‘Glee’-Gate: Next Time Use Adults Dressed As Adults

To promote an age-inconsistent look in a national men’s publication whose readers have a natural tendency to ogle school-age girls is only condoning boorish behavior

Since the press won't let it die, I won't either.

It's been a week since the Parents Television Council made the public aware of the racy photo spread in GQ magazine's upcoming issue featuring a few selected cast members of the celebrated show "Glee." The spread shows three actors representing teenagers: two females, Dianna Aragon and Lea Michele, barely dressed, and one male,Cory Monteith, fully covered, posing provocatively — knee-socked-legs spread apart, lollipop-sucking in underwear — in a high school setting.

This shouldn't have been a big deal since this essentially is what the show is about: sexy high school kids engaging in edgy behavior.  

But.The Parents Television Council made a statement saying the  photos "bordered on pedophilia" because GQ used images of scantily clad high-school kids in provocative poses in a magazine intended for adult men.

In my view, the PTC clearly identified the issue with the photo spread, which I understand boils down to this: Don't use images of kids dressed like hookers to sell the men's magazine.

The outrage and debates this report sparked following the publication of the steamy photos were all over the place; some put the responsibility on parents who should not allow their kids to look at these pages; others accused the magazine of the boring overuse of sexy school girl images to sell the glossy, and then there were those who just think this is more of the same stuff that's on the TV show.

Some arguments are way off topic, in my view, while others hide behind another issue entirely.

Just today, Entertainment Weekly posted an article based on the answer to an interview question Jane Lynch, the feisty coach on the hit show, gave a reporter regarding the controversial photos in GQ. Lynch was asked how the "Glee" spread might affect young girls and their vulnerable body image (yet another angle to "Glee"-gate): 'I think whenever you put a woman scantily clad in underwear, it makes a lot of other girls and women feel badly about themselves, so it should be done with great consciousness.”

The seemingly trick question set off a string of comments at EW, which again, seem to be missing the point of the hot photo shoot controversy.

We all agree the public knows it was actors posing as high schoolers in these photos, as do parents, and the PTC. Are you with me on this?

However, what we don't agree on is likely this: The judgment call the adults made thinking it was a good idea to photograph the "Glee" actors taking advantage of their high school-age-looking characters from the show for a steamy, sexy, photo shoot to sell the men's magazine.

And, why don't we agree? For a variety of reasons.

Some will say, "kids are doing this anyway,” or  "If you don't like it, don't buy it," and the more common, "this is the way it is in high school in real life.”

Okay. Let's keep it real then.

All of the above statements might be true. But to promote this age-inconsistent look in a national men's publication whose readers, in reality, have a natural tendency to ogle school-age girls is only condoning this boorish behavior. (Yeah, walking by construction sites is still creepy for many.) This misconduct has been tolerated and promoted for a long time in the media, and there's finally a counterbalance calling out the abuse of sexualized teens to sell.

The point of the GQ/"Glee" flap went further astray somewhere between one of the actresses actually trying to apologize for her part in it, and the statement the editor-in-chief of the magazine made in the aftermath of  the heated public disagreement with his selection.

Dianne Aragon wrote on her blog, "if you are hurt or these photos make you uncomfortable, it was never our intention. And if your eight year old has a copy of our GQ cover in hand, again I am sorry. But I would have to ask, how on earth did it get there."

GQ editor-in-chief, Jim Nelson, dismissed the criticism by saying, "'The Parents Television Council must not be watching much TV these days and should learn to divide reality from fantasy. As often happens in Hollywood, these kids are in their twenties. Cory Monteith is almost 30! I think they're old enough to do what they want.'" (Funny he referred to them as 'kids.')

Well, evidently you both missed the mark, too.

Just in case it wasn't clear, the takeaway from "Glee"-gate is simply this: Don't use smutty images of sexy kids, minors or children to sell adult-oriented magazines … or any questionable merchandise intended for adults, for that matter.

Is it really that difficult to just use adults, dressed like adults, to sell adult stuff, to other adults?