Lots to not love, too. She never said the word “gay” or “lesbian.” When she talked about coming out “a thousand years ago,” she did not make it clear that she had remained professionally closeted for decades after that. And then, of course, there were the cutaway shots to her best buddy Mel Gibson, gazing adoringly at her, during her speech. Mel Gibson, whose record for unrepentant domestic violence, and anti-Semitic and misogynist epithets have made him anathema to most folks with a conscience.
What if Jodie Foster is a butch? Yeah, I know, “Have you SEEN the woman?” But to that I say, “Have you seen her in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore?” Have you seen her pre-Taxi Driver? And then I would ask, “How much do you understand about butch identity, butch culture, and butch oppression?” How many butch celebrities have there been prior to Ellen, and even now?
But there are clues. For instance... one might be giving an acceptance speech in which one has difficulty figuring out one’s audience, or the tone one should adopt… resulting in a confusing monologue in which voice and focus alternate wildly. One could find it easier to split off alarming aspects of another person’s identity also… such as a history of domestic violence. One could make comments that indicate a certain dissociation from one's own body or appearance. One could be insanely uncomfortable.
Here’s hoping that future, with all its options, becomes a reality for other tomboy girls.
Thanks to Kathleen Carbone for her insight and inspiration in writing this blog.