Ok, so after the much hyped (and kind of disappointing, let’s be honest) performance of Madonna at the Halftime show of the Superbowl, and just recently watching the most recent episode of Glee, I wondered what the recent rash of sexist, ageist media means for the current state of affairs for women in television. Sure, we are used to seeing half-naked women being used to sell everything from beer to toothpaste, but what of this idea of age and gender intersectionality?
Even I can admit that Madonna’s halftime show was sluggish and just a little awkward. Her age was a factor for me simply because it seemed she was trying to hard to overcome it, to somehow be young and be her legendary-self, simultaneously. It was sad to watch that magnificent performer embody our society’s issues about older women and express them in her performance so…accidently. But let’s face it: Madonna is a female performer. Brice Springsteen is a legendary rocker extraordinaire who’s age was a plus, not a hindrance. He flowed comfortably through his performance, embarrassing his saged rocker-style. Madonna, on the other hand, looked as if she was trying to convince people that NOTHING about her has changed in 30 years, which is simply not true. The same society, however, that has made her and many other women actresses, singers, etc. feel that they need to be young in order to be viable, condemned her for that very attitude.
But worst of all, truly, was the treatment of Sue Sylvester on last night’s episode of glee. “The Spanish Teacher” saw a kinder, gentler version of the acerbic-tongued Sue, attempting to get sperm (yes, you read that correctly), sperm…from the students and staff of McKinley High, because she is so lonely and depressed that she wants a child. Of course, because she is a strong female character (who is admittedly evil), the only way to soften her is to put her into the socially accepted role of mother.
Let me just say: Sue Sylvester is absolutely my favorite character on Glee. She is strong, capable, and really mean at times, but most of the canvas of that show is royally messed up in their own ways. While I thought making Sue a proponent of eating disorders was deplorable, I enjoy that she allows herself to be flawed.
I thought the treatment of her character last night was very sad. Worst than that (much worst) however is that I have seen NO ONE comment on how very ageist Coach Roz’s rant to Sue about not being a woman anymore because she is close to menopause. While I thought her delivery was flawless (I admittedly laughed out loud), when I rewound the scene and watched again, I found what she said to be so completely offensive. I expected to go to tumblr and find people OUTRAGED by what she said, in the way that people are rightfully upset when Sue mentions Mercedes’ weight. Where is the righteous indignation?
tagged as: coach Roz. sue sylvester. superbowl. glee. spanish teacher. ageism.