I'm a sewing enthusiast in Beacon, New York, with a love of all things retro. This site is all about tutorials, tips, inspiration, and lots of spirited discussion about sewing as it relates to fashion history, pop culture, body image, and gender. My first book, Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing, is now out from STC Craft/Melanie Falick Books! Also look for my line "Patterns by Gertie" from Butterick.
Let me start by saying that I loved tonight's episode of Glee so hard. Jeff was working late, and he arrived home at the end of the episode to find me sobbing on the couch trying to explain why Lady Gaga's "Pokerface" performed as a ballad by Lea Michele and Idina Menzel had me positively weeping. So many other good moments too: Finn sticking up for Kurt while dressed in a red latex gown, Puck singing "Beth" (oh, the waterworks!), and the girls and Kurt (and Santana!) killing it on "Bad Romance." Oh, Glee! After many weeks of being embarrassed that I like you, you came back strong tonight. But there is one little moment that we need to discuss.
So, Rachel walked into rehearsal all Gaga-fied, but her get-up was lame. It basically involved stuffed animals stuck haphazardly onto her dress. For the record, I personally didn't think it was so bad. She was working it with the red pumps. And also, it facilitated Kurt's awesome line, "We have a jumper!" when a stuffed froggy fell off. Anyway, her excuse for the supposed lameness? "My dads don't sew."
But it got worse. Rachel went to find her bio mom (played by Idina Menzel), while wearing a huge cape that was way more of a mistake that the Gaga outfit, and once again gave the sob story about her dads' lack of sewing ability, and then whined: "I really need a mom right now." Did anyone else find this a tad troubling?
On one hand, it does gel with my childhood experience. Not the two dads part, but the having a mom who sews part. I was theatrically inclined myself, and my poor mother was sweet enough to make dozens of costumes. (Or was it hundreds, Mom? Bye Bye Birdie? The King and I? Oy!) But on the other hand, I sometimes feel that Glee gave Rachel two dads as a kind of punchline. After all, we've never met them and this is a show where many of the other character's parents have supporting roles. And then to add insult to injury, they kind of throw the dads under the bus just because they can't sew. (Just like a man to not be able to sew! God!)
Sure, maybe Rachel needed a mom right then. But because she needed someone to sew for her? Humph. Way to really cement that gender role! Especially in the midst of a show that had a really nice storyline about combatting stereotypes and homophobia.
Now, people tell me I overthink things a lot, and this could potentially be one of those moments. I'm not really terribly outraged by it. And there was a sweet moment when Rachel came into a subsequent rehearsal wearing a killer outfit, and then proclaimed proudly, "My mom made it for me." But the earlier dialogue was definitely a WTF moment for me in an otherwise awesome and emotional episode.
And also: it was about sewing. And I know you guys like to talk about that sometimes.