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“I Kissed a Girl” – How Glee Normalised Sexuality

In contemporary society, sexuality has become a topical subject amongst the younger generation, as we have become more accepting of the LGBTQI+ community. This is evident in the ground-breaking FOX TV series, Glee which follows the William McKinley High Schools’ glee club, known as the New Directions, as they compete as a show choir around the US. The show focuses on social issues like sexuality and the breakdown of stereotypes through the relationships between characters that are looked up to by younger audiences.

For years, both Hollywood and society have labelled lesbian couples as being rough, masculine, butch, and man-hating. Despite this, by following a variety of different romantic relationships in William McKinley High School, Glee has managed to break away from these sexuality stereotypes. This is evident in the relationship between two of the main characters; Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera) and Brittany S. Pierce (Heather Morris).


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A post shared by Heather Morris (@heatherrelizabethh)

“I Kissed a Girl” (season 3, episode 7) which premiered back on November 29th, 2011, displayed a turning point in their relationship as Santana is forced to come out as a lesbian. In the previous episode, Santana is suspended for slapping Finn (Corey Monteith) after he outed her in front of the student body. Feeling terrible for forcing Santana to come out to her conservative family, Finn comes up with an assignment for the Glee club known as Lady Music Week. They all perform songs written by girls, about girls, to show Santana that they all support her love for Brittany and that they all love her for who she is. Throughout the episode, Santana learns how important it is to love herself and to be proud of the relationship she has with Brittany.

“I Kissed a Girl” is a crucial episode as it is one of many in Glee that focuses on sexuality, but it stands out from the rest as it centres specifically around breaking down these stereotypes of the LGBTQI+ community that Hollywood depicted. It shows that women who identify as lesbian and bisexual don’t all have short hair and dress in men’s clothing, but can look the same as straight women; with long hair and being feminine.

Santana and Brittany are both popular and feminine teenage girls who are part of the school’s cheerleading team, the Cheerios, with Santana being one of the co-captains. BBC has stated how Santana is a character that the younger audience looks up to, as many say her storyline has had a positive impact on their self-acceptance.


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The character of Santana is shown to be very strong-minded, opinionated and she doesn’t care what people think about her. She is seen as a role model by many as she demonstrates how people don’t need to conform to these stereotypes which were once obtained. Santana continues to show this by coming out in this episode, and not hiding who she is as a person. By having Santana realise how normal it is to have these feelings, it helps to normalise lesbianism for its audiences.

Throughout the episode, it becomes clear that everyone at school is accepting of Santana and Brittany’s relationship. This displays to the audience that it is okay to not be straight and that being part of the LGBTQI+ community is normal. However, there’s one person who doesn’t approve: Santana’s grandma, Alma Lopez (Ivonne Coll). In the scene where Santana comes out to her grandma and is rejected by her, it is seen how religion plays a major factor in the acceptance of LGBTQI+ youth.

Santana pleads to her grandma that she is the same person that she was a minute ago, highlighting how ‘coming out’ doesn’t change who you are as a person. Although Santana is left crying alone in her grandma’s kitchen, it is evident that she must accept her grandma’s religious views, and she is thankful to have the support of her parents and friends as they realise how her love for Brittany is normal.

While “I Kissed a Girl” is not Glee’s most popular episode (boasting a 8.4 on IMDb), I believe it is one of the most inspiring as it has helped shape the new, normalised perception of sexuality in modern society.


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Recent Comments


RIP Naya Rivera-you helped so many young people realise their worth and enforced self acceptance.

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