SAME-SEX ACTION: Listen up; I’m gonna share a trade secret with you. Are you ready? I don’t think you’re ready. When constructing a Daily Fix, my first step is searching for keywords “gay” and “lesbian” in google news. I learned this as a nerve.com intern, when we constructed Scanner posts by searching ‘sex’ and then spending an hour sifting through sex offenders, sexual assaults, rape and sex trafficking to get to the pleasant stuff– which usually didn’t exist, or was a sex tape. Anyhow…
So. Every single g-dd*mn day, 1-3 of the top news results for “lesbians” — that is; the most relevant, important, popular lesbian stories of the day — relate to one starlet or another relaying 5-6 words to a reporter regarding the Very Important Experience of touching their lips to another lady’s lips. Let me be clear: we will announce, joyfully, an Upcoming Lesbian Makeout in a Movie or TV Show. WE CHEER IN OUR PANTS FOR THIS! However; we don’t get the Other Story — the one about how the actress didn’t mind it (and hopefully neither did her brother). Straight people have similar stories (“Renee Russo LOVED kissing Pierce Bronson”) but the lesbian stories are focused more on the act of kissing a woman and rarely on the specific woman herself.
We’d like to look at this little phenomenon with you today.
Firstly — Here’s the formula:
[hot actress] + [loved/liked/prefers/hated] + [sexual act] with [another hot actress] in [movie/TV show]
Sometimes the last part is left off (about the movie/tv show) to entice the reader into believing they’re about to read a description of an actual real-life girl-on-girl encounter. Here’s some recent examples:
+ Hayden Panettiere: “I loved shooting lesbian scenes for new series of Heroes”: “That’s the relationship so far and where exactly it’s going, I have no idea. I absolutely enjoyed playing that kind of complicated relationship. Oh, yeah. I kissed a girl and I liked it.”
+ Amanda Seyfried Enjoys Passionate Lesbian Kiss In New Movie: This particular headline (used by 40 papers accessible via Google News) actually doesn’t include any quote from Seyfried. But hell, WHO DOESN’T ENJOY A PASSIONATE LESBIAN KISS? (Oh yeah… our friendly bisexual idiot Megan Fox who Can’t Watch Lesbian Kiss.)
+ Dakota Fanning kisses girl, doesn’t become a witch: Teenager DAKOTA FANNING had no problems vamping it up for a lesbian scene in upcoming biopic THE RUNAWAYS – because the real-life rocker she plays in the film experienced the same-sex moment.
+ Eva Green wishes her lesbian love scene in ‘Cracks’ had been raunchier: “The love scene is soft – I wanted to go even further. In the book, she’s more sexual.” (So in other words, the movie dulled down the book’s lesbian love scene? Now that’s an interesting story!)
+ Scarlett Johansson would rather kiss Penelope Cruz any day over other leading male actors. (inside the article, we learn it’s because male actors have scratchy faces)
+ Mischa Barton Would Rather Kiss Girls: The story reveals, “I don’t know why that keeps coming up. It doesn’t annoy me that much. It’s so much easier to kiss another girl. You’re so much more relaxed filming and you can have a laugh. It can get a bit tense with a guy.”
Even worse is when a girl uses the word “lesbian” in a press conference or an article, like Kristen Stewart’s recent refusal to confirm/deny R-Patz rumors by saying, “I’ve thought about this a lot. There’s no answer that’s not going to tip you one way or the other. Think about every hypothetical situation. “OK, we are. We aren’t. I’m a lesbian,” Resulting in headlines like “Kristen Stewart’s Lesbian Confession” and “Lesbian Kristen Stewart.” As AfterEllen pointed out: “Ironically, this is what Kristen was hinting at in her original interview when she made this statement. In response to constantly being asked about dating Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson, she said she’d rather keep something to herself because no matter what she says, the press is going to run with it. And, it appears she was right.”
Honestly; it’s rare that any of the major lesbian or gay websites are one of the 150 sources headlining this story. Why not? Here’s my theory:
1. These stories are boring — one quote cannot carry an entire article, yannow? I don’t care what the topic is.
2. We hesitate to give these stories enhanced meaning by headlining them — as one of many daily fix links, we can separate ourselves from the mainstream flock and re-contextualize the newsbyte in a way that our readers can respect and laugh at. We all like lesbian kissing news, after all !But giving it top-billing as the headline feels a little bit too… well… like everyone else! For a gay website, it grants the information significance it doesn’t deserve.
3. The fact that a woman didn’t mind GETTING PAID MILLIONS OF DOLLARS to kiss another woman (or, for that matter, to kiss Joe Pesci or Jack Nicholson) is a bit unsurprising.
B/c I am only one little baby mind, I thought I’d ask some experts from the interweb’s top Lesbian Entertainment & Pop Culture Website, AfterEllen.com, for their theories!
Dorothy Snarker: “The problem, of course, with these sorts of “stories” is that they are nonsense. The inherent implication behind the standard “What is it like to kiss a girl?” question is “It’s weird, isn’t it?” And if it isn’t the “Eww”-factor, it’s the “Ooh-la-la”-factor driving coverage. Neither of which mean anything real to lesbian and bisexual viewers. Because we all know what it’s like to kiss a girl: awesome.” (also check out Dorothy at Dorothy Surrenders)
Grace Chu: “On mainstream publications, the target audience is obviously straight guys, but lesbians also have an inner frat boy that is ever present but often silenced for two reasons (1) in the name of propriety and (2) to avoid being judged by other lesbians (you know it’s true). So although i don’t believe that we are the intended audience, it would be a lie if i stood here and said that we don’t click on those headlines, because we do. I don’t see a problem writing about those stories on a lesbian website, because we are able to repackage those stories and filter them through our own lenses and bring these stories to our audience from a queer perspective. All right, that second part of that sentence was utter bullshit. almost fooled ya! ha ha! Anyway, here’s the real deal. These stories are pretty straightforward, and they’re pretty sensationalist and asinine, but lesbians aren’t above reading sensationalist and asinine things, especially if it’s about pretty girls kissing. Embrace the inner frat boy. don’t be ashamed of him. ” (you can also catch Grace at Grace the Spot)
Heather Hogan (formerly known as “StuntDouble”): I have a lot of straight-girl friends who are obsessed with kissing headlines (straight ones, gay ones, bi ones, whatever). Ultimately, I think they’re trying to find out who is a better kisser than whom so they know who to put on their Lists of Five. For example, one friend dropped Orlando Bloom right off her list because when Keira Knightley was promoting Atonement, there was a headline that said she thought James McAvoy was the best kisser ever, and Atonement was filmed after Pirates of the Caribbean, in which Keira kissed Orlando. (It’s a science.) I personally don’t like to write them because they’re redundant. No matter who’s names you put in them, the story is always exactly the same: straight girls kiss, still prefer men.
The Linster: On the one hand, it’s homophobia. At some level, straight people are scared of us, no matter how “cool” they seem with The Gays. So they have to call out lesbian scenes between straight girls just to classify the kiss as not normal. I mean, what would happen if girls kissed girls and guys kissed guys and it was just another love or sex scene in a movie? The world as we know it would collapse, that’s what. On the other hand, I’m glad to have those headlines around because it saves me a lot of time fast-forwarding through movies to see if they have lesbian scenes.
So, what do you think? Is this a phenomenon that only irritates those of us who report the “news,” or do you like or dislike these stories yourself?
DEBORAH: Deborah Soloman, caustic interview aggro-heroine of life, has questions for writer Terry Castle:
Camille Paglia has written that gay men are much livelier company than lesbians, whom she associates with “resentment or ideology.” Do you agree that lesbians suffer from a paucity of wit?
Well, those who drank the Kool-Aid in the ’70s in the heyday of lesbian separatism — a lot of them have ended up in the academic world as historians or sociologists. And so there is a kind of earnest and stylistically impaired lesbian who is still in existence, like a stegosaurus.
Whom do you consider funny?
Ellen DeGeneres is pretty funny, as are Wanda Sykes, Lily Tomlin and Rachel Maddow. Gertrude Stein was hilariously funny. Claims about the dourness of lesbianism have been overstated.
Yea that’s nonsense. Personally, my favorite comedians are almost all lesbians; like Julie Goldman, Elvira Kurt, Ellen DeGeneres and all the ladies we interviewed for Autostraddle. But then I also love everyone on The Daily Show, Chris Rock and Dave Chapelle. Yup those are my favorites just in case you were wondering. Yours?
CONAN: “This is no Tigergate, which we follow out of prurient interest. This has evolved into a national passion play about greed, betrayal, stupidity, incompetence, and corporate cluelessness. In other words, the late night fiasco has become the perfect allegory for the Great Recession. No wonder people from hosts to fans sound like they’re taking to the barricades: How Team Coco Channels Out Great Recession Anger.” (@vulture)
WARHOL: Once upon a time, when MTV was still good and unicorns still carried people across the land to harvest the wheat, Andy Warhol had a show on MTV. “Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes” aired on MTV in 1987 but it died before the last episode could be completed. You can read about it here and also download episodes from the first site we linked to
IDK I think this is the best photo taken of Lindsay Lohan since 2008:
GLEE: Neil Patrick Harris will join the predigous academy of GLEE guest-stars very soon! Also Jennifer Lopez might be on GLEE. Also your mom is gonna be on GLEE. (@ew)
LAW & ORDER: Mischa Barton has a guest spot on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as a prostitute named Gladys. That’s nonsense, no prostitute would ever pick the name “Gladys.” (@celebrity gossip)
GOLDEN GLOBES: Golden Gifs: Stars of the Golden Globes in animated gif form. And also; there are many things I loathe about the media, the “snarky comments about bad outfits” write-ups are one of those things (although, obvs, we cannot seem to restrain ourselves when recapping teevee shows, so maybe the pot is calling the kettle black, but also the pot wants to say that it is commenting on costumes, not outfits). But this is f*cking spot on and hilarious. So maybe it’s okay when feminists do it. (@jezebel)
ACT YOUR AGE: Same Age Celebs – it’s interesting; like who is who’s age and stuff. (@ontd)