One More Thing about the Oscars...Lesbian Attire

| Mon Feb. 26, 2007 2:40 PM PST

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What is a butch (albeit soft butch) dyke to wear to host the Oscars? A dress with lots of makeup, like Jodie Foster (whose walk totally gives it away, anyway)? Or a tux? I'm sure Ellen would rather have worn a full-on tux, but would America really have stood for a dyke in drag, bowtie and all?

I swear, I am no fan of Ellen (on my personal blog I refer to her as Ellen DeRidiculous—let that serve as evidence). But give the dyke a break. I thought her first two outfits were pretty sharp. The last one, not so much. (A butch-on-butch critique: Too clingy in the thighs.) But the MSM has harshed on her again and again. I'm calling homophobia on it—that's right, I'm pulling the gay card.

First of all, this whole armchair fashion critique, not just of the Oscars but also the State of the Union address, is inherently sexist. I mean, guys pull a tux off the rack and voilà. I challenge you to find me a critique of a man in a normal tux.

But here are some jabs at Ellen from places who apparently could have used a memo from the National Center for Lesbian Rights about the butch lesbian's impossible fashion situation (not to pimp my own work, but I think it's fair to say that I hold a significant place in the writing-about-butch-fashion genre, so check here and here).

Salon (teaser line: Ellen was 'Ellish in her tacky leisure suits): Ellen took a contrary approach and went for a casual feel ... too casual. Her red velour leisure suit would have looked right at home playing the Wurlitzer for the State Farm Senior Golf Classic. It appears that hosting daytime TV, in some cases, retards the part of the brain responsible for selecting eveningwear. It was a relief when Ellen changed, midway through, into a slightly more upscale, all white, Usher-esque ensemble, but her third and final outfit of the evening looked like she'd bribed it off of one of the busboys at Musso & Frank's. With bigger mutton chops, she'd have been a dead ringer for Isaac from "The Love Boat."

The mutton chops really exposes the anti-butch agenda here.

Washington Post: New host DeGeneres appeared in a velvet suit with pants and shoes that looked suspiciously like sneakers.

They were white (men's!) dress shoes, I believe.

New York Times: [Ellen] was dressed semiformally in an open collar and red velvet suit on a night that usually commands black tie or white.

Time: Dressed in a too-casual velvet pantsuit, [Ellen] could rouse no more than a few lazy jokes on tired tinseltown subjects…Most pointless politically correct zinger: "If there weren't blacks, Jews and gays, there would be no Oscars." Even Whoopi did better.

I would hardly call her comment pointless, especially in the mouth of the first openly gay host, despite the rather pronounced role of homosexuals in all of the workings of Hollywood.

I'll say it again, I'm no fan of her comedy, but was it really that bad? Especially when she had allegedly been asked to steer clear of politics. And that gay reference was the only gay reference she made all night. (Melissa Etheridge, on the other hand, kissed her wife for which I am so proud that I won't even mention her really, really bad fashion.)

The local rag, the Los Angeles Times, seems to have grasped Ellen's situation:

Chris Rock and Jon Stewart, the last two experimental hosts, came with a little danger, armed with male writers who hate Hollywood; Ellen comes bearing tolerance and yuks, trailing a whiff of patchouli. She's not a mean spirit, she's America's lesbian — a uniter where Rosie O'Donnell (Was she asked to host? Just wondering) is a divider. Give her credit: DeGeneres was hounded off ABC a decade ago amid hard feelings all around that her sexuality had blocked out her comedy, and now here she was back on the network, on its biggest ratings platform of the year.

When is the media going to learn how to handle the L Word? Lesbians are two-plus decades behind gay men...and counting.

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