Mid-20s Malaise

Struggling against the inevitable since 1986!

Kurt! Kurt! Kurt!

Kurt Hummel is my favourite character on television.

Not only is he cute as a button, he’s a consistently fierce and fascinating (and, most importantly, realistic) young gay man. He’s the role model I wish I had as a teen.

A lot has been made of Glee‘s gay storylines. Their handling of gay issues is often clumsy, but Kurt always shines. My brother was amused when we sat on the couch watching the episode Never Been Kissed, and I spent the whole hour cheering “Yay, Kurt!” and gasping at his fabulous costumes. Yes, fabulous: he wears capes and feathers and always looks amazing. Anyway, in this episode, Kurt is being consistently bullied by a meaty meathead. Mr Schuester witnesses some of the bullying, and the best he can do is offer Kurt a glass of water and ask him why he’s “letting” the bullying get to him.

OH MY GOD.

Does he really think that’s the problem? Not that Kurt’s being bullied, but that he’s being affected by it? OF COURSE HE’S BEING AFFECTED BY IT. Mr Schuester is a teacher, in a position of power to punish the bully and do something about it. Instead, he turns it around and blames it on Kurt. This is an example of Glee‘s mishandling of gay issues: Mr Schuester is meant to be some kind of musical angel, but instead, he’s just an impotent jerk.

But Kurt refuses to take it like that. He calls Mr Schuester out on his tolerance of homophobia (and, incongruously but amusingly) and his terrible lesson plans. There is no one around Kurt who is prepared to be his champion, so Kurt does it for himself. He meets another gay boy who, despite being depicted as some gay wizard with all the answers, encourages Kurt to stand up for himself, as opposed to every other character who encourages him to dial it down. Of course, this advice can be dangerous to kids in particularly homophobic schools, but it’s glorious when Kurt does take the advice.

Every time Kurt is pushed over, the look on his face breaks my heart: it’s been happening to him for years, but each time, he’s shocked anew. He walks around with his (adorable) nose in the air, looking haughty, but it’s moments like these when his facade cracks and we see the sad, scared little boy hiding in the haute couture. But this time, he decides he’s had enough, and charges after his bully, screaming at him. OH GOD, THAT RAGE. It was so good, and so true: gay kids are often depicted as being sad, sensitive, fierce, fabulous, but that anger is so often ignored. I was furious as a teenager, and rightly so, I feel: it’s so difficult growing up gay in such a heteronormative world, and the unfairness sometimes overpowers you.

As their confrontation escalates, Kurt’s bully kisses him. Ugh. That was a cop-out: most homophobic bullies aren’t secretly gay (despite some high profile examples of it happening), they’re just jerks. But whatever. KURT IS AMAZING. I don’t know if Chris Colfer is a great actor, having not seen him in anything else, but his Kurt is perfect: brave and broken.

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3 Responses

  1. Rachel says:

    OHMIGOSH! I literally SCREAMED with laughter when the big bully meathead kissed Kurt. Sure it’s a cop out but man, that is good TV ;)

    I worked at a school earlier this year and a boy was quite obviously gay. The other kids picked on him something fierce. Instead of punishing them the teachers had a meeting which I went to, where they blamed it all on this boy. Said if he wasn’t so “so outwardly gay” and “theatrical” etc. then there wouldn’t be a problem. So they were trying to figure out ways to get him to “tone it down” so the other kids wouldn’t pick on him.

    I was DISGUSTED. But teachers do this all the time… it’s ‘easier’ to blame the gay kid rather than face facts that there are serious issues within the school and society in regards to peoples sexuality. Instead of trying to battle those issues, it’s easier to tell the kid being picked on to tone it down. I can’t even explain how mad this makes me.

    And it’s not just with gay kids. I was picked on at school because I was quiet and sensitive so I was an easy target. When my parents confronted the teachers they were told I needed to toughen up and stop letting it get to me. They said if I didn’t bring it upon myself by getting upset, then kids wouldn’t bully me.

    Teachers are brain dead morons sometimes. I will NEVER accept bullying in my classroom EVER. Bullies better watch it as far as I am concerned.

    Anyway point was, for me that was a pretty realistic situation.

    End Rant.

    P.S. Kurt is fricken HOT.

    • liamliamliam says:

      I agree. I was bullied all through school – for being quiet, for being weird, for being camp. Whatever. Any kind of difference is seen as weakness and a license to bully.

      I came up against the same logic: “don’t get upset and they won’t do it”. Firstly, that’s wrong: they don’t care whether you laugh or cry, they just want to be cruel. And that’s…it’s just…UGH, I can’t even channel my frustration into a coherent answer. A lot more needs to be done.

    • liamliamliam says:

      And yeah, Kurt is hot! But I like that he’s nerdy/unusual hot, not a standard-issue Hollywood babe.

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