Wednesday, February 22, 2012

'I Kissed A Girl' ... so what happens now?

As I have stated before identifying as a member of the LGBT community comes with struggles in one’s life. Our country, however happens to be quiet, diverse and open-minded to a certain extent, which makes it ironic that such hardship, would take place. Therefore, I strongly believe that one’s traditional value can influence a member of the LGBT community not to “come out”. In this blog post, I will analyze an episode of the well known show Glee called “I Kissed A Girl” by utilizing Theo Van Der Meer, John Bradshaw and Lynn Letukas’s ideas and statements about sexuality to demonstrate how being a Latina and identifying as a lesbian (in Santana’s case) is hard.
            The overall point of the episode “I Kissed a Girl” is that there is a rumor that Santana likes girls. In the previous episode there was a commercial created by Sue Silvester’s (the cheerleading couch) political opponent. Finn Hudson, a member of the Glee club, was overheard when he stated that the reason Santana was so edgy was because she kept that fact that she was lesbian all bottled up inside, since she’s in the “closet” and can not be with Britney. This commercial creates a scandal throughout the conservative society. Such that a white guy named Josh goes up to Santana and tells her that “He’s just the right man to straighten her out” (I Kissed A Girl episode, 2011). Josh’s actions falls right along with a youth that Theo Van Der Meer interviews and states that “We are good and they are bad” (Meer 161), the ‘we’ implying normal people and ‘they’ implying LGBT members.  Josh is not the only person who would have probably said something so extreme in a society that is made up with people who identify as conservatives. Often conservatives are less open-minded society, where they do not believe in nothing that is “abnormal”. Therefore, if there was a possibility that Santana was a lesbian, Josh probably being a conservative felt that it was in his hands to change her and make her “normal”. Furthermore, this demonstrates that even though Santana is still supposedly in the closest, she still has to deal with Josh’s ignorance.
            Later along the plot line Santana decides to tell her parents that she was a lesbian. She tells her classmates that they accepted her sexual orientation, however when telling her Abuela (Grandmother) it was not the same story. Her Abuela was shocked and kicked Santana out of her house. The Abuela clearly tells Santana that “everyone has secrets” (I Kissed A Girl episode, 2011), which implies exactly what Barnshaw and Letukas’s article mentions that “if you’re living on the down low… you’re lying to your wife… [and] to every dude you are sleeping with…” (Barnshaw and Letukas, 478). The fact the Abuela mentions this to Santana shows how her grandma being a first generation immigrant has different values. The grandmas grew up with Latina traditions, not just American values, which is why she comes out to be less open-minded. Therefore, what the Abuela is implying is that it is not the fact that Santana is lesbian that she does not approve of, it is the fact that she is being open about her orientation. Santana’s grandmother is upset at the fact that Santana did not keep her sexual preference a secret. Thus, the Grandma would have preferred Santana to stay on the down low and pretend she was “normal”.      
Being a lesbian in society that is conservative is hard; however it is even harder when your racial background is even more traditional. As shown, Santana overall feared the reaction her fellow classmates and family and as result tried to hide the fact she was attracted to her own gender. Her fears soon became realistic though when rumors surfaced and the type of feedback she wished to avoid began happening from her peers. To her own surprise though she was able to realize they overall accepted her path which is not the case for every person going this route and with her new found confidence was able to confront her family. Due to her racial back though, the rejection she wanted to stay clear of was now back to haunt her, thus making Santana believe it would have been better to stay in the “closet”.

Bradshaw. John and Lynn Letukas. “The low down on the down low: Origins, Risks and
Identifications” IN Health Sociology Review Vol 19:4 Dec. 2001. pp 478-490
Meer Der Van. Theo. “Bashing a Rite of Passage?” in Culture, Health and
Sexuality. Vol 5:2 pp 153-165
Fox Broadcasting Company. “Glee: I Kissed A Girl”. Nov. 2011. Web.

1 comment:

  1. Santana’s struggle with coming out is an issue that many ethnic LGBTQ individuals deal with, more so than their Caucasian peers. There is a major stigma concerning homosexuality in many different cultures around the world, and I believe that being a member of the LGBTQ community as well as associating with a certain ethnic culture makes being a homosexual extremely more complicated. In Santana’s case, being a Latina adds a new dimension of problems she has to face when it comes to coming out. As mentioned in the post, her abuela kicked her out of the house when she came out. This may seem drastic, especially since some people believe that your kin should be the most supportive factor in any coming out process. According to Kath Weston’s article “Forever is a Long Time: Romancing the Real in Gay Kinship Ideologies,” kinship ties are supposed to be “ties that endured.” This claim is obviously disregarded in the case of Santana’s culture. Her grandmother would have rather had Santana deny her sexuality instead of being accepting and understanding. The intolerance of Santana’s grandmother also goes with the fact that she is a first generation immigrant, and usually this generation of immigrants have close-minded viewpoints that have been brought over from their country of origin. While not all ethnic families are disapproving of homosexuality, most are still uncomfortable with the issue. It is just a matter of exposing these families to more LGBTQ people and for them to gradually stray from their heteronormative views.

    Works Cited:

    Weston, Kath. 1998. “Forever is a long time: Romancing the real in gay
    kinship ideologies”.