Missteps and Misconceptions



High school has a diverse playground. Some of us were pushed around, some of us were too cool for school, a lot of us fit somewhere in the middle, and some of us felt like we didn’t fit anywhere at all. Either way, we learned a lot.

There is a TV show called Glee that focuses on the hard reality of what being “different” is like in high school. You name it, a character is living it or has faced it…poverty, obesity, homosexuality, disabilities, eating disorders and simply being “uncool.” This is one of my favorite shows, it is entertaining but also sends a strong message of acceptance. However, last night, Glee missed the mark for one character that is very important to me…the adorable, blond cheerleader Becky, who also happens to have Down syndrome.

Up to this point, Glee has done a wonderful job with Becky’s character. She is funny and smart, and not afraid to speak her mind. She is one tough cookie, but she also has an adorableness about her that while watching the show, you’ll forgive her just about anything.

Last night, Becky had a part where she stood up, twirled around and said she was a hot piece of ass. I physically cringed. As I mentioned, Becky is an outgoing character, and speaks her mind, so the fact that she twirled around and made a strong comment is not beyond her. But this comment and action was degrading. Maybe I’m hypersensitive to how people with Ds are perceived, but we have come too far for these missteps. Too many people are unfamiliar with Down syndrome, and awareness is imperative to the acceptance and success of our children. There is simply no room for error on a nationally syndicated show.

Glee has done too many things right for Becky’s character, and too many things right for acceptance of diversity, for me not to forgive them this misstep. However, if this is the direction Becky’s character starts to go, I will give the producers the respect of a letter(or ten) from a mom in the real world.

In this letter, I will let the producers of Glee know that every time our children with Down syndrome meet someone, they have to overcome a countless number of misconceptions. We don’t need any more added to the list. We parents are out there advocating for our kids every day, so that people will look at our children with understanding and give them a fair shot. So yes, maybe I am hypersensitive to this one action, but I am in the trenches, I see and hear misconceptions on an all too regular basis. I am grateful for the many misconceptions that have already been overcome, and the fact that my son faces a very bright future. I intend to keep that progress moving in a forward direction. So thank you, Glee, for your wonderful work to this point. But know that if I see Becky digress, you will hear from me and I hope you are as accepting of my letter as you are in your script writing.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kodiak My Little Grizzly
    Jan 25, 2013 @ 13:01:24



  2. Little Bird's Dad
    Feb 09, 2013 @ 01:31:18

    I don’t watch the show, so I was going to ask a question.

    If it had been another female character, would the comment still have been degrading? Reason I ask is cuz find most TV shows are horribly degrading in their portrayal of most young women.

    I can think of only one show where a young woman is portrayed as an intelligent and poised person, ( but still is presented as undesirable). The rest stereotype young women as ditzy blondes, promiscuous and shallow sex symbols, etc.

    Like I said, I don’t watch the show, but it seems ironic that the producers seem to have accepted the character’s differences enough to degrade her the same as they do most young women.

    Our oldest is 13, and its hard to find positive role models for her in TV shows.

    Love your blog … Hope I’m half as cool a parent to my 11 week old with DS as you are with your son!



    • Christie
      Feb 09, 2013 @ 11:51:18

      Hi LBD,
      First of all, please give your little bird a big, huge hug from me!!!

      Interesting, my husband brought up the same point after reading this blog, and I completely agree with both of you. Its degrading to anyone. Its sad that in trying to put her on the same playing ground as the other girls, this is how they chose to do it.

      My hat goes off to you in the throws of raising a 13 year old daughter. My twin girls are only 7, and I already disapprove of once innocent shows like Bugs Bunny that have been “updated” and his girlfriend is simply awful. Its so sad to me that a show I loved growing up, I will now not let my children watch unless they are reruns of the original version. I understand why some parents do not have cable TV.

      Thanks so much for sharing your comments and thoughts LBD!



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