Happy Valentines Day, readers!
On this day of love and special things I want to give a shout-out to my favorite famous couple: Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi. Both women are independently successful, philanthropic, and -you guessed it- lesbians! In American media, we love to focus on homosexual male couples- Neil Patrick Harris and his partner received a cover and spread in People when they had twins- but where was the public outcry when Wanda Sykes was diagnosed with a breast cancer? Or when Jane Lynch and her wife were married in 2010? (I vaguely remember a photo in one of the magazines- but that was it.) So not only are Ellen and Portia successful separately, together they have broken the mold of Hollywood media and became important as lesbians as a couple.
Recently, the retail store JC Penney hired Ellen as a spokesmodel for the season, which has caused outrage from right-wing group One Million Moms (the group also opposes Macy’s ‘two grooms’ advertisement). Although Ellen is already a spokesmodel for CoverGirl and American Express, Ellen representing clothing is a step too far.
“Funny that JC Penney thinks hiring an open homosexual spokesperson will help their business when most of their customers are traditional families. More sales will be lost than gained unless they replace their spokesperson quickly. Unless JC Penney decides to be neutral in the culture war then their brand transformation will be unsuccessful.” -OMM
Since JC Penney has shown its support for Ellen as refuses to bow down to OMM, the support for JC Penney has blossomed. The JC Penny Shop-In is a Facebook event in which people go to their local JC Penney and take pictures of themselves shopping. Additionally, a ‘Gay Day‘ flashmob was organized in front of a JC Penney to show the public’s support of JC Penney.
Relatively recently, Portia released an autobiography, Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain. The book is about Portia’s struggles with her weight and self-image as a model and actress. And it was truly one of the saddest things I have ever read. I have never had an eating disorder, but after reading this book I can understand how easy it is to slip into that line of thinking. While the book itself has had some mixed reviews, I feel that it is incredibly important for all women to read.
Like I harped upon in two earlier posts, Fhotoshop by Adobe and Why I Shouldn’t Watch TV, the way women are portrayed in the media is sickening (sometimes literally). While stick-thin models are still used to promote most things, Ellen (a real women who is always herself) is now the spokesmodel for some very important companies.
So on this Valentines Day, let’s not wonder how Brad and Angie might be spending the evening, or who Jennifer Anniston really wants to be her Valentine. If we are to focus on any celebrity couples at all, why not the ones who are challenging conventional roles and changing the way the media sees lesbian couples?
Hell, I’d sure care a lot more about what keeps Ellen’s skin so glowy than which Kardashian is getting divorced.