Saturday, May 8, 2010

Femonomics reads the internet: playing straight, Hasselbeck's hassle, Madonna, standing up for fat, and more!

Newsweek published an incredibly poorly argued column that basically amounted to the author saying "I can totally tell gay actors are gay when they play straight people."  I guess Newsweek thought this "Yuck, gay" argument was okay because it was written by a gay columnist?  Well, I can totally tell someone's words are homophobic, even when written by a gay writer.  The article singled out Sean Hayes, who plays a lovelorn straight man in Promises, Promises, a role once inhabited by Jerry Orbach.  Luckily, Hayes's costar, Kristin Chenoweth, had something to say about that:
As a longtime fan of Newsweek and as the actress currently starring opposite the incredibly talented (and sexy!) Sean Hayes, ...I was shocked on many levels to see Newsweek publishing Ramin Setoodeh’s horrendously homophobic “Straight Jacket,” which argues that gay actors are simply unfit to play straight.

...Audiences [don't give] a darn about who a person is sleeping with or his personal life. Give me a break! We’re actors first, whether we’re playing prostitutes, baseball players, or the Lion King. Audiences come to theater to go on a journey. It’s a character and it’s called acting, and I’d put Hayes and his brilliance up there with some of the greatest actors period.

Lastly, as someone who’s been proudly advocating for equal rights and supporting GLBT causes for as long as I can remember, I know how much it means to young people struggling with their sexuality to see out & proud actors like Sean Hayes, Jonathan Groff, Neil Patrick Harris and Cynthia Nixon succeeding in their work without having to keep their sexuality a secret. No one needs to see a bigoted, factually inaccurate article that tells people who deviate from heterosexual norms that they can’t be open about who they are and still achieve their dreams.
Three cheers for April Rhodes!

Sooo, last week on The View, Elisabeth Hasselbeck went all victim-blame-y and said something to the effect of, Erin Andrews shouldn't be showing all that skin on Dancing with the Stars after getting stalked.  Jennifer Armstrong showed EW's feminist side in a strong response, saying "I don’t want to make showing a little leg or midriff into the greatest of feminist acts, but I will say this: If a woman tones down and reins in any hint of her sexuality just because she was victimized, well, that means such crimes can be used to tame and control women."  Hasselbeck apologized:

But Renee Martin wonders, along with me, "Did you get the sense that Elizabeth still did not understand why what she said was wrong?" It's called victim blaming. Media--please stop doing it.

The Daily Mail is lauding Madonna for going photo-shop free in her latest shoot for Interview.  Umm....really?  I commend Madonna for owning her sexuality while aging, and I'm tired of snarking at photoshopped celebs, but I'm worried if we don't, people will start to think that 51-year-old women's faces can look like this.  And that just isn't true.

Finally, someone is standing up for fat!  The Wall Street Journal has an article citing some 2005 and 2007 research that found that people with a 25-29 BMI (the "overweight" category) were not at a higher risk of dying than those with a "normal" BMI.  A new Australian study found people in that category in their 70s were less likely to die in a 10-year span than their normal weight peers.  This is all correlation, not causation, so no one's recommending you go out and gain 10 pounds.  But it's nice to finally have the mainstream media recommending we all chill out a little bit, instead of beating the obesity panic drum like the NYTimes is so fond of doing.  Now can we please do away with using BMI as a measure of health altogether, and will people like MeMe Roth finally shut up?

And a few random pieces: The website Sexy is for Everybody has a great series where they try to find bras that fit women of different shapes and sizes [via Jez].  *  Professor What If speculates that if there were more feminist journalists, we'd see a lot less substitution of the word "sex" for "rape".  Yes and yes!  I can't tell you how many times I've heard an alleged rape or sexual abuse case referred to as a "sex scandal."  *  Make a Wish made a boy a superhero for a day, in the most imaginative and fantastical fashion.  Just try not to awwww [via @TLo].   *  Mia Farrow says Naomi Campbell took a blood diamond from Charles Taylor.  She knocked over a camera for being asked about it.  Now the real question: will she testify against the nefarious Liberian dictator? [via @dtimesd]


  1. I actually don't mind photo-shopping, in and of itself - I can see how it is kind of like art or makeup. However, I do think there should be legally binding disclosures, like France was pushing for a while ago. Because even though I can tell it's fictional, the operating assumption for photographs is "oh, that's what he/she/that coat looks like." Which is basically false advertising.

    Most annoying example of this to me: shampoo ads. How can I tell if it's good shampoo if the hair is computer-generated? Like, I'm pretty sure I won't be getting those results.

  2. I don't hate photo-shop either--I understand its role in professional photography just as much as I understand makeup and lighting. But it has definitely gotten out of hand lately, with celebs being photo-shopped to not even look human, or to be half their size! One use of photo-shop I will never agree with is changing a star's body shape, especially without their permission, as has been done to Kelly Clarkson, Kate Winslet, and others. This Madonna example was more a case of mild airbrushing, and she looks great, but I just want us to be honest about it. Let's call this a beautifully lit/made-up/photo-shopped piece of art, and not think of something anyone can reasonably aspire to in real life! There's a whole blog on photo-shop disasters if you want more.

  3. Ooh, Michael Slezak has weighed in on the homophobic newsweek article, and it's delicious:


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