Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Blame It On My Insecurities.

I need to say something about last night's Glee episode, as it addressed a social issue I'm quite passionate about: the glorification of excessive alcohol consumption in our culture, particularly its depiction as a rite of passage for teenagers.

I think that everyone is going to view this episode differently based on their views of adolescent drinking, binge drinking, and alcohol in general. I personally have a lot of opinions on both sides of this debate, but for now, I'm going to stick with my reactions to the way the episode presented the issue.

I didn't drink in high school, and it was something I was really insecure about then. I’m 24 now, and I still don’t drink very heavily. I’ve come to feel comfortable with my choices and respect that others may approach alcohol differently as they grow up (and as adults), but my insecurities still exist. Thus, seeing the Glee club and teachers, ahem, experimenting with alcohol, as entertaining as it was, brought out a lot of those feelings within me that I’m less of a person, or haven’t lived because I don’t drink heavily, and I’m not happy about that. Even though the episode showed the consequences of excessive drinking in a refreshing way, this is a show that supposedly speaks to viewers who have felt outcast within the high school experience and the world-at-large, and I can't deny that it made me feel insecure this week. I realize this is just a television show, yet I’m still really relieved to be watching it in my twenties, post-college rather than in high school or college.


  1. I didn't drink in high school either - well I did when I turned 19 (the legal drinking age in my province) - also, yes, I was in high school when I was 19 because up until the grade below me, there was a 5th year of high school.

    I always hated how the "cool kids" would drink in the park and brag about how drunk they got. I always thought they were lame.

  2. Allison,
    Thanks for sharing your story. It's always nice to know I wasn't the only one who didn't drink in high school/underage. So glad the blogosphere is introducing me to people who share my viewpoints and experiences.

  3. Sarah, to this day I've never had a drink, and if I feel badly about anything in my life, it certainly isn't that! My friends in high school didn't drink, and most of my friends now don't either--the only "living" we've missed out on is hangovers, morning after regrets, and possibly a DUI or two, none of which qualify as necessary rites of passage in my book. We still had/have lots of crazy, carefree times and the great thing is, we actually remember them. :) Honestly, I've never understood the appeal in losing control of one's faculties and inhibitions. Those things are there for a reason, right?

    You should never feel badly about decisions like that, and I don't think most people would fault you for being careful. Glee, unfortunately, has a tendency to imply that teenagers have no choice in how they behave (it's "unrealistic" not to drink, and evidently every girl besides Quinn and Rachel puts out). I would like the writers to be more thoughtful about how they portray these issues, because you're right; they do tend to make kids who choose to be "good" look like stick-in-the-mud squares, which is NOT okay and certainly NOT true.

  4. Kat,
    Thank you for your support and amen! Even someone I thought would understand this viewpoint about the show's portrayal of teens who don't drink, hook up etc. did not convey that they did or seem to mind it at all. I'm glad you understand! I definitely think it is an issue that needs to be addressed, especially because there are so many kids growing up who look up to these characters, and even more so because these characters are supposedly "realistic" depictions of teenagers (as opposed to the characters on The O.C. and Gossip Girl.)
    I wrote a follow up piece on Tumblr, which you might find interesting:

  5. I've never had a drink of alcohol (that wasn't accidental). I'm 29. I'm not religious, or healthy, or anything. I'm just a freak.

  6. Bret - You're not a freak! As you can see from the comments above there's a lot of us who don't drink ever/often. I personally think we're the smart ones. Good to hear from you!