It’s interesting to see what happens to images of lesbians in the media – especially those lesbians who shine in the butch or androgenous side of the rainbow. It seems that they need to be polished up to be made palatable for mainstream America. First there was all the discussion about Rachel Maddow’s television makeover, and now Ellen DeGeneres is the new face of CoverGirl cosmetics. (You can read the NYTimes story here.)
Remember when Margaret Cho said “Give me a woman who looks like John Goodman?” I’ve got to agree. There’s something to be said for a butch woman who is willing to wear her sexuality on her sleeve day in and day out. It’s just plain hot.
It’s a funny paradox, but I think that when you apply the typical feminine trappings of makeup and hair to women like Rachel and Ellen in an attempt to glam them up, it actually de-sexualizes them.
Case in point: The very attractive Rachel Maddow below left, in a publicity photo for her Air America radio show (hip haircut, basic grey tee… she looks, hot, smart, and gay), and on the right, in a publicity shot for her MSNBC television show, she looks like a soccer mom who hasn’t found her way out of the closet yet.
Now, what will they do to Ellen?