the heterosexual characters kissing and making out in most episodes, Kurt has no romantic storylines in the first season.
The closest he came to it was when he had a crush on Finn, one of the heterosexual leads, and tried to manipulate him to fall in love with him (Hairography, 2009). This depiction also reinforces another key stereotype that’s been used for decades now – that all gay men are out to ‘turn’ all straight men. Having said that, the show also depicts Kurt going through many stages that real gay people go through, such as standing up to bullying, coming out to his parent, falling in love, questioning his faith and discovers himself.
So he may have started as another effeminate gay best friend, he character becomes as fleshed out as the rest of the characters as the show progresses. “Masculinity is expanded to incorporate tolerance of gay men who have take on a female gender identity, but this does not actually challenge heteronormativity, masculinity, and the trivialization and exclusion of minorities or the rigid separation between male/female and man/woman (Wolfenden, 2013).”
Just as shows like Queer Eye for The Straight Guy emphasize the differences between the ‘queer’ and the ‘straight’ men, Glee naturalizes Kurt’s sexuality, incorporating his character back into the culture of the show through ideological delusion, which “ensures that the potential threat to the dominant culture posed by the subculture is ‘trivialized, naturalized, domesticated’ (McRuer, 2006). ” Kurt may not be a manly man, but he is viewed and accepted as a functioning female, which reinforces the naturalization of sexuality to something that the heterosexual man can understand.
Blaine Anderson While Kurt may not be over the top flamboyant, he’s still falls under the familiar feminine, fashion-loving cliches we have seen over and over on TV and in the movies. Having said that, the stereotype he embodies does of course exist; but what about the majority of gay people who aren’t like Kurt (Cullen, 2011)? This is where the other Glee characters come in. By having a large cast and spanning several seasons, Glee was able to depict various gay storylines and show that each character and each relationship is unique.
In the second season we get introduced to Blaine Anderson as the role model and potential love interest to Kurt. And just like Kurt, he is white, young, and handsome, but unlike Kurt he is much more confident with his sexuality. While his sexuality is a big part of who he is, it is not a major facet of how he wishes to be perceived. In the episode ‘Blame It on the Alcohol’, Blaine questions whether he is bisexual or not, but he just accepts that he is gay after making out with Rachael (Blame It On the Alcohol, 2011). The show quickly wrapped up the story instead of exploring it any further.
In real life, a person might take years for him to fully accept that he is gay, bi, or straight, but in most shows, not just glee, this type of storylines get resolved within a single episode. Furthermore, homosexual images are presented in a way acceptable for heterosexual audiences by reinforcing traditional values like family, monogamy and stability. Most of the erotic connotations of homosexuality have been eliminated. Gay male characters in particular are only welcomed in mainstream mass media as long as they do not infer any sexual desires and practices.
Kurt and Blaine have their first kiss on the sixteenth episode of the second season and only have sex in the fifth episode of the third season. However nothing sexual ever happens (Original Song, 2011) (The First Time, 2011). What the show depicted was both characters lying in bed, fully clothed, holding hands and kissing each other softly. The second time the show implied they were having sex was in the fourteenth episode for the fourth season (I Do, 2013). This time they were also fully clothed, and all that was shown was they are entering the hotel room and then the morning after.
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