Friday Feminist Fuck Yeah: Ellen DeGeneres on American Idol

Congrats to American Idol! They’ve just upped the ante on their already-hugely successful show by bringing on Ellen DeGeneres: comedian extraordinaire, media mogul, talk show host, inspirational speaker, prolific dancer, same sex marriage advocate, and all around bad ass woman.
I’m a huge fan of this decision because I think Ellen is hilarious and lovable and her presence will most likely make me enjoy the show a lot more on those (rare I swear!) occasions that I tune in. But it seems like the move has also spurred something of a different reaction in the blogosphere and beyond: namely, that of questioning:
Will Ellen DeGeneres make American Idol “gayer”?
One problem with this question that I’m going to have to point out right away is that- and I’m truly sorry to break this to you America- American Idol is already pretty, really, very gay.
Another thing is that the presence of someone queer does not always a “gayer” show make, just as the presence of a person of color doesn’t always make the show more geared towards people of color, or even necessarily more tolerant of them.
This is especially true if that person is tokenized, toned down, glossed over, marginalized, or heavily censured, all of which I hope Ellen is not subjected to on American Idol.
That being said, she’s already given interviews in which she alluded to being “the people’s judge,” and for this reason and more I am hopeful and optimistic that Ellen’s presence will make the show more queer friendly and just generally more tolerant and inclusive.
So I’d like to devote a huge Friday Feminist Fuck Yeah to the intelligent and- dare I say- progressive decision of American Idol to choose such a down to earth, inspirational, and compassionate queer feminist as the newest addition to their show.

Brooklyn, NY

Lori Adelman is a writer and advocate focusing on race, gender, and sexual and reproductive rights. In addition to serving as an Executive Director at Feministing, Lori is the Director of Global Communications at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Lori has previously worked at the United Nations Foundation, the International Women’s Health Coalition, and Human Rights Watch, and has written for a host of print and digital properties including Rookie Magazine, The Grio, and the New York Times Magazine. She regularly appears on radio and television, and has spoken at college campuses across the U.S. about topics like the politics of black hair, transnational movement building, and the undercover feminism of Nicki Minaj. In 2014, she was named to The Root 100 list of the nation's most influential African Americans, and to the Forbes Magazine list of the "30 Under 30" successful people in media.

Lori Adelman is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Partnerships.

Read more about Lori

Join the Conversation