Ellen Page talks feminism, sexuality and that lesbian “SNL” sketch

In a new interview with The Guardian, actress Ellen Page talked about her famous SNL sketch from 2008 where she just wanted to “hug a girl with her legs in friendship” while wearing a Melissa Etheridge concert T-Shirt. The reporter asked if she was “nervous” about poking fun at people who wondered about her sexuality.

“It will sound like I’m making this up,” Ellen said, “but I don’t think I even thought about it at the time. I just thought the skit was funny. All of that gossip is silly – people caring about [celebrities' personal lives] – I just don’t get it.”
"The East" Press Conference

Instead, she said she’d rather them focus on issues like feminism, which she can’t believe is still a dirty word to so many people.

“Feminism always gets associated with being a radical movement – good. It should be,” she told The Guardian. A lot of what the radical feminists [in the 1970s] were saying, I don’t disagree with it.”

Hollywood is still not the ultra-feminist-friendly place we hope for, which is why she’s also working on her own scripts.

“Only 23% of speaking roles in films today are for women,” she said. “It feels we’ve gone backwards. … But of course, if you just write a script in which the woman has control over her destiny and love isn’t the main thing in the film, that’s seen as super feminist.”

It’s not only the scripts, it’s the way actresses are posed in photo shoots, on red carpets or during any kind of personal appearances.

“It’s how you’re treated, it’s how you’re looked at, how you’re expected to look in a photoshoot, it’s how you’re expected to shut up and not have an opinion, it’s how you – if you’re a girl and you don’t fit the very specific vision of what a girl should be, which is always from a man’s perspective, then you’re a little bit at a loss. There are moments when you are, um, encouraged to dress a certain way. But I can’t. It just erodes my soul. That’s no criticism to girls who can wear a tiny dress and kill it – that’s awesome. People always attribute being a feminist to hating girls being sexual, and that’s not it at all. I’m just not into it.”

With that in mind, she said she’ll never be seen scantily-clad in a men’s magazine (“You know, if a person finds doing that empowering, that’s great. But I don’t feel it’s all that helpful. It’s not the direction I want to take.”) to if she considers herself an activist (“I’ve really gone back and forth and thought: ‘OK, do you become a really intense activist, whether it’s civil disobedience or monkey wrenching or whatever? Or do you live in the infrastructure and navigate it as best as possible?’”) And while she doesn’t offer up any additional information about her personal life, the article does make mention of her blushing while bringing up her The East co-star and rumored boyfriend Alexander Skarsgaård. (Her publicist says they are “just friends.”)

If you follow Ellen’s career at all, whether it’s through interviews or her Twitter page, it’s clear that her interests lie in making great, feminist films that often have LGBT elements to them. She’ll next be seen in Lynn Shelton’s Touchy Feely and her longtime passion project, Freeheld, seems to have the ball slowly in motion since last we heard she was offering the role opposite her to a “Academy Award-winning actress.”

While Ellen has never answered any questions directly about her sexuality, queer women love her all the same. When Freeheld does start to get made and she begins to answer questions about the unavoidably lesbian movie from the press, we might hear more from her on how closely she can identify with the subjects at hand: A couple of women who are affected by inequality, one of them forced to live without the other and also not receiving her partner’s pension from working on the police force. (Her out lesbian publicist Kelly Bush is also a producer on the film.)

The only times we’ve seen Ellen play Sapphically-inclined (besides that SNL sketch) is during a game of Spin the Bottle in The East where she lands on Brit Marling, and in Woody Allen‘s To Rome With Love when she tossed off a few lines about having slept with a woman once. (She ends up with guys in both films.) And although she was photographed kissing co-star Drew Barrymore for Marie Claire during press interviews for Whip It!, she played straight in that too. She was one of the original actors attached to Jack & Diane but eventually had to drop out due to scheduling issues and production delays.

It’s OK if you want Ellen Page to bat for our team. She’d be an asset, an MVP, if you will. But while she’s not talking about her private life, we can at least keep waiting for her to play gay on-screen. Looks like she’ll have to write the thing herself.

 

 

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