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Posted at 2:45 PM ET, 10/20/2010

Glee in GQ, Part Deux: The Parents Television Council does not care for those photos

By Jen Chaney

"Glee" stars, courting controversy on GQ's cover. (Image courtesy of GQ)

Not surprisingly, the sexy "Glee" photo shoot in GQ has fired up the Parents Television Council, prompting the conservative watchdog group to issue a news release today chastising the magazine as well as Fox for allowing pictures of a scantily clad Lea Michele, Dianna Agron and (not scantily clad) Cory Monteith to reach the public.

“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," PTC President Tim Winter is quoted as saying in the release. "It borders on pedophilia. Sadly, this is just the latest example of the overt sexualization of young girls in entertainment."

As I noted yesterday, I agree that the pictures are a bit disturbing, partly because -- even though the actresses in question are in their 20s -- the photos do sexualize young women to an unnecessary degree, and partly because they demonstrate how ridiculously over-the-top the promotional machine behind "Glee" and its stars has become. And I say that as a fan of the show.

All that said, the PTC is wrong on a couple of counts here.

First, Fox isn't entirely, if at all, to blame for the GQ episode. Reps for the network and the show may not have been involved in the shoot or fully understood what those photos were going to look like. That said, if the network is actually interested in maintaining a certain "Glee image," perhaps it needs to communicate that to the members of the cast and their various agents, publicists, etc.

Second, and more important, referring to this magazine shoot as "pedophilia" is more than a stretch. Yes, the pictures purposely play with the stars' TV image as teen girls. But Michele and Agron are adults. No one is being abused here. By that argument, Britney Spears's video for "Oops I Did It Again" also qualifies as pedophilia. (Although maybe the PTC would agree with that.)

The PTC release closes with another comment from Winter: "Parents need to be on guard as we expect the show to push the envelope even further. Unfortunately, it seems ‘Glee’ is only masquerading as [a] family show and is far from appropriate for young viewers.”

As one of the commenters on yesterday's post rightly noted, "Glee" isn't exactly a family show. While it has undeniably attracted some younger fans, it also has depicted teens having sex, teen pregnancy and other "mature" themes from the very beginning. If parents don't want to expose their kids to that, they don't have to and they should feel free not to. It shouldn't take a saucy magazine cover to make them realize that.

Do parents need to be aware of what their kids are watching? Absolutely. Do they need to be "on guard," blocking the evil forces of potential nudity and sexuality from their kids' impressionable eyes at every moment of the day? No. That kind of charged language makes it sound like "Glee" is destroying all decency in America. And honestly, as ill-advised as those photos might be, there are a lot more important things for parents to worry about than the potential trauma caused by seeing Rachel Berry in a bra.

By Jen Chaney  | October 20, 2010; 2:45 PM ET
Categories:  Celebrities, TV  | Tags:  Glee  
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Oh WAH. I rabidly hate organizations like PTC. My parents did the right thing when I was a child and PULLED THE PLUG ENTIRELY on the television. They chose to, you know, PARENT me rather than leaving it up to an electronic box. They also monitored the movies I watched until I was well into high school. I was, however, allowed to read absolutely anything I pleased (which made for a very successful academic career).

Please folks, spare me the whining about how current television programming doesn't reflect your values or sends a bad message. Instead, take action and cancel your cable and make sure your children's library cards are current. Television is not a necessity, and parents who feel it's harmful, but can't bring themselves to make the sacrifice to get it out of their house are quite frankly hypocrites and probably pretty bad parents in general.

As for PTC objecting to the GQ photo shoot, what on earth are you doing letting your children watch Glee (which I hear is a great, but decidedly adult show) and read GQ?

If you want to do something good for your children, stop clutching your pearls and throw out your television set, you spineless complainers.

Posted by: jrzwrld | October 20, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

"what on earth are you doing letting your children watch Glee (which I hear is a great, but decidedly adult show) and read GQ?"

'zackly. The PTC does have a point that the photo spread did exploit all three actors roles as teenagers. But that's not an entirely new tactic for a "men's" magazine.

Of course PTC members are also the type of people who understand neither satire, nor perhaps farce. I think Glee deliberately aims somewhere between those two, which is dangerous for an inherently unsophisticated medium (PBS and BBC notwithstanding).

Posted by: reddragon1 | October 20, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I've seen Lea Michelle without a bra, as di the rest of the audience of Spring Awakening. I've also seen John Stamos's bare butt cheeks, but I am less proud of that.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 20, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm with the PTC. Whether or not they're adults is beside the point -- if any of them posed individually, you could argue that they were making adult decisions as adults.

But when three stars whose ONLY notoriety is from playing high school students together on the same TV show are depicted in a widely circulated magazine as a menage a trois (his hannds are on their butts, folks, one of which is barely clad in very tiny underwear)? Yes, it borders on pedophilia. Completely. Stupid stupid stupid.

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | October 20, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

And who exactly are YOU to decide that "the photos do sexualize young women to an unnecessary degree"? I find comments like these usually come from ugly fat cows (and judging by your pic accompanying this column, you fit the description). It would take an awful lot of airbrushing to make you look this good ... so you carp and complain, instead. Go home and eat another tub of ice cream.

Posted by: bibleburner | October 21, 2010 3:39 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps these parents just shouldn't buy the magazine and leave it lying around?

Posted by: va2009 | October 21, 2010 5:13 AM | Report abuse

How can these photos be considered "pedophilia"? These actors are 24-30 yrs old. Just because you act your role is teenager on t.v doesn't mean you have to live your life as one.

So many other celebrities that young people view as role models have posed for GQ, yet no one had the balls to say something before. Now they want to attack these actors for deciding to do a sexy photo shoot. Give me a break.

jrzwrld Said ir best, parents get off your asses and spend time with your kids, dont't let the t.v raise your kids.

Posted by: dodgertown | October 21, 2010 5:56 AM | Report abuse

Is this America, or Afghanistan?

Seriously. These columnists sound like the goddam Taliban!!!!

Posted by: bs2004 | October 21, 2010 6:26 AM | Report abuse

Ha-ha-ha-ha, all this fuss from parents who themselves grew up during the 70s and 80s watching the golden age of porn (well, the fathers definitely did - unless they are Amish) and reading paperbacks with unmentionable titles and hiding playboy and penthouse magazines ("accidentally left around" by well-meaning uncles and older cousins - to let the then poor teenage boy relieve his hormonal imbalance) under their mattresses. What a bunch of unscientific hypocrites - traumatized is not having relief and stealing mommy's home-order catalog to find lingerie-clad women's pics. lol.

Posted by: darkasnight1234 | October 21, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Bibleburner - was that really necessary?

I'm all for freedom of expression - but attack the opinion, not the columnist expressing the opinion. You undermine whatever validity your argument may have had when you go all Bill O'Reilly/Rambo on the individual expressing the opinion.

Posted by: pfallsgirl | October 21, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Someone doing a poll for PTC or a similar group actually hung up on me when I thought people who objected to certain types of television programming should just get rid of their televisions. I'd agreed with her leading questions entirely up to that point. (No, young children shouldn't see people having sex on TV. No, young children shouldn't hear foul language on TV. No, young children shouldn't see violence on TV.)

Posted by: jrzwrld | October 21, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

"Second, and more important, referring to this magazine shoot as "pedophilia" is more than a stretch. Yes, the pictures purposely play with the stars' TV image as teen girls. But Michele and Agron are adults. No one is being abused here."

The PTC said that the images "border(!) on pedophilia". What they should have said is that the pictures border on child pornography.

If these adult women are interested in expressing their sexuality, they should do it as adult women, unassociated with the underage characters they play on TV.

Posted by: writinron | October 21, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

If lea michele wants to work as more of an adult , then she should quit Glee. She apparently feels hemmed in by playing a high school girl, so it's time for her to move on. It's sad that young kids cannot have people to look up to without their idol becoming sexualized. i.e. Brittany Spears.

Posted by: casey888 | October 26, 2010 3:39 AM | Report abuse

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