Known Lesbian Ellen DeGeneres Addresses JC Penney Controversy Like A Boss

As you’re probably aware and perhaps have read about here, there has been quite a skerfuffle brewing regarding JCPenney’s decision to hire Known Homosexual Ellen DeGeneres to be their “spokesperson,” because DUH Ellen is WAY cooler than JCPenney, she should spokesperson Sears instead. Just kidding! It’s because she’s gay and some people can’t handle it.

Conservative group The Million Moms, an army put together by traditional valuespeople to protect themselves if The Million Lesbians ever attack, wanted JCPenney to drop Ellen as a spokesperson.

Unfortunately, JC Penney is not a bigoted idiot and clearly has some market research revealing that more people are cool with homosexuality than with douchebaggery. Therefore, they stood their ground.

Today on her fabulously popular television show, Ellen addressed the issue and spoke frankly about Prop 8, being gay, and all that smacktalk on Million Moms’ facebook page. It was a shining moment for women and a sparkling glittery moment for all of queer women pride.

Sidenote: Anyone intensely interested in marketing and business stuff, like me, would be interested to know that JCPenney is hoping Ellen will rehabilitate their “stodgy” image, as their sales have been suffering lately. They’re gonna be overhauling the price structure, re-designing the logo and turning its stores into smaller speciality stores that will showcase brands “like Martha Stewart.”

Ellen does seem like a good pick — she’s very conservative and eminently like-able in terms of her personality — she’s careful never to offend people, and she makes herself very difficult to dislike. Therefore people feel safe with her, but because she rocks this very distinct hipster-prep-boi-style, is a lesbian and is married to Portia De Rossi, she’s also seen as edgy or “cool.”

much like these creatures

Here’s the cute part: Ellen DeGeneres worked at JCPenneys in Louisiana in the 1970s when she was a teenager! Here’s what she has to say about the deal:

“I’m excited to tell everybody about this partnership. I’m going to talk about J.C. Penney on my show. I’m going to talk about it to the people in line behind me at Starbucks. The only place I won’t talk about it is at the movies because that’s rude. That’s when I’m going to text about it…these guys are thinking outside the box. They’re not stuffy, uptight people. They’re kind of down-to-earth guys that I can relate to.”

What’s interesting actually is that as a kid, most of our clothes were hand-me-downs or used clothes, but when we got new clothes it was ALWAYS at JCPenney. They also had a fantastic catalog which I’d leaf through and pick hypothetical gifts for my friends and family for fun, I guess. From BusinessWeek:

Penney is banking on DeGeneres’ down-to-earth humor and big daytime TV following to bring customers in stores to see the changes it is making — and explain them.

“I think Ellen is someone we all trust. She’s loveable, likeable, honest and funny, but at her soul, we trust her,” Johnson told The Associated Press.

DeGeneres, who is also a spokesperson for Cover Girl, will appear in five commercials, whose details are mostly under wraps. But one ad spotlights DeGeneres, usually dressed in pants, wearing a dress.

Riese is the 38-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

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62 Comments

  1. Awww man.. stupid video only works in the US. Anyways… I love Ellen, and I am glad those “moms” arene’t in my life. It makes me sad that stuff like this is even up for discussion in America in 2012. Where I come from you don’t really notice the gays at all, cuz we are just like everyone else. We’re just people living our lives, not having to fight for our rights.

  2. Bill O Reilly has been slowly becoming less insane over time. That or the rightists have become so insane that, in comparison, he seems more normal now. But he’s not Rick Santorum or John Boehner nutty.

    Either way, I’m gonna go buy a pair of Arizona jeans or something. I’m tired of seeing homosexuals, atheists, muslims, and whoever else out being told that they should just live inside whatever closet it is they live in…and if some random corporation dares hire one of them, they need boycotted.

  3. My mom is an adorable baby kitten, but she can’t really cope with the fact that I’m gay. She doesn’t flip out or anything, she just doesn’t respond to it. When I talk about my girlfriend, generally, there’s a “mmhmmm” in response. She’s making beautiful progress, but it’s sloooooooow going.

    {there’s a point, I swear}

    My mom works part-time at JC Penney. Out to dinner with me, my sister, and my (also gay) brother, she told us about the Ellen thing. She was SO PROUD that JC Penney stood behind Ellen. It was like 8 levels of brilliant!

    Yay!

  4. Hey fellow straddlers, can we please not be so single-mindedly focused on LGBTQ issues that we are blinded to other really important violations of human rights? Unlike most who commented on this story, the fact that Ellen DeGeneres is getting paid oodles of money to promote cheap clothing doesn’t thrill me or make me want to throw up my fist screaming “lesbian solidarity forever!” It doesn’t make me want to run out to the nearest JC Penny’s and start buying their cheap products with glee either. After all is said and done, JC Penny is still a horrible company that received a D- from Green America’s Retail Scorecard for it’s sale of sweatshop labor clothing. Their brand of department store is no longer popular, so naturally, they hired a spokesperson who is big with the 20-50 year old women crowd (hey, Ellen) and hope it’ll revive their brand. I guarantee you, the decision to keep her on was a financial calculation not a moral calculation…and the only thing that speaks to are principles of capitalism & our consumer culture, not the status of LGBTQ individuals.

    • I like this perspective. A lot.

      It’s nice to see happy smiling glbtiq faces on tv, but I personally would prefer that my inclusion not be built on the exploitation of other human beings.

      Labour conditions in the clothing industry are a feminist issue, too, since the majority of garment workers are women.

      • Also, I imagine that most sweatshop workers are people of colour.

        In Australia, most outworkers (people who produce garments from home and get paid a pittance for their labour, like $1 per shirt) are immigrant women from non-white backgrounds.

  5. Well… I love JCPenney. I’ve shopped there almost all my life, almost exclusively these past 3 years actually. I feel comfortable shopping there ’cause people don’t follow you around pretending to care about helping you find stuff or annoy you at the dressing rooms with limits of how much pieces you can try on at a time. Sometimes I’m just so tired of walking that I go to JCPenney and sit in a dressing room… it’s so peaceful LOL!!

    Everyone should go check out their I <3 Ronson collection…. it's so amazingly cute and gay… lol! i love it! The also have MANGO too, which is equally awesome and… well… they have pretty amazing stuff in sizes above 9… O.o

    Point is, I LOVE IT, and I'll love it more now that Ellen is the "spokesperson"!!

  6. I went to school with a set of twins, boy and girl, she was more boy and ended up being lesbian, and he was more “metrosexual” to put it nicely and he ended up being gay. I personally believe we are born with a certain amount of hormones and estrogen, sometimes it’s more than the female regs. and sometimes it’s more than male regs., that to me is why and how sexuality is not chosen, it’s what we are born with and then desire. I can be wrong, but with looking back on boys and girls I went to school with and in life it all turned out true. Such is nature.

  7. Cuz that’s what the theistic Americans want right?How is that “teach the controversy”? What about other religions, like Buddhism, or Shintoism, or Hinduism or Muslim? They each have their own creationist views, are we going to teach all of them?

  8. I was a loyal employee for JCPenney for over 5 years. I did my job well and got a good performance rating every year. I even stayed on when they stopped giving raises entirely. Then Ron Johnson was announced to take over and we all felt pretty good. The day after my birthday I was laid off. Hundreds of others were soon out of jobs as well. It took me over six months to find a new job because Ron saturated the job pool with people like me. Don’t give him your money. Shop Macy’s or Kohl’s.

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