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 Executive Director of Partnerships at Feministing, where she enjoys creating and curating content on gender, race, class, technology, and the media. Lori is also an advocacy and communications professional specializing in sexual and reproductive rights and health, and currently works in the Global Division of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. A graduate of Harvard University, she lives in Brooklyn.

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

Read more about Lori

Join the Conversation

  • borrow_tunnel

    Oh and don’t you love how everyone questioned her credibility because she doesn’t sing? Randy and Simon may be in the music industry but I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard them sing a note in my life.

  • Comrade Kevin

    Oh, like the entertainment industry wasn’t gay enough already, using that “logic”? Thought it might be more acceptable to be openly out these days, one should never fool oneself that in some other age it wasn’t comprised of a large number of LGBTs.
    If more people would realize how much LGBTs enriched their lives through their music, literature, art, talent, and wisdom, then we might really be getting somewhere in conquering homophobia once and for all.

  • chersolly

    I’m confused. Is she a guest judge for one episode or a full season replacement for Paula?

  • Tara K.

    Ellen tends to make a lot of hetero women gayer everyday. I’m trying to remember the quote on 30 Rock from Tina Fey about that.

  • allieb87

    “You can’t be gay for one person. Unless you’re a lady and you meet Ellen.”
    Personally, I am also gay for Christina Hendricks. But that’s a lust thing. I’m sure she’s a very nice person but I just don’t know like I know Ellen is. I think Ellen could fulfill my emotional needs…

  • Tara K.

    Thanks! Yes, that’s the quote. And Christina Hendricks … Yes. Every Sunday after I watch her, I feel the need to get really femme and paint my nails and swish around.

  • Sandra

    I have never watched American Idol and never intended to… Until I heard that Ellen would be a judge. I’m suddenly very tempted to endure all the bullshit just to see her reaction to it.

  • LalaReina

    I’m not the biggest Idol fan but I was less inclined to watch the little I do with no Paula, but I like Ellen she has an element of pleasantness with is what Paula brought. Why they would pay Ryan (what does he do to be so paid) Seacrest so much than offered Paula I’ll never know, Simon is the show.