Shocker: Glee Unrealistically Portrays Adoption. Can You Believe It?
I’m sure you’re all familiar with that show Glee. It’s basically a documentary of what actual high school life is like for a typical teenager. You remember, of course, your high school years where everyone broke into choreographed song on cue and interactions were so dramatic that daytime soap operas were boring in comparison? Yeah, that Glee.
Well, it turns out that this totally realistic, documentary-like show has done the unthinkable: they’ve portrayed something in an unrealistic fashion. I know! Can you believe it?
And some people are none-too-happy about it.
Here’s the background. And forgive me, but I’d rather gouge my eyeballs out than watch the very popular show for even 30 seconds. (I got enough musical theater in me during my musical theater years to last a lifetime …)
OK, so a major plotline involves 17-year-old Quinn scheming to get back the baby she put up for adoption however long ago. Because, you know, that’s how these things work with adoption, right? But some people think that people will take this plotline even more seriously than (insert whatever other ridiculous plotline is going on right now about unrequited love between a star football player with debilitating psoriasis and an adult cop going undercover as a transgendered, musically deficient student).
So they’ve started a petition to combat these horrible totally realistic-sounding messages about adoption. A portion:
…the Glee storyline also unfortunately perpetuates myths about adoption that harm adopted children, adoptive parents, and birth parents alike.
In the current story line, Quinn, a teen mother who placed her daughter for adoption, is actively (and with malice) trying to “get my daughter back.” And, Rachel, an adopted child, deals with the sudden reappearance of her birth mother. In real, legitimate adoptions, a birth mother cannot simply take a child away from their family or pop back into a child’s life, however this is one of most pervasive and harmful myths about adoption. Furthermore, most adoptions in the US are open to some extent, so these dramatic scenes with birthmothers never take place because a relationship exists from the start.
For adopted children, the show raises the fear that they may be taken away from their adopted families. And for adoptive parents and birth mothers, the show creates confusion about the nature of adoption – confusion and mistruths that proponents of adoption constantly work to dispel. And for young women facing unplanned pregnancies, many of whom are in Glee’s target demographic, the show may givethe inaccurate impression that adoption is a temporary solution, not a permanent one.
As fans of the show, and people who care about adopted children and their families, we ask that Glee and Fox produce a Public Service Announcement that helps to separate fact from fiction about adoption, and points viewers to resources for finding out more about how adoption really works.
OK, I get it. The plotline isn’t accurate and could give people a false impression of life. So could the rest of the show. The solution to fiction is … there is no solution. It’s fiction. You learn to deal with it. And I’m writing this as a woman who is navigating the adoption process and is freaking out about everything that could go wrong. Seriously, though, if people don’t realize that Glee is total fiction, we have much worse problems than this petition addresses.