Spoilers abound for this week’s episode, read on at your own risk!
I just finished watching Glee’s Rocky Horror episode and beneath the incredible music (I am not always into Glee’s music, but this episode was possibly my favorite ever) they tackled not only the usual theme of misfits in society, but also body image in more than one capacity.
Mercedes is one of my favorite characters. She’s chubby, but doesn’t think it makes her un-pretty. And it doesn’t – she is gorgeous. They never force her into frumpy clothes, instead they show off her curves in form-fitting style that reflects the personality of her character. For those that haven’t watched it inthis episode, she requested to play the role of Dr. Frank-N-Furter and she rocked it. I loved that they twisted the gender of the role for her; it worked within the story and I loved the different style she brought to the music. Her body shape has rarely held her back from being incredible in every way and I strive to be more like her in that regard. She is, I think, one of the most excellent role models for young girls on TV.
In a somewhat related subplot, two boys struggled with body image. I know this is an issue that’s not often discussed, and while this could easily have come across as petulant, it didn’t. The writers and actors made it not only believable, but also quite natural. Sam worried about having to maintain his perfect body, and Finn had to work on becoming comfortable with something unconventionally handsome. My only beef – and it was, rather, a large one – was that it seemed that Finn’s character was considered chubby by all around him (smacks of Tracy Gold’s character on Growing Pains) and he is so clearly not chubby even a little bit. Such an assumption by the rest of the characters gives real bodies and the diversity of shape and size a blow once again.
I’ve always loved the way the show breaks social barriers, and not only did I love the music this episode, but I REALLY loved the subtopic of body image and how it was dealt with (mostly).
What did you think?
4 thoughts on “Glee’s Rocky Horror Episode”
We just got this episode last night in Australia. I am a big fan of this show. I loved seeing Mercedes rocking it out in that sexy black outfit. It really goes to show that no matter what your shape or size, you can be sexy. You just need the confidence.
I think that we sometimes forget that men can deal with their own body issues as well. They are plagued with images of male models in magazines the same way that girls are.
My husband was watching the show with me last night and when Sam came on with his shirt off, he looked down at his body and said that he needed to start working out again. It goes to show that we are all affected by images we see in the media.
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I’m a guy. In my life body-image has been a huge, huge thing for me. My relationship with my facial, and then bodily physical appearance was a far more predominant influence throughout my later childhood and teenage years than was… god… probably anything else. Between the ages of 13 to maybe 18, my whole, entire life revolved around my appearance. That being said, I do not like the somewhat growing trend in American culture which focuses on ‘helping obese people feel better about themselves,’ without also making people aware about how obesity harms the body. It kind of functions as a justification for obesity. -There are some women who are just naturally chubby, and that’s fine, but ‘Mercedes’ would be an example of obesity, and that is not cool. It shouldn’t be justified or victimized from the perspective that ‘the only problem with obesity is that you don’t feel sexy.’ So that, one could very well be led to believe that ‘if I can make myself feel sexy by objectifying myself like Mercedes, then obesity is fine.’
I do not condone poor health. But I do believe people should love their bodies no matter the shape. I’ve known people to be physically active and eat very healthy diets and still be obese. Should they not love who they are just because their bodies don’t work the same way? Besides that, body shaming doesn’t work EVER. One cannot love oneself with exercise and good food, until one loves oneself wholly.