Hi! I’m Jacq, founder of Deconstructing Glee (my official title now is Class President). I’m taking a break from this at the moment, but this seemed important enough to break my silence. I’ve been asked by a few people now if I’m going to write about this, so I’m going to write about this.
What can I say? A girl likes to be asked. And that’s sort of what I want to talk about too.
I’ve always found it interesting that Tina and Blaine became friends. Partly because of how they’ve been gendered throughout their time on Glee.
Tina has often been left out of the girl group things (not a Cheerio, not buddies with Kurt, Rachel and Mercedes) and in “Never Been Kissed,” she’s grouped with the guys in using a mental image of Shannon Beiste to “cool off” when she’s making out with Mike. She was the only girl depicted this way.
And because Blaine has often been positioned in a feminine way, they make interesting friends. Especially when it get sexual.
I think we need to back up a bit and look at two other relationships:
Blaine and Sam and Kurt and Blaine.
When Blaine had (has?) a crush on Sam, he worries he’ll be seen as predatory (because he’s gay), and keeps his (emotional/physical/sexual) distance, without denying his feelings. He knows Sam’s not interested. He values Sam’s friendship and respects his boundaries.
And yes, we can talk about Blaine and Kurt in the car outside Scandals—Blaine didn’t listen to Kurt, and continued to touch when it wasn’t wanted. He didn’t listen. And while it doesn’t make it right, this is partially mitigated by them already being in an intimate relationship. Blaine at least has a context for thinking things might progress to something more intimate. Fortunately, Kurt was conscious, and able to express his lack of consent.
An unconscious person doesn’t have that power.
If I were to wake to my wife coughing and struggling to breathe in her sleep, and unbuttoned her shirt to apply some VapoRub, I’d be taking my life in my hands, but I would not be violating any kind of consent or boundary. I have, after years of intimacy, a certain amount of consent I can run with.
Tina’s relationship with Blaine is, in reality, entirely a friendship and entirely platonic. Tina is also presenting it that way, even if she feels differently and tries in roundabout ways to change it. She’s hoping she can manipulate him into giving her what she wants, without considering that he continues to insist he is only attracted to men. She is waiting on him hand and foot (to the point of being creepy and inappropriate) under the guise of being his closest friend, but she’s expecting more to come of it. When she yells at him, she seems to resent having done the things for him that she has, just because he hasn’t fallen in love with her yet. She seems gratified when he suddenly asks her to be his date for the wedding.
She got what she wanted. After she pretended to be Blaine’s best friend in order to gain access to a possibly romantic relationship, and then yelled at him for not going along with it. After she did something really creepy and non consensual when Blaine was unconscious and when she knew fully he would not have let her continue if he had been able to express himself.
There are two frames fandom can see Tina in right now: either she’s fandom or she’s a “nice guy”.
Fandom joked when Tina first started crushing on Blaine that she was fandom incarnate. It’s hard to argue that now, the way she is mirroring the worst excesses of fandom. Over a year ago, I wrote about several incidents where Darren Criss and Chris Colfer’s personal safety was put at risk by fans.
The “nice guy” meme has been doing the rounds on the internet for a while now. The whole idea of it is that there are guys out there who think that their female friends owe them sex because they behave like friends to them.
Tina is being portrayed as a “nice guy”. She made him soup; she wants more than him feeling better again. A friend should be happy he’s feeling better again, not wondering why they’re not fucking right now.
It’s creepy, and it’s wrong and Glee isn’t going to drop this story. I expect the creepy to be made more explicit. But really, it shouldn’t have to be.
People’s bodies are their own. You alone determine who is allowed to touch you, when and where and how and for what purpose. There are relationships where we take small amounts of licence in order to move forward or try something new, but we only do that when lines of communication are open.
If the person is not able to consent, the answer is no.
Please, people who are arguing that assault only exists when physical harm happens, and people who are saying that they would have kissed him too—please understand that harm can be done that is not physical. How would you expect someone would sleep if they knew they’d been handled all night by someone they thought they could trust?
There was an interesting ask on Racheline’s Tumblr about Blaine being like Sleeping Beauty when he was asleep—and a reference to how Sleeping Beauty was woken up (it wasn’t with a kiss) in the original story.
Blaine’s not great at boundaries, and he’s not great at saying no.
Kurt and Rachel may engage in healthy confrontation, but neither Blaine nor Tina know how to do that.
This is going to be weird and ugly.