I can’t get enough of Rethinking Popular Culture and Media by Rethinking Schools. One of the articles, by Gerald Walton, I read today is a critique of the portrayal of bullying in Glee and by extension and connection the commercialization of the anti-bullying messaging in our culture today.
Walton focuses on how gay bashing is lumped in with other forms of bullying when it should be categorized under sexual harassment. He capably argues this point with ample evidence from the show and from literature about LGBT harassment.
He then states, “The broad representation of bullying in Glee can be tied to the concept’s commodification. Bullying has become useful and profitable for corporations.” (p.218) In the article, Walton provides several resource boxes including one for intervention strategies, books for children, films, and websites.
Toward the end of the article, he asks, “Why do so many school administrators and teachers, real and fictional ones in shows such as Glee, claim their schools are save for children while homophobic harassment remains prominent and obvious. While his focus is on this more narrow topic, I feel the same is true about bullying, cliques, and other aspects of students’ social interactions. Bringing this up runs a bit contrary to the purpose of Walton’s article, but being tasked with presenting on Internet safety, I am attuned to messaging from schools to their parent and public audiences. To really grapple with the many issues that pervade our growing children’s and adolescents’ lives, we have to admit they are there and recognize the scope of them.
One day of activism by Google, Firefox and more brought major attention to this issue. Will it be enough?