Gossip Girl “Pilot”; Chuck Bass contributes to rape culture
The CW series Gossip Girl, illustrates the lives of teens who come from wealthy families of the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Their luxurious lives include limos with their own personal drivers, debit cards to swipe freely, and naturally, a party scene filled with booze, drugs, and sex. While sex is not explicitly shown on public television, the language used among teens ranging from ages fifteen to nineteen years old could be considered very inappropriate.
In the first episode, Chuck Bass, the son of an elite businessman, constantly refers to women in derogatory ways. While talking to his best friend Nate, he causally says, “Serena looked effing hot last night. There’s something wrong with that level of perfection. It needs to be…violated” (“Pilot” Gossip Girl). The fact that these words were spoken by a supposed sixteen- year- old boy, indicates that “violation” or disrespectful sex is common among this age population. Perhaps because of this, other boys, or even girls, watching are likely to become interested in this behavior. This also presents the image of forceful sex, and suggests that it is okay because after all, everything Chuck Bass does should be worshipped, right? Wrong.
The sad truth is that most young girls watching do not understand how wrong the sex and party scene that Chuck promotes really is. Chuck Bass is a teenage heartthrob and the show’s audience largely consists of teenage girls as young as eleven and twelve. And, naturally people tend to follow in the footsteps of their role models. As the episode goes on he continues to make remarks about how women look and make comments to them in a “catcalling” nature. I think its remarks like these on television that make young girls so self-conscious.
The sexualization of women in media is constantly thrown in our faces, and over and over again depicts us as objects. While grown adults can ignore such ignorant comments, young girls are too naïve to realize the detriment of them and essentially fall victim to the harm they do. While I absolutely love Gossip Girl, I think that the characterization of Chuck is somewhat wrong, and could be tweaked in order to protect young girls from this unnecessary harm.