Best. Lesbian. Week. Ever. (March 2, 2007)


Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscar-hosting gig last weekend received mixed reviews from critics, but she is credited with significantly increasing the number of female viewers, as well as a slight increase in viewers overall (no easy feat considering the event’s declining ratings in the last few years).

On her talk show this week, Ellen showed a video her producers put together chronicling her experience hosting the Academy Awards, including a scene of Ellen in tears a few hours before she put on her cute red velvet suit. And those not-so-cute white shoes.

Melissa Etheridge, meanwhile, was asked by reporters after receiving her award for Best Original Song if she was trying to make a statement by kissing her wife, Tammy Lynn Michaels, on the lips when she was announced as the winner. Melissa rightfully responded, “I was kissing her because that’s what you do, you kiss your loved one when you win an Oscar, that’s what I grew up believing.”

The Academy Awards were unusually lesbian this year (check out our “lesbians at the Oscars” slideshow for proof), but let’s face it: That just means there were six five out women, instead of two. That’s not even enough to field a softball team.

British writer Stella Duffy makes a good argument in the Guardian this week against seeing Ellen’s Oscar-hosting gig as a sign that lesbians have become mainstream (as Time and many other publications have been claiming). The fame of Melissa, Ellen and Rosie, “and the way the U.S. takes the cult of personality to extremes, is powerful and helps perpetuate the myth that lesbianism is now mainstream.” But, she insists, “when the daily, weekly, constant inequities are added up — when it’s still special and important that a woman who happens to be a lesbian presents the Oscars — then, no, we are not accepted by the mainstream.”

I’m inclined to agree with Stella on this one. If I hear another straight person or gay man point to Rosie, Ellen and The L Word as proof that “lesbians are everywhere” when there are almost no lesbian characters in mainstream films, we don’t have a single regular lesbian character on network TV, and Tina Fey is still heterosexual (dammit!), I’m going to … um, complain about it in this column.

For another take on the Oscars, check out this column on the newsmagazine site decrying the Ellen Oscars as “the Girly Show” that needs an injection of “more of a straight male point of view.” The author goes on to complain about the “overload” of commercials for “women’s products” during the show, and even Ellen’s vacuuming bit, which “left many men scratching their heads” because “the words hosting and cleaning are far from synonymous to the average guy throwing a party.” No, I’m not kidding. It’s sexist stereotypes on parade. I will give him this, though — he doesn’t appear to think it’s a problem that Ellen’s a lesbian. Just that she’s a woman.

On last night’s episode of The Sarah Silverman Program on Comedy Central (watch clips on the official site), Sarah temporarily decides she’s a lesbian when she meets a butch lesbian cop named Tig and starts fantasizing about her. It was all downhill from there — in a very funny way — with a hilarious montage of Tig looking sexy on her motorcycle, Sarah’s ridiculous turn as a flannel-wearing lesbian folksinger, and her awkward attempt to show Tig just how OK she is with lesbianism by asking, “What is a lesbian? What is anything? Like, what’s a unicorn? It’s a horse with a horn on its head that’s magic. A lesbian is just a woman with a horn on her head that’s magic.”

Another great moment? When Sarah chided her straight friend by telling her sternly, “As a lesbian, I resent your laughter. And all laughter.”

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