The Ethics Verdict on GQ’s “Glee” Spread: Ick

The watchdog group Parents Television Council is condemning the Gentleman’s Quarterly’s buzz-generating photo spread of actresses from “Glee”adopting sexually provocative poses more or less in character. Since their characters on the show are teenagers–minors—the Council equates the feature to pornography and pedophilia. “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,” said PTC President Tim Winter.

He’s right, of course. The spread is a sexual predator’s fantasy. It doesn’t matter that all the actors posing for the shots are well past the age of consent—they play teenagers, a lot of viewers think of them as teenagers, and they are posing as teenagers, hormones on fire. Ick. Imagine “Marcia” (Maureen McCormick) and “Jan” (Eve Plumb) doing a similar set of shots in their “Brady Bunch” days. Imagine “Happy Days”‘ “Joanie” (Erin Moran), doing such poses in character while she was still playing a high school student.  It’s not child porn, it’s just grown-up actors simulating child porn, which will be still good enough for child porn aficionados to get a good rush.

Yes, ick. But unethical? Much as I’d like to say so, and much as I think this is a sleazy, if brilliant, promotion by Fox, it just isn’t. Some attractive over-twenty actresses are in sexy poses in a magazine that is mostly read by men who like to see women in sexy poses. That’s pretty much the extent of it. It’s about as unethical as the early Britney Spears videos—less, actually, since she was playing a teen siren when she really was a teen siren.

The photo spread is near the line, but doesn’t cross it, icky though it may be.

3 thoughts on “The Ethics Verdict on GQ’s “Glee” Spread: Ick

  1. The real victim here would be the “Glee” show. The producers and show runners need to keep the appearance alive that these are high school students and if these actresses’ extra curricular activities make the show less believable, then its possible that their audience will peel away. When the magic is gone, so is the audience. This will lead to the show runners replacing actors. In a roundabout way, it will be due to this GQ spread.

    • Yes, I think that’s right. It’s a bit odd for the show to do this to itself—usually an actress trying to tart up her image takes this step, as when Joan Melissa Hart, “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” did a bikini spread while she was still playing a high-schooler.

      I think the “Glee” cast has always been unbelievable as teens—it’s one reason that I don’t care for the show.

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Ethics Verdict on GQ’s “Glee” Spread: Ick « Ethics Alarms -- Topsy.com

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