Since the topic of this blog is on gender role reversals I thought this video might add some fun to the topic. Justin Bieber is always being ridiculed for his feminine appearance, however, these four lovely (handsome?) ladies have something to say about Justin and his feminine looks…
While this video is all in fun, it is important to note that not all lesbian women feel the desire to dress and style their hair in a more masculine fashion. A great example of this is Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi. Ellen, known for her fun-loving dance moves, “sweet kicks” and cropped locks typically prefers a more masculine based wardrobe. Her wife Portia however, is very feminine in her appearance in that she has long, flowing locks and is more comfortable in a dress than her wife.
In an interview with Oprah, the couple express the same ideals as this post. When asked if Ellen and Portia call each other “wife” they respond with, “it would be weird if I called her my husband because she isn’t.” Portia also talks about being a closeted homosexual and how the fear of being openly gay would affect and possibly ruin her career as an actress of a family drama. Oprah then shares some footage from Portia and Ellen’s wedding day and again their differences are apparent. While Portia sets the dinner table with three glasses, Ellen suggest instead to have a beer drinking helmet to save space. There ideas might seem more gendered in that it is usually the woman who pays attention to the fine detail of setting the table and the male would prefer the beer helmet, Ellen and Portia instead prove that gender stereotypes are not always accurate:
(Sorry about the quality of the picture. It is their words that are more important than the image)
Many people, after seeing the images above from Ellen and Portia’s wedding would say that Ellen is the husband and Portia is the wife, but this, as Ellen and Portia stated, would be an inaccurate statement. Ellen is no more a man than the four women singing about Justin Bieber. Simply because someone “looks” like a man does not mean that they are one. Also, just because the traditional hetero couple involves a man and a woman does not mean that all relationships must involve a man and a woman–or have the role of man and woman filled.
According to Judith Halberstam there is such a thing as “female masculinity.” According to the OED, masculinity is defined as being “the state or fact of being masculine; the assemblage of qualities regarded as characteristics of men; maleness, manliness.” So basically, masculinity is…being a man. What Halberstam is arguing is that there is a new form of masculinity that removes the man and adds the femi(man). Halberstam talks about her connection with being a “tom boy” as a child and how by associating with the masculine world while growing up she felt “ambiguous and illegible” (Halberstam 19). She talks also about how she was “forced into some semblance of femininity” (Halberstam 19) as a teenager, not being allowed to express her true self. Through this forceful entrance into femininity, she was forced into a false performance of herself. It was not until she was in her twenties that Halberstam was able to finally to identify with who she really was, a bulldyke and since the publication of Judith’s book The Drag King Book, Judith has taken to calling herself Jack as she feels it better represents who she really is.
If you want to know more about LGB couples and families I encourage you to check out another great blog which explains this further. Written by a classmate of mine, it is called Issues Involving Families with Homosexual Members and I especially suggest you look at the post entitled Meet Cameron Tucker and Mitchell Pritchett and Their Daughter Lily Tucker-Pritchett. Now I hope after reading this quick post, whenever you see a gay or lesbian couple you don’t automatically start to wonder who the “man” or “woman” is in their relationship and just allow them to be the man or woman they really are.
And I’m not sure about you, but…
Halberstam, Judith. Female Masculinity. United States of America: Duke University Press, 1998.
Sexsmith, Sinclair. “Jack Halberstam: Queer Create Better Models of Success.” Lambda Literary. 1 February 2012. 4 April 2013. <http://www.lambdaliterary.org/interviews/02/01/jack-halberstam-queers-create-better-models-of-success/>.