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Selling Youth Sexuality

The cast of the hit TV show “Glee” goes soft-porn in a men’s magazine. We look at the debate over kids and marketed sex.

The November 2010 cover image of GQ: from left, Dianna Agron, Cory Monteith, and Lea Michele, from the TV series "Glee.” (AP/GQ, Terry Richardson)

The Fox TV show “Glee” was a hit from the start when it came out last year. At last, a show the family could watch. High school kids singing. Glee club.

It sounded like innocence, a little bit of Happy Days. Now, the female leads of Glee are posing for GQ magazine in their undies. Bobbie socks and bare flesh, soft-porn style.

Of course, they’re not actually kids. And “Glee”‘s not so innocent. But once again, there’s the image of highly-sexualized teen life. Critics are crying pedophilia. We hear the debate.

-Tom Ashbrook


Pepper Schwartz, professor of sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she teaches one of the school’s most popular courses on the sociology of sexuality. She’s author of dozens of papers and academic papers on sexuality.

Kim Morgan, writer and blogger for MSN Movies, Huffington Post, IFC, Entertainment Weekly and Garage Magazine. She is the former L.A. Weekly film critic. Her blog is “Sunset Gun.”

Maria Luisa Tucker, co-editor of New Youth Connections, a magazine written by New York City public high school students and distributed to high schools,  libraries, and community organizations.

More from the GQ photo shoot:

In this publicity image below, released by GQ magazine, Lea Michele, from the TV series “Glee” poses in the November 2010 issue of GQ. Many say the “Glee” stars went too far in a series of racy photos in the magazine’s November issue (AP Photo/GQ, Terry Richardson).

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  • Joshua Hendrickson

    I am shocked–shocked!–to discover that people over the age of fourteen are sexual beings!

    And I am shocked–shocked!–to see adult actors and actresses (who portray teenagers on tv) displaying their sexuality in a commercial magazine!

    And most of all, I am shocked–shocked!–that America is shocked–shocked!–by all this ordinary human behavior.

    Grow up, America, before it’s too late. There are subjects, issues, and problems out there of real moment and substance and moral concern, and none of them–none!–have anything to do with sex.

  • Joshua Hendrickson

    I must correct myself: there is a problem of real moral concern having to do with sex–the obstinate insistence by the right wing on abstinence-only education. It is evil to enforce ignorance of sexual reality in the young.

    As every Christian should know, abstinence doesn’t work–look what it got Mary.

  • cory

    The world has become nothing more than a marketplace, and sex sells. What else needs to be said?

  • Zeno

    I find the sexualization of children to be abhorrent. It permeates TV sitcoms and other venues as well. I am appalled when I see situations where TV has a six year old making remarks of sexual innuendo about their sex life!

    When will America’s media and marketing just let children BE Children. They are not potential sex toys!

  • Justin

    Children are the last sexual beings to yet be fully exploited. It only makes sense that the focus in media shifts to the last “taboo”. Shock (or sex) in advertising is becoming harder and harder to find, so moving the focus to a now hypersexualized schoolgirl seems only like the next (and one of the last) logical progressions. Maybe next we enter a conservative phase and the new sexy is the librarian in the background of all these sexy schoolgirl photos.

  • JL

    Glee’s first season, and in my estimation what made it worth watching, was the focus on coming of age and overcoming all the insecurities accompanied with it. That very universal sentiment, feeling like you don’t fit in, along with good writing made the show enjoyable to watch.

    Now, they’ve mucked up the waters by introducing overt and cliched sexual references that veer so far from the original focus of the show–misfits facing and triumphing over day-to-day challenges. I would never classify Glee as a wholesome family show, however, I think this direction of T & A is poorly thought out; not because it’s tawdry, but because it’s dumb.

  • michael

    One of South Park’s Episodes making fun of Disney and the Jonnas Brothers sumed up Selling Youth Sexuality


  • michael

    One of South Park’s Episodes making fun of Disney and the Jonnas Brothers sumed up Selling Youth Sexuality

    http://www.southparkstudios.com full-episodes s13e01-the-ring

  • Rob

    What strikes me as odd is: the most conservative news broadcast organization, FOX, has a blatantly sexual and bodering on peverse liberal acclimation in it’s entertainment division. Is this some deeply rooted understanding of their demographics or mearly an attempt to pander both to puritans and perverts alike?

    When is the “Televisions codes and standards” when you need them?

  • http://www.lowenfoundation.com/ Flowen

    Can we distinguish healthy sexuality from unhealthy sexuality?

    The media’s portrayal of sexuality is much closer to prostitution; but it sure does sell.

    As a father of a tween/teen girl, I can tell you that those who don’t have that experience now (if your daughter is older than 24 you have no idea), have no idea how commercialism pervades girls’ existence, experience, and behavior in the world.

    The commercial interests have these girls firmly in their sights as current and future consumers; and they will say and do anything to get these girls to buy their cr*p.

    What works real well is making the girls insecure about themselves, sexually and otherwise. Corporate behavior here is abhorrent, it is indicative of their willingness to cut their own grandmother’s throat for a few dollars more. They are killing the goose.

  • Pete

    Not to be too cliche, but how is selling youth sexuality any more vulgar or immoral than the rampant marketing of excessive violence in American culture? I can’t possibly see how the Glee GQ photo spread is any more atrocious or desensitizing than the new Call of Duty video game, UFC, or any number of popular films and television shows. You know something is skewed when a culture encourages and embraces pain, fear, and bloodshed, but is absolutely terrified of sexuality.


    As every Christian should know, abstinence doesn’t work–look what it got Mary.

    Posted by Joshua Hendrickson, on October 26th, 2010 at 2:08 AM

    Actually, Joshua, orthodox Christian doctrine holds the position that Jesus was born of a virgin and that Mary did not have physical relations with her husband Joseph until sometime after Jesus was born. This is a critical and therefore a very attacked doctrine as is it essential in order for Jesus to not have a sin nature as the rest of mankind has. I sense a sarcastic or skeptical tone in your comment. You can choose to deny this doctrine, but then it will continue on and on (Jesus’ deity, His future return to earth to establish His eternal kingdom, etc. etc. etc.). But as Philippians 2:9-11 tells us, whether it is in this life as a result of receiving Jesus as one’s Savior, or after death and having rejected Him and spending eternity separated from God, “every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”

  • Sam E.

    Hasn’t teen sexuality been a cornerstone of television at least since 90210 in the early ninties?

    What makes Glee any different than the myriad of other television shows and movies portraying youth sexuality in sometimes unhealthy ways?

  • Carlo

    If you live in a culture of a cesspool media eventually your population becomes total crap too. TMZ, Jersey Shore, Biggest Loser, Big Brother, Glenn Beck, Keith Olbermann, Bachlerette, Judge Judy, Kanye West, Eminen, Dr. Dre and on and on it goes.

    Garbage in=garbage out. America has hit its iceberg and the band continues to play.

  • Maureen

    Well, either everyone’s hormones are busted or we’re hypocritical puritans and the age on consent is a bit too high. Young people are certainly developing younger than before. That’s a scientific fact. But society can’t handle the ramafications.

    Imagine if society had decided 25 was the proper age to reach maturity when we were 18. A lot of unnessary battles against nature.

  • Valkyrie607

    I challenge callers and commenters to debate this topic without referencing God or Jesus or the Bible. Many of us are not Christian. If you cannot argue your position without requiring that your interlocutor subscribe to impossible fairy tales about a Jewish zombie, then by default your argument defeats itself. If you cannot find any rationale behind your position besides “God said it should be this way,” then chances are you don’t have any good rationales.

  • John

    There is no god. Natural disasters are caused by nature, not because parents stopped spanking their children. If a god had the power to prevent a disaster and doesn’t deign to help as he or she felt slighted, that god is not worthy of worship.

  • A.

    In this audience are those of us who have undergone the utterly unspeakable heartbreak of learning that our child was sexually abused, in our situation, by a family friend, a professional man, for many years.

    A major sector of the American commercial culture is sick. Unfortunately, it is the children who catch the sickness, many becoming ill in ways that take decades to work out.

    Many children, especially girls who get abused, have a very specific social learning disorder that is on the autism spectrum. They can be particularly prone to exploitation by both the media and its imagery and by abusers, but how many people in the general public even now that? Even more specifically, we were utterly failed by the professional community who did not recognize this underlying genetic condition nor the classic symptoms of abuse I repeatedly referred to as I begged for help before learning what was happening.

    America needs to know what the symptoms of sexual abuse, exploitation, and harassment of children look like. They look a lot like a lot of the advertising and TV programming tied to advertising that we are talking about here.

    AND, even more so, America needs to recognize the difference between what kind of sexual expression is appropriate for children compared to for adults. Too many people think of these issues in either/or terms. Generations of teens learned the skills necessary for later fuller expression thru teenage-appropriate heavy petting. The same used to be true even of young adults who were not yet married.

    Already some on this website are making the sexuality that is sold in our media look like it is related to the real thing. It is not. Because of the media mainly, there are ten-year-olds who talk about sexual activities that the Sixties had to introduce, pushing and shoving, to most adult women 21, some of which many still consider a perverse “specialty” . Pre-teens are engaging in this kind of behavior!

    Things have crossed over into “The Sick”. I do not say this in a religious context, but in a psycho-social sense. I did not continue to watch the Glee episode that had the kids dancing Britney S. style a few weeks ago. This magazine piece is in that bigger context. Kids have already SEEN that show, unless their parents realized what was going on & got them out of the room.

    This all started really with Pocahontas. I remember thinking back then that fathers were still fairly new to being integrated into the raising of their kids. So, there’s Dad at the movie theater for a Saturday matinee with the kids. How to get his attention while subtly influencing the kids? That bod on Pocahontas. I remember thinking it was inappropriate for the audience, and our child was that age at that point. I had already begun to tell her about procreation — that was appropriate; Disney’s play was not, in my opinion.

  • Fran

    Please note that this is not simply an issue of sexualized *youth* (after all, the actors are in their 20′s). It is a case of stark sexism, as it is the *female* stars who are clothed in underwear, while the male lead wears multiple layers of clothing and even a tie. Yes, we expect this from GQ, but let’s not forget the applicable label–sexual objectification of *females*.

  • Valkyrie607

    Also, if I’m not mistaken, Glee’s male lead also posed on the GQ cover. Is that not an issue? I guess it’s only disturbing if it’s women? Maybe he should have taken more clothes off.

    Teens are already tramps, some of them at least, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Just use condoms and don’t get involved with emotionally manipulative or abusive partners.


    challenge callers and commenters to debate this topic without referencing God or Jesus or the Bible. Many of us are not Christian. If you cannot argue your position without requiring that your interlocutor subscribe to impossible fairy tales about a Jewish zombie, then by default your argument defeats itself. If you cannot find any rationale behind your position besides “God said it should be this way,” then chances are you don’t have any good rationales.

    Posted by Valkyrie607, on October 26th, 2010 at 11:03 AM
    Leave a comment

    Nice hate speech (“Jewish Zombie”), by the way.

    The problem with your proposal is that your morality is dependent upon your starting point. If you believe that man is the starting point, then there is no right and wrong. Everyone is answerable only to themselves and can do whatever they want. In addition, God exists and the Bible is true regardless of what we think or feel about it. And everyone will give and account based on its precepts and revealed truth.

  • John

    Everyone under 18 should wear a burqa.

  • Joe

    These images are used as an attention getting device, nothing more. Our attention is valuable. If we didn’t pay any attention they would need to find something else.

  • Valkyrie607

    Ugh, it’s Terry Richardson? I agree, he’s not terrible creative and his style has been banal for a long time. Yet his reputation as a sexual predator doesn’t prevent him from getting work. THIS is a problem, not racy images of actors who are in their 20s.

  • John

    The Bible isn’t even consistent let alone true. Morality evolves from human culture not from mythical figures. No one still claims that the Bible sanctions slavery so obviously its morality evolves too (although usually more slowly).

  • Valkyrie607

    Winston, I realize it feels good to feel superior to me because you imagine that I don’t know right from wrong. But that doesn’t make it true. I do in fact know right from wrong, and what’s more, I don’t need supernatural threats from a vengeful God to keep myself in order. I do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, not because I’m afraid of eternal punishment if I don’t.

    As far as “Jewish zombie” goes, it’s not hate speech. Jesus died, then he got up and walked around. What is that if not a zombie? That’s what happened. If you interpret people not subscribing to your particular brand of woo-woo craziness to be hate speech, then I recommend you just stay home and don’t talk to people who aren’t in your Bible study group.

  • Lily

    I am not a fan of the show, but I am disgusted by the GQ spread for its blatant objectification of women. While the male actor is fully clothed, the women are almost naked. In this society, it has become commonplace for women to show skin in the entertainment industry to sell records, movies, TV shows, etc. For women to get ahead, they have to sell their bodies, first, and their talent, second, which is a loathsome double standard that turns back the clock on gender issues.

    The message young women are getting as a result of these images being perpetuated in the media is that they must starve themselves into thinness and dress provocatively to get ahead in life, placing their sole focus on appearance, when in fact they should be encouraged to invest in themselves as people by excelling at academics, sports, hobbies, etc.

  • Elizabeth Kimball

    While I have no opinion on the subject (except maybe the usual tempest-in-a-teapot sigh), I do wonder how many copies of the magazine will be sold due to this discussion?

  • Max from Medford MA

    Tom, what’s going on? you are asking…

    nothing at all, actually, just the age-old discomfort of Americans with sex and sexuality.

  • Beth

    With all due respect Tom: could you sound more out of touch regarding the way young girls experience, interpret and are influenced by sexually charged images CREATED BY ADULTS but FOR CHILDREN. But, that is not really the issue in this case.

    These images are incredibly creepy because they were made by adults, for adults, of adults but dressed and photographed AS CHILDREN.

    Until we look at why our collective heterosexuality is drawn to women depicted in a childish, infantile way this is going to keep happening and we’re all going to collectively gasp and cluck about how abhorrent it is for a couple days and then forget about it until the next time it happens.

  • ra stefanowicz

    Tom – its not too late to salvage this discussion by putting Camille Paglia on rather than these junior league commentators. OBTW – Glee is to high school as Ally McBeal is to the practice of law.

  • Christina

    “The problem with your proposal is that your morality is dependent upon your starting point.”

    Morality is not owned by the religious. In fact, it is apparent that the lack of morality is highly prevalent to those who profess they are religious and moral. Most folks I know who are not religious or atheist have much higher values and moral standards than those who use their “god” to exempt themselves from treating others with respect and dignity. Here’s a taste: Get off your soap box, Winston, your panties are showing.

  • Kristin

    When I saw these photos, they made me sick to stomach thinking that my 13-year-old sisters (twins) might Google their favorite Glee stars and come across these photos. While the actresses have every right to dress and pose for photographs as they please, they are not only representing high school (underage) girls, but are also setting terrible standards for how young women and teenage girls believe they should dress and act in order to please a male.

  • Nick

    If the 2 actresses modelling are 24 + 28, then this is legally permitted.

    This mostly falls on the 2 actresses for modelling, their agents, GQ, + FOX.

    Remember, FOX is the patriarchal, uber-heterosexual, homophobic, racist entertainment/”news” corporation.

    Kim Morgan referred to women as “Ladies” + refered to thongs as “thong panties.” How uncomfortable is Ms. Morgan discussing this subject!!

  • Martha Sweet

    This sexy culture has been pervasive for ever..but the nature of the net has made it more known than ever.
    For us, teaching our kids (2 sons 11yo and 9yo and a daughter 8yo)HOW TO THINK AND MAKE GOOD DECISIONS is the way to help them through all that they are exposed to. We don’t watch much TV beyond PBS, sports and news..but the kids see it on Nick etc. We the parents are their role models and we try to lead by example.

  • http://none Concerend Mom

    I understand the appeal is to the teen market. Teens are the consumer. And these pictures are older actresses posing as teens, but they are appealing to our developing children.

    My sons‘s brains are developing. I would like them to have morals and respect women and this does not make my life any easier. The brain development and path ways are being programmed (influenced) to think of the female as a sexual play thing.

  • Larry

    Has everyone missed the fact that the characters speak about lesbianism and sex every episode? Should middle schoolers be watching the show anyway?

  • Rebecca Dempster

    This syndrome is also all over the lyrics of the songs that the preteen teen set listen to on stations such as Kiss 108. These lyrics are so overtly sexual on and on and my 10 year old and 13 year old listen to these songs and sing along and my husband and I just look at each other thinking do they have any idea what they are saying. Also how are their opinions of sexuality and the dynamic between males and females being affected by this exposure. Very odd that this is the type of lyrics being targeted at this age group. And yes – where are the lyrics about saving the world, and feelings about growing up and the world they are entering other than issues such as domestic violence and teen age fantasies and partying and drinking – I mean really!

  • Jeremy Morrison

    Glee was supposed to be an entertaining show about the underdog and standing up for your individual strengths and idiosyncrasies. These pictures confuse the message, focusing on incredibly cliched and banal images of sexuality. Why did the photographer and actors participate in this? And a lollypop? How utterly lame.

  • tipipaul

    Reminds me of the book, “Reviving Ophelia” featured on NPR back in the mid-nineties.

  • Nick

    Sounds like Ms. Morgan would like to return to the 50s + Doris Day, Rock Hudson, etc.

    Tom: you’re giving Ms. Morgan way too much air time on this; I’d like to hear more from Ms. Schwartz.

  • Nate

    I think this is a great discussion, but you have focused on the wrong target! The whole show is hyperbole. White students are called by name, while Asian students are called generically by “Asian kid” or “other Asian kid”.

    This show is so popular because it takes High School experiences to the extreme, and this is just another example of that. Rather than blasting the show or GQ for this *shocking* photo spread, let’s encourage people and parents to use this as an opportunity to set the record straight about what sexuality is and how (or if?) it should be expressed in High School.

  • Jenny Williams

    I like these images. Those girls are, frankly, hot. Teenage girls (and young women in their twenties who portray them) are beautiful–face it. And I hope adults enjoy these images. As for my kids, it’s my job to either protect them from such images, or in the case of my thirteen year old son, discuss them with him and teach him to be a critical user of media, to understand the ways that the media wants to manipulate him, and to raise him up to be a man who respects and honors women. I don’t think finding teenaged girls hot is going to turn my kid into Ted Bundy.

  • Ronda Stewart-Wilcox

    I watched the first episode of Glee and then didn’t watch again because the over-sexualization was clearly evident. My children do not watch this show. I was/am dismayed that this show has proven successful because that means that many families, children, and teens are watching this and being influenced that sexualization like this is “normal.” My family does not live this way.

    In addition, I am very disappointed that this website is showing some examples of these pictures. I do believe this discussion is important — but I do not desire to see these photos.

  • Kyle

    1. These are not 14 or 15 year olds. These girls are in their mid 20s.

    2. This was not a Glee press release. This was a GQ magazine photo shoot. This happens every time a Maxim or GQ magazine is released. Why do we care about these pictures in particular? I guarantee you this is not the first time an actress has posed as a high school girl in a magazine like this.

  • Vince

    I was sexually interested/active at 13, and do NOT feel that I was an anomaly or a “bad” person. Sexuality is normal, and even something to be celebrated. If you want to be “afraid” of something, be afraid of the violence portrayed on the mass market and in the cultural identity.

  • Robert Bristow-Johnson

    It’s another good reason to ditch cable. Oh, I see it’s faux tv. Well, neither I nor my two daughters know about Glee nor when it’s on. Other than the Simpsons, we don’t watch Faux TV anyway.

    I’m not too worried. My kids are too busy with homework and other after-school activities to be watching fluff like Glee.

  • BHA

    There is a BIG difference between 24 Y/O women posing in sexy photos as 24 Y/O women and 24 Y/O women posing in sexy photos as high school girls.

    It doesn’t matter WHO the photo shoot was intended for. HS boys and girls are going to see it. Planting the ‘desirable sexy teen girl’ image to GQ readers isn’t exactly wonderful either.

    Oh, the guest is saying the same thing right now!

  • Valkyrie607

    Tom, this is a bogus issue – but street harassment is not. You should devote an hour to exploring how women experience street harassment and why so many men think it’s acceptable.

  • Nick

    I concur w/Elizabeth Kimball @ 11:17am:

    GQ must love this (+ other) inadvertent promotion!

  • http://www.lowenfoundation.com/ Flowen

    Kim Morgan obviously doesn’t know the difference between prostitution and healthy sexuality.

    What else could be expected of a media spokesperson?

  • http://none Concerend Mom

    If the intended audience was not the same then their way of dressing would be like grown women and not school children. They seem to be dressed like a student character in the onpoint site.

  • Nay

    This photo shoot represents one (male) fantasy.

    Why was it chosen by GQ over and above, say, these 20-something actors and actresses dressed as *themselves* (rather than in character) at the beach in bathing suits?

    Sex plus controversy sells.

  • Dave

    Tom: You are being very biased on this one and have repeatedly cut off Ms. Schwartz and a few callers that didn’t agree with the view that these actors acted terribly as you clearly believe.

    You usually agitate thought and lubricate the discussion, not bias it. Please return to that model.

  • Ruth

    Just more soft-porn for a highly sexualized society who devalues women and their intelligence or place in the world. We try to teach our sons to treat woman as equals and then something like this comes along and screams “sex object only”. These actresses portray teenagers and this only sexualizes them to the ninth degree. We allow this and then are suprised when women get raped and abused. We are made out to be objects before people.

  • Lance Westbrook

    This is a FOX television show. It is a very good one. But, there is no other value but viewership and profits.
    I am astonished that anyone watches this show with their 10 year olds. I am embarrassed to watch with my 24 year old.

  • John

    Sex plus controversy sells. – Posted by Nay,

    – Next month’s issue: Juan Williams in a thong!

  • Valkyrie607

    Maria is sadly mistaken if she thinks that covering up on the street is going to prevent street harassment. Or covering up on the cover of GQ, or anywhere else for that matter. Street harassment is a problem here as well as in Egypt and India, where women walk around covered from neck to toe. Street harassment is a real problem, but manufactured outrage about depictions of actors on TV is not the root cause of the problem, and making actors who portray teenagers on TV enforce a set of arbitrary decency standards will do absolutely nothing to address that problem.

  • Cynthia

    Viewers seem to be forgetting that Glee was never about portraying innocence, not even in its first season. Puck is supposed to be an oversexed pool-maintenance guy and football player who has sex with everyone — teenage girls and their moms!

    I had to vet the entire first season and refused to allow my 13-year-old daughter to watch the segment with bump and grinding to a rap song. It was just embarrassing. Of course, that was part of the point of the segment. Rachel was trying to break out of her up-tight image by choreographing something provocative.

    Glee then revisited a similar theme, but this time mocked the idea that Brittany Spears could send an entire gym into one massive sexual frenzy.

    The GQ shoot may have been tasteless. And I am sure that the actors regret their decision in the face of fan criticism. But let’s just use this as a teaching moment for our children — We all make mistakes. Now let’s move on.

  • http://wpln.org Kevin in Tennessee

    I hate that the world has come to a point that we have teens looking up to these “roll models”. We must understand as parents, is what we allow are kids to watch and hear will influence there minds and ideas of themselves. If we don’t like the show or the music they watch. Then tell our kids why we dont like. Engage in a learning lesson with them.

  • Scott Lewins

    As a 33 year-old man who admittedly enjoys looking at attractive members of the opposite sex (anyone who say otherwise is merely lying), I think you are dancing around the real issue at hand. Men need to start treating women and especially girls with more respect. And, more importantly we need to teach our boys that disrespecting women is unacceptable.

  • Ellen Dibble

    It seems a distraction all too easily perpetrated on teenage women to make them think in terms of competing for the most male attention, the most “cred” as a sexual being, when I think in truth the women are the ones who are discriminating among the men (boys). They need to spend a good long time figuring out how to select the most compatible guy. They can skip all the rest of the distractions. As John said, let them wear burqas. When they’re ready to make a choice, the burqa will come off, and yes, they’ll be beautiful.

  • Sandy

    I find this discussion curious…the debate over whether the message by personalities in one form of media conflicts with the image put forth on another…”teenaged” glee club actors vs the photo shoot in GQ. Juan Williams was fired from NPR for a similar conflict. Glee management on the other hand seems to have directed it. Not sure what my own conclusion is, just curious why must NPRs adult audience require more coddling than Glee’s adolescent audience?

  • Nick

    This makes me wonder about what seems to have been a trend in recent decades (more commonly for women) to pitch their speaking voices as high as physically possible, so they sound almost like toddlers. Their speech somewhat resembles that of Donald Duck, and can be hard to understand.

  • Sarah

    I’m not questioning anyone’s right (actors, magazines) to publish and express what they choose, but come on! It’s in poor taste and contemptible. How about if grown-ups at least try to give kids a little space and not involve them in our adult lives and expressions of sexuality? We need some adult-to- adult peer pressur eto have some standards.

  • Andrea Wilder

    Girls need other models of behavior–sports, special interests, etc.

    This stuff existed when I grew up, but it was aimed at adults. We kids just read the adult magazines.

    Girls do use these girls as models for dressing and behavior.

    it is up to parents to to provide, sponsor, positive activities which are not sex saturated.


  • Allison

    One of your callers touched on the REAL issue here briefly, and I wish you would’ve honed in on it. I’m not worried about teaching teenage boys about looking at teenage girls. However, what are we teaching 30 year old men is “okay” when we feed them images of woman portrayed as teenagers? The older men creating and enjoying these photos are the ones who are teaching teenage boys “what to look for” as they undergo puberty and become interested in sex. Why do we still think it’s okay to portray child-like images to men, and then bemoan actual pedophilia? Let’s stop telling our adult males that it’s okay to enjoy the sexualization of teens, and we’ll have to worry less about how teenage boys treat real-life girls.

  • Nick

    Who owns/publishes GQ??

    What happended to SAFE SEX on prime time TV teen shows: CONDOMS!??

    Adolescents have nearly always begun to explore sex + sexuality, beginning as young as age 9-10 in certain cultures.

    IF sex is not proactively discussed in middle school/high school educational forums, then how are teenagers going to learn properly? (Not from their peers!)

  • Sam

    It’s inaccurate, as well as silly and inflammatory, to talk about pedophilia in this context. Sexual attraction to teenagers is properly referred to as ephebophilia, and its not a disorder. Not to mention the fact that these girls not actually teenagers.

  • Patricia

    Speaking of high heels on little girls, I noticed that Tom Cruise’s little girl wears high heels. She was photographed in them while shopping with her mother, Katie Holmes. THAT’S TOO YOUNG for HIGH HEELS.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I don’t think parents in most cases can counter the effect of the commercialization of youth sexuality, whether on TV or strictly in ads. A teen (girl anyway) would just figure her parents don’t understand the real vectors affecting her life and become detached, whether detached and rejecting the popular forces, or detached and entirely buying into it. Either way, she’d likely think the parents are just so out of it.
    I have no idea what teachers/parents can actually do.

  • WL Fu

    It is not ok for GQ to publish these pictures. It is one thing to publish such pictures with grown women. But another different thing to portray a high school setting in such a provocative way, even if the models are twenty something, because it sends the message that it is ok for grown men to fantasize school-age girls. This is wrong and GQ has crossed the line.

  • http://thedancingschool.com Leone Simkins

    I’m a dance teacher and have been for 35 years. Finally there was a show that I totally LOVED because of the incredible musical arrangements and the story line that dealt with the daily suffering of my typical high and middle school female students. I had hoped that the show was really going to address and help change the the public school decisions to remove all of the arts from school or at the very least, point out that terrible mistake of these decisions and how much joy there is in music, dance and drama.
    I can no longer support the show or even talk about it in class now because I too, am someone that the kids look up to and take their clues from. Just as we never used Brittney Spears music or allow sex-pot costumes to be worn, now Glee, unfortunately, has also sold themselves short. The show was in a powerful position to make some changes in how everyone seems to view teen women. Those who enjoy watching talented and innovated programing and also left with disappointment and now they have joined the ranks of “same ol same ol”. Of course we all know they are actors and people, but they had a given responsibility that, although they may not have asked for it, they had it and screwed it up.

  • Amy

    Kids have been exploring their sexuality forever. I think it’s important for girls to understand their sexuality, feel comfortable with it. People need to realize they should be teaching their children about their sexuality and how to feel about themselves, rather than looking for society to teach things. Society is out there — teach your kids how to deal with what they see rather than trying to control what’s out there! Teach girls that they have choices!

  • Clint

    Why is it that no one ever seems to talk about the damage to men from the mixed messages we are getting from culture? Men in their 20s and 30s have been born and raised in one of the most difficult times in modern history to be a man. We’re supposed to learn from our parents or the examples of the high profile sexual harrassment suits of people like Clarence Thomas and Bill Clinton to behave and treat women respectfully, yet so much of pop culture directed at women also expects men to be the same virle and stereotypical “bad boys” long portrayed in everything from seedy romance novels to; yes the TV show “Glee.”

  • Nick


    Heels + thongs/g-strings for young girls is WRONG.

    On adult women, absolutely, but no otherwise!

  • Valkyrie607

    I agree that saying that these women look like “streetwalkers” or “tarts” is offensive and derogatory towards women who express their sexuality.

  • Ian

    Isn’t is fascinating how every discussion of sexuality and teenagers automatically focuses on the sexuality of girls.

    We could acknowledge that boys face an equal amount of social pressure trying to avoid sexual labels such as “fag” “queer” or “virgin”.
    But then we remember that boys are expected to just suck it up and carry on.

  • Heidi Nepveu

    Why are women and girls being held accountable for this problem when the responsibility for producing this kind of media is men’s magazines and advertising that sexualises women and men?!

  • Brigit

    Why are kids reading GQ anyway? Isn’t GQ meant for adult men? Again, these women weren’t coerced and they and the GQ audience are adults.

  • Tatiana

    This is like Juan Williams’s situation–trying to serve two masters. Disney’s a so-called family show. The GQ spread is a different media outlet for men who are not necessarily focused on normal family values. The actresses should not be permitted to contract with GQ to sell an image antithetical to the Disney “wholesome family show” model (debatable though that may be.

    P.S. Little Miss America shows, which tarten up 5 and 6 year olds are no different. Girls are targets in this society by Day 1. It’s sad, childhood is now a thing of the past.

  • Caroline Alper

    Sexuality is important but children and teenagers should not be sexualized. They’ll have plenty of years to experience their sexuality. Many more than they’ll have to just be kids.
    The actors in the these photos are old enough to be making those choices. However, in pop culture, the person and the character they portray are not distinguished. Furthermore, the photos were set in a high school setting. All of it is a setup to influence young girls to be sexual before they should be.
    I am a huge Glee fan but very disappointed in the choice these actors made.

  • Reuben

    Teenagers are having sex…even when they tell you in a poll they are not and they tell their parents they are not, They are. I did and I lied back then and I lie about it to my children now who tell me they are not having sex. This in a naive discussion for gay males who read GQ and watch glee. Which is not most of us listeners.

  • http://www.lowenfoundation.com/ Flowen

    Thank you Pepper!…very good presentation and sentiments!

    Luisa Tucker: I’m glad you have that job!…good luck with it.

    “Sex sells” has been going on a long time, like income inequality, global warming, deteriorating healthcare, etc…but we are getting to a point where none of these trends are sustainable. Not that they ever were, but now things are happening on such a scale that it has global deleterious consequences. We can deal with it, or it will deal with us.

    In the case of sex sells, you may not be old enough to see it, but we have personality breakdown occurring, and it is not a new normal any feeling person wants.

  • Mari

    Leah, the twenty-four year old caller, had it right.
    The lucrative trend of “pornifying” our children is nothing new.

    For example, 12 years ago I took a job working as a licensing agent for a CD/DVD distributor. Their niche market was porn. I thought I could handle it- open minded person that I am- but when I realized that the “hottest” selling material featured graphic sexual depictions of “real amateur teens” I quit. It was just too exploitative and perverted for me to handle, morally, after all. Those kids could have been my own.

  • http://none Concerend Mom

    “Let’s stop telling our adult males that it’s okay to enjoy the sexualization of teens, and we’ll have to worry less about how teenage boys treat real-life girls.”

    That’s the earlier post from Allison. And she got it right.

  • sonya

    Everyone should go home and have sex, then realize how insignificant this image of an age old fascination is. So what? Adults should stop assuming what teenagers think, do they seriously believe they can protect the innocent minds and curiousity of the “children”. This image is playing into the whole erotic fetish of the “Catholic” school girl. People are going to die (even your innocent, untainted puritanical veiws of your children). People (adults and teens) are going to have sex. No matter what you do. I have guests from Europe and one from Beruit, shocked that this is our Public (Liberal) News midday topic. They had no idea that Americans were so obssesed with sex, and the idea that it exsists. I sm getting the Hell out of here!!!the rest of world just wishes that this photograph was the most important conflict in their world.

  • moreso

    I would not be surprised if someone financially attached to the show GLEE is also attached to NPR. This is just a free 30 minute ad for Glee.

    This conversation is as old as God, and thin young women nearly always look great, and they just can’t help it. Men get turned on by all sorts of things, and they just can’t help it either. I would rather we go the direction of nude, as opposed to the direction of making a burqa more acceptable.

  • Dan Wylie-Sears

    The key distinction is between sexual and sexualized.

    First, let’s deal with the idea that these are women in their twenties. It’s irrelevant. These are images of teenagers, even though they were produced without any actual teenagers being involved. It’s just the same as if it were drawings or photoshopped images of teenagers in sexualized poses.

    The images are sexualized, not an expression of how teenagers are authentically sexual. They won’t help anyone have more or better orgasms, or better sexual relationships. They won’t help teenagers explore gender in their public identity. They won’t help teenagers explore sexual impulses and how those impulses can be acted upon, and weighed against contrary impulses, to lead to fulfilling sexual experience.

    The publishers of GQ and promoters of Glee have a right to create and publish this stuff, but I’m not going to buy it, and I hope my kids never happen to see it. The world would be a better place if the people making and buying this garbage aspired to something better instead.

  • Nick

    Men + Women are “hot-wired” to respond to visual stimuli: physical + photographic.

    How we behave in response to such stimuli is the crucial factor.

  • http://www.lowenfoundation.com/ Flowen

    To those who believe parents can control their children’s experience of the culture: get real!…that’s like trying to have a social tea on the patio during a Cat 5 hurricane!

    For those parents who try to exert that kind of contra-commercial culture influence, it will probably cause more problems for their family.

    Here again, another example how individual interests are in conflict with our crazy commercial corporate consumerism culture.

  • Dan Wylie-Sears

    Scott Lewins writes,

    “As a 33 year-old man who admittedly enjoys looking at attractive members of the opposite sex (anyone who say otherwise is merely lying) …”

    I don’t think so. Most obviously, there are people for whom it’s not the opposite sex that’s the relevant one. But there also people who aren’t very visually oriented, who are turned on more by a sexy voice than a sexy visual image. (Look at some of the male singers who’ve been longed for by their groupies.) There are apparently even a few people who just have very low sex drive, and would rather read a book or play video games or whatever.

  • One More Thing


    So, it is sinful to be born of a woman? Do you hate your mother? how long have you hated women?

    I would think, even if Jesus was a god, sent to understand humanity, and save it, he would want to appreciate a natural birth–life in the womb and all that, and GOd would want him to share a comon sense of humanity, of the woman–man is not complete without woman–you cant have one without the other. And a woman is closer to the idea of god. A woman gives birth–a vessel for life. All the ancient religions revered women and saw them as hol. You could argue Christ did as well. And you should know and understand the the bIble is not legitimite–it is a redacted piece of propaganda designed by sinful men who ruled as inhumane dictators. many christ figures existed before jesus with much of the same theism and doctrine and dogma.

    I thnk you are an athiest my friend–you dont believe in all the gods that came before Jesus and inspired your faith. What do you say to all the non-christians who think you are wrong and blasphemous? Do you think an all-good god would want to create such confusion? And bloodshed?

    I know many christians dont believe or profess that ther god is an all-good god–okay, so than you worship an unreasonable ruthless dictator and want to spend all eternity as his slave. hmm. sounds like the father of all lies has you hoodwinked. maybe you dont worship the just god you think you do?

    people like you frighten me. i see cruel dictators in you, wiling to hurt and destroy in the name of a man made book. Thats very insane.

  • http://Martinathiel.org Martin A. T hiel M.D.

    I am a lifelong believing Catholic father of four grown daughters and one son. My youthful attitude might have been characterized as “male chauvinist”, however, as I was imbued by the nuns and priests who taught me with religious values (yes there was some fear of an all knowing God, who would always know the truth and was impervious to BS I was never successful as a “Lord Byron” type who tended only to his own “needs” while minimizing the responsibilities inherent in the reproductive act. I see the slanders directed at Mary and the doctrine of “The Virgin Birth”. Yet St. Joseph is venerated in the Church as “The ideal father” and that is the ostensible reason for priestly celibacy (he is a spiritual father to all whose love is unselfish (agape). To get to the point: unconditional love at an early (before one even forms conscious memories) is essential for normal development and especially for normal sexual differentiation. When one has a strong ‘present’ father who values them and their femininity she doesn’t need to look for some cheap (creep) substitute. Outlandish bizarre dress or behavior are manifestations of this disorder. True religion is bound up with “family values” and supports those values at the base of healthy individuals, families and societies. These girls are crying for “help!” To say like Aaron Beck that “everyone does it and it’s normal” surrenders any hope of improvement or the ideal. Liberalism and welfare dependent on single motherhood has destroyed not only the black family but also the women victims who fall for that line. My grown daughters are all independent successful women who are great wives and mothers. I had five daughters before I had a son. I then had five grandson’s before I had a granddaughter. She is an absolute princess and loves her jewelry and feminine clothes and toys. Some day we will understand all of this better, but premature womanhood and marketing looks as “talent” to be negotiated and traded is not the way to “woman’s dignity, respect or fulfillment.

  • A.J.

    Pepper gets it; the woman who is afraid of the word “streetwalker” being used is in a bubble! I don’t think she understands the impact certain poses and clothing have on men, men just being men. That impact can be one of the greatest gifts to a woman in the right situation; or ……….

    Regarding the “or”: we are talking about pre-teens and teenagers. When people died at age 40, teens were old. Today, especially with even more stimuli from all fields that need to be processed, kids need even MORE developmental time, not less.

    I agree with the young woman who called & said that this normalization of the hyper-sexualized was at least 10 years in the making. I’d say 15-20 years. I think the 10 years part is where the sexualized became more specifically “hooker” style. The real trouble is, what’s been happening “on the ground” TO THE KIDS THEMSELVES!!!

    Instead of wondering if they are “pretty, smart, and funny”, I’ve heard young teens ask if they are “sexy”? 14-year-olds have been saying for quite some time now that oral sex is not sex, and they engage in it without protection. A 15 year-old girl doesn’t tell her parents about the 19 year-old high school drop out boyfriend who will love her for forever. They have unprotected sex because he said he loved her, altho he did not mention his wife and kids at home. After the young girl recovers from being close to suicide, she dates a boy in her school and they have that non-sex I mentioned. Can you see how easily these kids are emotionally engaged, not just physically being expressive of a “natural right”? Plus, that guy with the wife & kids… well, his wife had a lot of unprotected sex before and during her marriage. Can you see the spread of disease thruout the teen population which SHOULD BE at the height of their healthiness??!!

    MOST of these kids are just not ready for what they’re getting involved with. Many, many girls in the last few years are also expressing themselves in a bi-curious way, only to find out what hostility comes their way from their peers (today’s news about enforcement of Title IX — is it 9? — MIGHT change the worst parts of that situation, but there will still be lesser social consequences that the kids are just not developmentally ready for, nor can they anticipate them). Actually, developmentally, I’d say the biggest deficit the kids have is the ability to anticipate consequences — a scope and scale of consequences they can’t imagine!

    Actually, a lot of today’s parents were raised in the Sixties; they experienced that supposed “freedom” but then, were perhaps married and were out of the “loop” when the time came to learn to be cautious, as a younger generation had to learn to be during the height of AIDS awareness. Additionally, almost all of today’s parents were NOT teenagers before the birth control pill was introduced. Sure, there were couples that had intercourse before marriage before the pill, but many, many fewer. Were the people in this much older cohort sexual beings? Yes! Therein lies the simple solution: heavy-petting, which allows sexual expression without so many of the difficult consequences, and which actually benefits the girls also by teaching the guys great skills that the guys themselves will be pleased to have in their repertoire as they mature. Ask at lot of young women about their boyfriends…. no skills. Husbands? Same sad answer. It’s a shame. Then, also, ask middle-aged men who somehow or other became addicted to pornography who cannot relate to real women. Many of these men are suffering, taking more and more risks to heighten their addiction, and are aware of suffering a loss of human connection that they cannot seem to fix. How many young people are already in the process of becoming addicted to sex, to their own sexuality, and/or to pornography because of the nature and content of our media and digital culture? Apparently sexual addiction is even harder to break than addiction to substances. Does our culture, especially our corporate culture, really want to start kids on this path?

    All this teen-exploitation to sell magazines? To sell advertising space on TV? All this sometimes because people like to insist on their First Amendment rights, as if this is what the Founders had in mind? PLEASE, we are abandoning our kids, and the woman who is clueless is a real problem!

  • Rachel

    Maybe the real problem is that we never get a relief from all this – TV, movies, billboards, texting, internet, marketing, radio, commercials…etc… The world is so noisy it’s almost impossible to think.

  • Ellen Dibble

    moreso, I was kidding (actually) about the burqa.
    I am looking to see what else turns up about premature maturity. Sorry, I mean, kids turning sexually mature in about 5th or 6th grade. Girls anyway — thanks to the estrogen-provocative factors in the synthetics in our world, as I understand it.
    “My daughter with the libido” — as a mother of a five-year-old bewailed to me. But I think in that particular case it was the child’s character, not hormones.
    A father’s valuing of a daughter all the years previous to her adolescence is surely important. But the patio party in a hurricane also does apply. All of commercial culture goes to tell a girl she is inadequate; you are inadequate if you don’t color your hair, shadow your eyes, etc., etc., and this applies for every age a woman crosses through. It all costs money. When I was a teen, there was zero money for such things, and no TV exposure. In a private girls’ school, there wasn’t much to convey those pressures. We wore uniforms. Still there was all this threat about how I might not measure up as a sexual being.
    Read Gone with the Wind, about Scarlett O’Hara, or Jane Austen, about all those 18th century women. The competitive pressures on women as to their appearance go way, way back.
    Jane Eyre and Jane Goodall, as recommendations, are good counterbalances, along with plenty of other literature filled with cautionary tales. I’m thinking of Tess of the D’Urbervilles.
    Actually, I’d favor uniforms for schools; you can have two dark jumpers, knee socks and clodhoppers, a couple blouses and a cardigan. It takes “what shall I wear” off the agenda straight through the school years. Nobody notices what you wear, just how you behave. To be cool is to be fun to be with.
    It works for a lot of us.

  • Dana

    I believe I just heard one of your guests suggest that all the readers of GQ spend the rest of their time trying to pickup 14-15 year old girls so aggressively they start running home.

    That kinda annoys me a whole lot.

  • John

    It is kind of amusing that there is a discussion about an alleged virgin birth and the show played a clip about a character’s claim to have gotten pregnant through activities in a hot tub that stopped short of intercourse.

  • Carolyn

    I think what most disturbs me is not the fact that the women chose to take the pictures but why?

    Lea Michelle has a voice that comes once a generation for Broadway actresses – why take such a talent an debase yourself with such photos – specifically the photo of her with legs spread. WHY? Is it because they believe it will help them professionally? Ms Michelle is often compared to Barbra Streisand – Barbra would never have done such pictures. Why would these women allow their talent to be dimished by such base level photographs?

    As a mom of a preschool aged daughter I am so saddened by the portrayal of young looking girls valued only for their bodies – and if you have daughters you can relate to how difficult it is to find non biased images within the media. Please don’t tell me to keep the tv off – we do. It is impossible to live in this culture and not encounter the sterotypical images every day.

  • Flowen

    This makes me wonder about what seems to have been a trend in recent decades (more commonly for women) to pitch their speaking voices as high as physically possible, so they sound almost like toddlers. Their speech somewhat resembles that of Donald Duck, and can be hard to understand.

    Posted by Nick, on October 26th, 2010 at 11:43 AM

    Yo Nick, I’ve noticed too that as women continue to gain prominence (watch out guys, it’s happening!), the power-seekers of the group, eg Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell, Carly Fiorina, adopt a high-pitched voice and “defiant little girl” persona, which is a turn-on and vote-getter for certain men, and women, alike. It’s also a sign of emotional immaturity. IMHO.

  • Andy

    Right on, Valkyrie607. Of all the examples of sexualizing children On Point could have picked, they go with the Glee photo shoot of a bunch of 20-something TV stars? Ummm, how about preschool beauty pageants? MTV videos? And as Cynthia noted, if your little kids are watching Glee, where the teachers are cheating on each other and the students are getting knocked up, I think they’re already digesting plenty of “adult” content. This is such a manufactured controversy non-issue… zzzz…

  • http://www.lowenfoundation.com/ Flowen

    from @ 1:02

    “My daughter with the libido” — as a mother of a five-year-old bewailed to me. But I think in that particular case it was the child’s character, not hormones.

    Hi Ellen

    I think earlier than adolescence, it is all image fulfillment, behavior to conform, to be peer accepted. What is so absurd is to see 7-10 year old girls, who are virtually incapable of developing a sexual feeling for another person, put on such sexually provocative clothes and airs. It is, in my opinion, purely a mind (ego) thing, not a body feeling at all, which is what makes it like prostitution. The media celebrates “sex without feeling,” which is prostitution.

    I suspect the only hormones involved are those produced as a reaction to stress and anxiety created by such unnatural behavior.

    This is only one of many obvious examples of how our culture is incentivizing ego values and devaluing body and human feelings, leading to an anything goes mentality to everything. The mind can justify anything; in contrast, our humanity and our feelings serves as a guide, or anchor, in determining for ourselves what is “life-positive,” and what is “”life-negative.” Corporate forces are determined to sever our connection with our own feelings, by confusion, denial, and seductive (false) promises. A population that can be manipulated is great for business. You can sell them anything you want.

    It is not religious, it is psycho-biological. I contend that many of society’s great problems are derived from this “mind-body split,” which is terribly widespread, and virtually un-recognized.

  • Clint

    Isn’t is fascinating how every discussion of sexuality and teenagers automatically focuses on the sexuality of girls.

    We could acknowledge that boys face an equal amount of social pressure trying to avoid sexual labels such as “fag” “queer” or “virgin”.
    But then we remember that boys are expected to just suck it up and carry on.

    Posted by Ian, on October 26th, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    –Thank You Ian, precisely to the point I made earlier. Also, when I hear women talking about the unfairness of the proportions of Barbie dolls and how it affects their self image, I can’t help but think back to the ridiculously ripped and steroid-enhanced looking (before the steroid sports era incidently) physiques of the “He-Man” figurines and the WWF wrestling figures we boys played with when we were young. It was either that, men with guns (G.I. Joe), or alien robots that turn into cars or animals that were supposed to be our role models I guess … I mean before Charles Barkley.

    Valkyrie607, your “Jewish Zombie” comment is offensive speech. Whether you want to classify it as hate speech or not, it reeks of the intolerance that society rightly condemns when members of Christianity, Islam, or any other religion display when making such comments. If you wish to deny or disbelieve the existence of God, that is your right, but God or no God, your comments are hypocrisy and you cannot wish to influence anyone, religious or otherwise, by such remarks or attitudes.

  • Valkyrie607

    Clint, you can interpret my description of Jesus, post- crucifixion, as a “Jewish zombie” as hate speech all you want. But you calling it hate speech doesn’t make it hate speech. It’s just speech that’s not deferential enough, for your tastes, to a particular belief system. When I call Jesus a Jewish zombie, I am making fun of Christians and Christianity. Mocking is not hate speech. It’s disrespectful, but it’s not hate speech.

    Here’s an example of hate speech, for your edification: “Gays are sinful perverts whom God rejects. They don’t deserve to live openly in society.” Here’s another example of hate speech: “Christians are horrible hypocrites who condone violence against women and pedophilia. They should be barred from holding office.”

    Are we clear? Hate speech dehumanizes a group of people and makes it more acceptable to discriminate against them or commit violence against them. Mocking doesn’t do that – it merely highlights absurdity where it already exists. Mocking =/= hate speech. Stating my opinion that the Christian belief system is, like other religious belief systems, essentially absurd and useless is not hate speech.

  • John

    Mocking is not hate speech; it is a valid form of criticism. However, Valkyrie607′s post was extremely offensive to the oppressed members of the zombie community.

  • Sara

    While listening to the show in my car today, I thought, “wow, these pictures must be pretty bad!” But when I looked them up, I was rather unimpressed. The underwear shots were no worse than a bathing suit — SI swimsuit issue is much worse. The female models don’t even look like teenagers. And, frankly, the photos aren’t all that good.

    That said, I still agree that many media outlets push the limits with sexuality, but that’s bc it sells. I wish more would remember that other things (humor, wit, creativity, inspiration) sell, too. Like the beer commercial making fun of the movie-based closet — really got our attention bc we were laughing so hard … and not a scantily clad female in sight.

    And finally, as the mother of 2 young boys, I wonder about teaching them to be gentlemen, respectful of all people, but esp young ladies. I wish more people would discuss that issue.

  • Mark

    Turn your TV off and your life will be much better. You owe it to your children. If you let them watch too much TV, or listen to pop music, such as Kesha or Katy Perry, they, and consequently you, will pay a price. it’s that simple.

    Let them read. Let them listen to classical, jazz. Encourage music lessons and art and reading. We do this and our girls are very happy. Keep them busy. Know who their friends are. Know what they watch, look at and listen to and object when necessary.

    Kids are drawn to this stuff like a moth to flame. If left un-checked, it will greatly influence them.

  • Mark

    have daughters and you will all change your tune quickly.

  • Clint

    Valkyrie607, I believe what I said is that your comment was offensive speech. That is, in fact, exactly what I said since I, and everyone else can read it just a few comments back. I also said that it “reeks of the intolerance” that is rightly condemned by society when used by anyone regardless of their religious or non-religious affiliation.

    And for the record, the two examples you provided of actual hate speech are also good examples of condemnable remarks. I think Christians who make such intollerant remarks about homosexuals or protect priests who commit acts of pedophilia are not living by the values of the one they claim as a savior.

    Mocking is not necessarily hate speech either, but it certainly can be in the case of a racist, sexist, or homophobic joke. In any case, it rarely (for example in high satire or parody) does much to further someones legitimate argument against a law, policy, or position.

  • Clint

    “Turn your TV off and your life will be much better. You owe it to your children.”

    “Let them read. Let them listen to classical, jazz. Encourage music lessons and art and reading.”

    – Well said Mark, Kudos.

  • justanother

    ***There is no god. Natural disasters are caused by nature, not because parents stopped spanking their children. If a god had the power to prevent a disaster and doesn’t deign to help as he or she felt slighted, that god is not worthy of worship.***

    Agree! Besides why even “worship” god, just because god created everything? Think about it, if god didn’t create everything, nothing would exist, when there’s no existence, there’ll won’t be anything worshipping needed, right?

    I’m not saying there’s no creators, I just don’t buy into the gods from all religions.

  • greeneyespurplesocks

    I think this is so horrible whats happening to our world. I am 13 years old, and I think it is stuff like this (magazines, tv shows, movies, ect.) that makes people like my friends think that its ok to have sex and that its “no big deal”. I hate knowing that people my age and some of my friends are having sex and doing other stupid stuff like drinking and drugs. I also think it is unfair to have people saying that no teenagers know the affects of their actions. I never wear anything my mother doesnt aprove of, because I would never want to look like a slut. I am not saying I am the perfect child, I just know what these things can do. My best friend since kindergarten has been wearing heavy makeup and revealing clothes for the past two or three years. Boys give her attention based of these things, and I am afraid they never see her as a person, but an object or something easy to score with. I almost pity her because she only cares avout appereances and social status, not how she does in school, how she is as a person or making herself, and not other people happy. I think that until we teach girls my age to love themselves for who they are, and not teach them about looking hot and making guys happy, this will continue to be an issue for a long long time.

  • KJM18

    As a 32 year old woman, I can tell you that images like this influence me and every other female I have ever encountered in life. If you believe it doesn’t affect young teenagers, college girls, or older girls, you’re absolutely wrong. In the US, we are constantly presented with the idea that blatant sexuality is the ultimate level of attractiveness. I think intelligent women with a certain about of confidence understand that sexual attraction works on a much deeper level. I was disappointed to see this shoot not only because it was created by Terry Richardson who is a suspected sexual predator, but also because the show Glee is very entertaining and well-written. This photo shoot sort of took all the Lea and Diana creativity and talent and sacrificed it for a little bit of cheap attention. They are better than that and they sold out much too soon. The mystery is gone and they are less attractive now than ever.

  • Jpd2

    I agree with KJM18 wholeheartedly. This is where sexual freedom has landed us, folks. Let’s remember Noel Coward’s (On-Points subject last week) behavior – DISCREET!!!! it’s much more attractive. I hope the screenwriters/directors will emulate Noel Coward’s genius in the future. One more thing, I am more curious about the following statistic rather than what percentage of teenagers have sex – How many mothers and fathers out there have let their unmarried teenagers/young twenty-somethings sleep with their girl/boyfriend in their own house?

  • Valkyrie607

    Clint, I see you are walking back your claim that what I said was hate speech. Since that was an unsupportable claim, that’s a wise thing to do.

    What I said was offensive – to you. You found it offensive because it was disrespectful and mocking towards a belief system you hold dear. But that is the essential distinction: I try my utmost to avoid hate speech by mocking beliefs rather than people. It’s just that many (most) people identify closely with the beliefs that they hold, and interpret criticism and attacks on their belief system as criticism and attacks against themselves personally.

    I’m used to religious people being offended by my remarks, since I don’t respect their belief systems.

  • Valkyrie607

    Hm, I see you were right, Clint, in that you didn’t actually say I was engaging in hate speech. A little too fast reading on my part. Apologies.

    It was a good distinction to make though. If my comments “reek of intolerance,” then good: I am indeed intolerant of religion. I see no benefits from religion (like communal togetherness, a sense of awe & wonder) that can’t be gotten via secular means, bypassing the need to train your brain to dismiss the evidence of its own eyes and believe in things that are transparently false. I’m intolerant of belief systems that hamper people’s ability to accurately perceive and live in reality.

  • Joseph

    First I have to say that while the top photo does not look all that worthy of controversy to me, the bottom photo (woman at the locker licking a lollipop) looks just like the image one would find on the cover of a porn video with a title like “Naughty High School C*********s,” or something similar. I confess that I have never seen Glee, I don’t watch much T.V. at all, but I understand that its viewing demographic is very young, high school age and much younger. Yes there is nothing new about actors in their 20s playing high school age characters. And yes there is nothing new or wrong about actors or models in their 20s posing for such images. But I do understand people objecting to the combination of the images with a deliberate tie in to the T.V. show. Especially now that the Internet makes these images easily viewable by very young viewers without any parental control or knowledge.

  • Aly Whitman

    I was going to comment to say that I think people are over-reacting. I grew up with Brittany Spears as a pre-teen and a teen, and I can tell you she was not my role model. Luckily I had parents who inspired my to look for other traits in a role model like intelligence and creativity.

    I changed my mind, however, when the women came on to talk about teen-age girls who get harassed on the street. I had the same experience. I was first hit on when I was 12 and was whistled at every day after. I would not say I dressed particularly provocatively. That kind of behavior should not be encouraged in men.

  • John

    Sigh… Does anyone else feel that this is yet another instance of Tom taking an issue that could be discussed intelligently, rationally, and in a balanced manner… and blowing it out of proportion. I feel that his personal opinions are pretty blatant during his interviews, which are intended to be a balanced discourse. I appreciate his informality but feel alienated by his inflammatory tactics. This isn’t ‘Fox’, we are an intelligent and informed audience. Please try and treat us as such in the future.

  • Carol Drewes

    These pictures are no better or worse than thousands that appear in magazines and on TV and in films on a daily–hourly–basis. Have we over-sexualized young women? Yes. Is this news? No. Is Glee to blame? No. If these photos had appeared in a teen magazine I would have a different opinion but I think you’re making a big deal out of nothing–they are in GQ, c’mon. What’s next, expecting Maxim and Playboy to tone it down? Not gonna happen.

    I truly do not understand anyone who calls Glee, last year or this year, “wholesome family entertainment”. It has never been goody-two-shoes, squeaky clean–which is why I like it, it’s honest. For the record I LOVE the show–it speaks to so many current issues and also reminds me of so many dramas that were lived through by my high school swing choir and musical casts in the 70s–but it is not something I would watch with my 14 year old without planning on lots of pausing of the hulu and lots of discussion.

    Ozzie and Harriet and Leave It To Beaver and even Mary Tyler Moore can stay good and buried as far as I am concerned–talk about setting up false expectations, if those shows didn’t stick it to women in the worst way, I don’t know what did!! I grew up thinking I had to keep the house perfect, smile all the time, and have my hair and makeup done before I left my bedroom each morning–what kind of goals and roles for women are those? Sexuality as portrayed on Glee at least is real–fraught with peril, actually. No, I don’t want my kid dressing like Britney Spears, but if she wants to try I will have a discussion with her about the messages she’s sending. What’s missing from the blame game here is the parents. We all have the choice to monitor what our kids take in, and discuss it with them when it’s rampant and impossible to avoid. Too many people just don’t bother.

    I want to point out that there was a conversation in a recent episode of Glee where Cory Montheith’s character told Lea Michelle’s character (sorry for mangling those names) that he liked it better when she dressed more conservatively. And the show did one helluva job of showing what the consequences of sex can be for young women–Quinn got pregnant and even though she stayed healthy and was able to give her baby up for adoption, she will carry the loss of her child with her for life.

  • John

    And back on the topic… These are adult women who pay taxes and are entitled their first amendment right to the freedom of speech and expression. We are a free and capitalistic society – these women have right to make their own decisions, which are only relevant if there is a market demand for these images. Any discussion of their moral hazard is a matter of opinion and subject to individual interpretation. The fact is that any attempt to limit the women’s opportunity is akin to censorship. It would be better to proactively include a ‘no soft-porn’ clause in their contracts, rather than try to influence their actions post-facto.

  • Leah

    Firstly, I don’t find the pictures really out there, two adult women posing for titillating pictures is really a drop in the vast ocean of problems facing children. But the whole topic of the sexualization of children (and particularly girls) always seems a little backward. Why is it that girls and women always have to be on the alert? Men are never told that they should behave themselves, and young boys learn that it’s ok to treat women this way.

  • Brett

    It seems that those who consider “Jewish zombie” constitutes hate speech would have to either be zombies themselves who have an anti-semitic streak or concerned non-zombies who have an anti-semitic streak, or who simply wish zombies would have a more euphemistic term for their ilk (who have an egalitarian view and believe the term “zombie” is an exclusionary, derogatory one). I, personally, think all people, both living and undead, deserve respect. So I see nothing hateful in the term.

  • Eve

    It seems to me that what we are seeing here is one aspect of how mainstream culture is being devoured by commercial advertising and media. There is a convergence between the rise of super intense marketing to kids (who will pressure parents to buy buy buy), and the ubiquitous presence of celebrities in mass media which is ever more in our faces, especially with internet/social media. So the celebs up their sexual explicitness because it sells, the media eats it up, marketers promote it, the kids want to emulate it…it just keeps going.

    I don’t condemn those girls from posing for GQ… they are adults & I’m sure the amount of $$ they were offered was very attractive. Men fantasizing about sex with teens isn’t the problem. But your commentator who is upset with saying that young girls are being sold on dressing like hookers is being so politically correct that she sounds stupid. Isn’t it obvious? “Bratz” dolls aimed at the 5 to 10 year old set really don’t look like Mme. Alexanders, they looks like sluts. Saying someone is dressed like a slut doesn’t imply that women’s sexuality is bad. It means she is dressing in a way that plays up her female traits and is most likely to attract male sexual interest. There is a gray area regarding at what age it’s appropriate for a teenager to start to do this… what it is really upsetting is that it’s reached down to middle school and below. I don’t know how to stop it — parents definitely have a lot of work to do at home. Probably there is also something here about kids maturing earlier than ever (physically), that has to do with pollution of foods and the environment. Oy!

  • justanother

    ***And finally, as the mother of 2 young boys, I wonder about teaching them to be gentlemen, respectful of all people, but esp young ladies. I wish more people would discuss that issue.***

    I applaud for discussion on raising our kids to respect, not only for others, but also ourselves, that goes side by side.

    There are plenty other cultures measure success by health, but American’s capitalism has promoted this idea of success to its height. People would do anything for money and success. It is not about our instinct of basic survival anymore, it is all about greed, the more we have, the more we want, all dignity out the window.

  • Lara

    The entertainment industry isn’t responsible for the behavior or values of your children, dear baby boomers. Put away your picket signs and try focusing just on the results of your own actions and your own responsibilities. You’ll be surprised how much of an effect your relentless, loveless, self-righteous ranting about everything and anything you choose to open your mouths about has had on generations of young people.

  • http://tombstone001.blogspot.com MOHAMMED N. RAZAVI

    Can we understand this extra attention to sex may be hampering the real maturity. Sexuallization of kids may be interfering with their studies. Teen sex and pregnancy could be a cause of child neglect and even abuse? Staying up late, sleepy in class, bad spending habbits, sexting,partner abuse by the young, you name it. All this psycho babble about they will do it, and they have the right crap, why don’t the grown up grow up and see the train at the end of the tunnel.



  • http://victorials.wordpress.com Victoria

    1. Brittney Spears is a mess

    2. re: “Tart”: if you think that men on the street think anything but something in that category when they see scantily clad females, you are very naive, and I’d suggest don’t know enough about male culture.

    3. Half the women I know in their 30s don’t know how to deal with men, how should 12 year olds cope?

    4. It’s on parents to counter tv shows? Kids don’t look at GQ? What world are you living in?

    5. Balking at Actors being role models? We interview more actors re: world politics than intellectuals (not Tom, though!), so since when is this an anomaly?

    If we don’t look out for our children, our girls and our boys, if we titillate their/our lowest instincts, that’s what we will get in return.

    Not to mention: is this all we can do? Sex? What happened to Art? To Music? To Philosophy? Even just Poetry????
    Naked Flesh.
    Wow, what a life.

  • John

    Not to mention: is this all we can do? Sex? What happened to Art? To Music? To Philosophy? Even just Poetry????

    – Art, music and poetry have always been full of sex.

  • justanother

    ***The entertainment industry isn’t responsible for the behavior or values of your children, dear baby boomers. Put away your picket signs and try focusing just on the results of your own actions and your own responsibilities. You’ll be surprised how much of an effect your relentless, loveless, self-righteous ranting about everything and anything you choose to open your mouths about has had on generations of young people. *** — Posted by Lara, on October 26th, 2010 at 11:55 PM

    More or less, we are the products of our environment. Most people are trying to make it thru the day just to put food on the table, there’s not much time for contemplating self awareness or cultivating wisdom.

    To claim the entertainment industry “isn’t responsible” is over simplifying the issue, vise versa, to blame everything on the entertainment industry.

    • Powerclan_crystellshann

      the entertainment industry also is responsible for this because that is their show…and everybody can see and hear all the things they want to show us… its like telling people you will do this because they used famous celebrities where people love and like to imitate…

  • http://www.onpointradio.org/about-on-point/john-wihbey John Wihbey

    A note from the On Point staff: thanks for everyone’s participation here. We feel obligated to monitor threads where emotions run high, and since we can’t monitor them indefinitely — our limited staff resources must be directed toward new shows — we will close some of these threads the next day. However, please join us for today’s shows!

  • guest

    Not a very good message for kids, especially when my little cousins are watching and looking up to this show..I understand that these actors are actually older than high school students, but if you choose to work for a show like this then i think it should be a moral decision not to pose in your underwear when you know the little kids that look up to you will see this.

Aug 21, 2014
In this November 2012, file photo, posted on the website freejamesfoley.org, shows American journalist James Foley while covering the civil war in Aleppo, Syria. In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded Foley — and are threatening to kill another hostage, U.S. officials say. (AP)

An American is beheaded. We’ll look at the ferocity of ISIS, and what to do about it.

Aug 21, 2014
Jen Joyce, a community manager for the Uber rideshare service, works on a laptop before a meeting of the Seattle City Council, Monday, March 17, 2014, at City Hall in Seattle. (AP)

We’ll look at workers trying to live and make a living in the age of TaskRabbit and computer-driven work schedules.

Aug 20, 2014
In this Oct. 21, 2013 file photo, a monarch butterfly lands on a confetti lantana plant in San Antonio. A half-century ago Monarch butterflies, tired, hungry and bursting to lay eggs, found plenty of nourishment flying across Texas. Native white-flowering balls of antelope milkweed covered grasslands, growing alongside nectar-filled wildflowers. But now, these orange-and-black winged butterflies find mostly buildings, manicured lawns and toxic, pesticide-filled plants. (AP)

This year’s monarch butterfly migration is the smallest ever recorded. We’ll ask why. It’s a big story. Plus: how climate change is creating new hybridized species.

Aug 20, 2014
A man holds his hands up in the street after a standoff with police Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, during a protest for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo. (AP)

A deep read on Ferguson, Missouri and what we’re seeing about race, class, hope and fear in America.

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