Sunday, September 11, 2011

Restraining the promiscuous woman: Glee's need to make Brittany conform to societies expectations of sex and love in "Duets"

I know I said I was going to be writing today, but I caved and decided to watch my new Glee season 2 DVD. I am totally procrastination queen but anyway, I got to "Duets" and something really stood out and that was the storyline between my beloved Brit Brit and Artie.

When it first aired I was way too excited by the PG Brittana action to notice anything else about this episode, which is why I haven't written about this before. Granted this episode happened before Santana had come out as gay, to Brittany anyway, so I guess that knowledge has affected my viewing as well. 

Whatever you might have to say about Brittany she has always been comfortable in her sexuality. She's slept with basically everyone in the school but she's not at all ashamed of it and while it was sometimes used for humour, the program had generally respected Brit's promiscuous nature. That was until "Duets". How did my beloved Brit Brit go from being comfortable in with her own sexual nature to yearning for a monogamous relationship with a guy who judged her sexuality in the worst way?

I should note that I am not in anyway trying to get into ship wars, despite the fact that I might have a soft spot for one couple over another I am more interested in the progression Brittany's character then any romantic entanglements. So please don't think I am trying to get down on your ship, I respect all ships!

Anyway, back to Brit Brit and the need to control her sexual nature. Brittany never indicated that she was interested in any kind of relationship before this episode, in fact the only kind of serious connection she seemed interested in was the one she had with Santana, but that's not really the point because her relationship with Santana never for a second questions her promiscuous nature. Brit likes sex, and Santana is completely OK with that, she's actually more OK with it then the whole relationship thing (something I can completely relate to).  

So maybe Brit was being a bit selfish, using Artie to make Santana jealous but I didn't see that she was ever dishonest about their relationship. As Artie said "so I get to tell people that I'm dating and you get a duet partner" and besides, Artie was just trying to make Tina jealous. Tina who broke up with him because he didn't appreciate or respect her. I don't hate Artie in fact I really want to like him, I think he needs to learn a lot about women, but I want him to learn these things so he can get a girlfriend but how he treated my beloved Brit Brit is not helping my quest to like him.

Artie and Brit went into their relationship for the same reason, to make the person they really care about jealous... not really the best way to start a relationship but whatever it was only for an episode. The problem appears to be that Artie values his virginity in a way that Brittany doesn't, so when they have sex Artie's feelings change and he somehow gets hurt. 

Did I miss something? Did Brittany force Artie to have sex? I mean he seemed pretty keen for it, and I don't think Brit ever said that she was in love with Artie or anything and she hasn't ever kept her views ons ex a secret. Why was he shocked when he found out that Brittany had slept with lots of people (how did he not know this)? Then he gets all upset at Brit for doing the exact same thing that he was, using him to make someone jealous. 

I get that sex means more to some people then it does to others. I completely respect that sex means different things to different people, the problem is that Glee doesn't. Artie decides that sex means a lot to him, and I get his reasoning why, the thing is he never talked about any of this with Brittany. He just expected her to understand that having sex with him meant something and that as a result she was supposed to feel the same way about it. So when he was told, by an outside and totally biased source I might add, that Brittany didn't care about him and that the sex act meant nothing Artie suddenly gets this sense of morality about the special nature of the sex act. 

The way Artie yells at my beloved Brit Brit breaks my heart. I see him as society frowning upon my beloved Brit's life choices, he informs her that she needs to think about how sex affects other people, placing the blame totally in her hands. Last time I checked it takes two to tango, and Artie may be physically disabled but he has all of his mental capacity, he is even depicted as quite intelligent so he should be held responsible for at least half of this decision. 

Artie is upset at Brittany for not conforming to his and societies expectation that sex equals love and the way she is suddenly shown to have some feelings for Artie that weren't there before. Suddenly she has all these feeling for Artie that can only be a result of the sex, which had never resulted in feelings for Brittany before. 

It just seems like Glee is trying to make this happily promiscuous woman conform to the expectations that sex means feelings and then punishing her because she hadn't thought about that before. 

Sorry for the ranting. xx