Honors Program


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Kennedy, Clare Frances. "New Directions" in Teenage Sexuality Representation: Teenage Pregnancy in Fox's Glee. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 2022.


Copyright Clare Frances Kennedy 2022.


This essay explores the first season of Fox’s Glee (2009-2015), which centers teen sexuality and teenage pregnancy narratives. Glee’s first season, contextualized by the beginning of Barack Obama’s presidency, challenges abstinence-only sexual education and its efficacy. Despite this challenge to the previous abstinence rhetoric of the Bush era, Glee’s approach to this critique underwrites its seemingly feminist approach to teenage sexuality by constructing flat representations of characters marginalized on the basis of race, and positioning masculinity as a primary concern of teenage sexuality discourse. Ultimately, Glee’s negotiation of changing sociopolitical tides and lingering conservatism of the Bush era limits its critique of abstinence rhetoric.