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Glee Under Fire For Misrepresenting Adoption

Will a PSA be able to undo Glee's misinformation about adoption?

One of the plots on the super-successful musical teen drama Glee revolves around head cheerleader Quinn’s unwanted pregnancy and the subsequent adoption of her baby by Rachel’s birth mother, Shelby. A woman who gave up Rachel when she herself was an unwed too-young mother and then spurned her birth daughter’s attempts to reconnect later when she suddenly reappeared in Rachel’s life.

Confused?

Well, it gets more confusing, as Jezebel explains, because the newest plot twist of Quinn vowing to get her baby back from the adoptive mother has adoption activists in an uproar. The show has jumped from being dramatic to just plain foolish and irresponsible in its misrepresentation of the reality of adoption.

If Glee always skewed to the ridiculous, it would be one matter, but the show has earnestly attempted to deal with issues of class, bullying, weight, and homophobia. Because of its past success in handling serious issues, it is more difficult to reconcile the fact that it has taken liberties with the legal issues surrounding adoption, especially those that play on the fears of adoptive parents.

According to the petitioner, Amber Austin, on Change.Org, “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 give the inaccurate impression that adoption is a temporary solution, not a permanent one.”

The petition is asking Glee and Fox to produce a public service announcement that will educate its audience as to what is true and untrue and explain “how adoption really works.”

Do you think a PSA is good enough? Personally, I’d like to see a responsible adult on the show have a sit-down with Quinn and talk to her about the reality of her situation: there may be options to be part of the baby’s life, but she gave up all her rights to be a mother to her baby when she signed the adoption papers. Allowing weeks of Quinn’s delusions to play out on screen without informing its audience of the situation’s inaccuracies is unfair to the many people who have worked to make adoption an acceptable alternative for couples and the women who give their babies up.

Photo Credit: Fox Studios

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