Intro to Women's Studies 2010

etsu: 2011-2014

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Diversity behind the scenes is hugely important in the media, workplace, or any type of social function.  Without people of color, women, etc working in a position of power like a producer or writer, then the material produced will inevitably be sexist and racist.  The material will also be static and generally boring, due to the lack of diverse experience shared.  If shows only relied on middle-aged white heterosexual protestant men, their audiences will recognize the lack of diversity and respond accordingly.

My favorite example is the FOX TV show, Glee, because it is a classic example of white male privilege ruining what would otherwise be good quality television.  For the first two seasons, Glee had only three writers.  They middle-aged, white, heterosexual, male, and affectionately nicknamed RIB, for Ryan–Ian–Brad.  In the beginning it was clear RIB was trying to produce something special, and it was.  It was funny, smart, and wildly popular amongst audiences of all ages.  Their shining star, however, was the ambitious, no-nonsense sophomore gleek, Rachel Berry.  From infancy, Rachel had been wining performance-based awards, and had a 25-step plan for making it on Broadway.  Without a doubt, Rachel was going places.  But then, like many teenage girls, Rachel fell in love with the football star, Finn Hudson.  He was tall, white, heterosexual, with a goofy smile, and mediocre singing voice.  Rachel Berry could stand on her own, no problem, because there was enormous evidence to the fact that she was the star.  But RIB kept trying to make Finn the star.  Finn, with the pea-sized brain and disarming smile.  Finn would repeatedly make sexist, anti-lgbt comments only to  reprimanded with a slap on the wrist.  “Oh, that’s okay buddy.  You didn’t know.”  This drove the glee audience insane with the blatant hero-worship of Finn.  Finn could do no wrong, especially when he was so, so wrong.  From calling his step-brother a fag, to loudly outing the closeted cheerleader, Finn made no apologies — they had to apologize to him for overreacting and hurting his feelings. Finn became the unquestioned star of Glee, purely because he is a white, heterosexual male character.  A boring choice from boring writers.

Things could have been different if any of the writers or producers had been women, people of color, etc.  Bring on the diversity, and let their differences shine on the small screen.  Instead, watch Glee crash and burn Thursdays at 9 on FOX.


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