26
Sep
08

Lindsay Lohan A Lesbian! (Maybe the alliteration is just irresistable?)

Unless you’re as completely out of touch with pop culture as I am (thanks to Girlfriend, Esq. for the heads up), most of you have probably seen the excessive media coverage of Lindsay Lohan finally admitting she’s in a same-sex relationship. And of course, I’m completely frustrated with how many of the pieces have decided that “dating a girl after years and years of dating boys” means “lesbian.” A couple are so thrilled with Clay Aiken and Lohan “coming out” at the same time that they seem to have gotten confused, and are writing headlines declaring both gay without any word from Lohan about how she identifies. This charmer goes so far as to suggest that all of Lohan’s drug use and running around with boys was a desperate search for what would make her truly happy – girls, of course (“She was gaining a reputation as a man-eater, when in reality she was only hopping between blokes because she failed to find the true love she craved.” And if that’s not enough to nauseate you, try “Since they met we’ve seen a more demure, feminine and better behaved Lindsay.” ‘Cause, um, conforming to stereotypical femininity is a definite sign of happiness). Here we have the suggestion that she’s jumped the fence to help heal her broken heart, with the patronizing suggestion that she drink and cry herself to sleep instead. At Fan Fare we’re given two options – “lesbian” or “experimenting with her sexuality” (’cause no one has a stable sexuality that’s anything other than straight or gay, remember?) And The Daily Star quotes her as declaring “Yes, I am a lesbian.” I have to say that I seriously doubt that. Had she said anything nearly that unequivocal, it would be quoted in every single article, not just in one tabloid – completely fabricating a quote is even more awesome than simply misinterpreting what was actually said.

The one thing no one seems to be doing is giving serious thought to the possibility that a relationship with a woman doesn’t mean a girl is definitely gay, and also doesn’t mean she’s sowing her wild oats and experimenting. Maybe, instead, she’s one of those people who can be attracted to and fall in love with people regardless of gender. What do we call those people, again? Um. I’ve almost got it, it’s right on the tip of my tongue…

I have to say, though, that I’m pleasantly surprised how many of the articles I turned up *didn’t* claim Lohan is gay, or make any statements about her identity at all (or at least only referred to it as a “lesbian relationship” and not to her as a lesbian). I was closing tabs thinking “That doesn’t help me…hey, actually, that not being useful is awesome!” Few of them used the word bisexual, either, but I’m perfectly happy to have it left ambiguous until and unless Lohan chooses to clarify. I’m not exactly clamoring to have her as a bisexual role model, but I also resent the way the media declares people straight or gay the moment they have a new partner, completely writing off anything that happened in their life before that moment (Anne Heche, anyone?). I have no way of knowing whether Lohan is bisexual or a lesbian — and neither do any of these bloggers and “reporters.”

Now I’m going to see if I can wash my brain out with “Nobody Passes” and a good night’s sleep. Googling Lindsay Lohan, indeed…some days I can’t believe this is my life.

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7 Responses to “Lindsay Lohan A Lesbian! (Maybe the alliteration is just irresistable?)”


  1. 1 jellybabies
    26 September 2008 at 7:13 am

    The kind of media that will deem this newsworthy at all is, I hope, not a correct measure of the state of humanity! 🙂 They need that headline that creates an instant peek of interest. “Lohan – lesbian or bisexual?” doesn’t quite do it, yes? So they pick whatever people will form an instant relation to, which in this case is more likely to be “lesbian” and also the story about her finally having found out who she is. “Lesbian” just fires off so many more associations and thoughts in most people’s heads – don’t you think this is correct? Let’s face it, “bisexual” sounds pretty technical in comparison (a good synonym, anyone?). And also, in terms of meaning, if they’d written that she might be bisexual I think most readers would be like “don’t get technical with me!”

  2. 26 September 2008 at 6:25 pm

    Right on, though I can’t help feeling at least a little glad that we get to complain about whether or not the press is using the right respectful identity term for Lohan — because it means we’re at the point where people are using respectful terms (albeit incorrectly and unfairly) and it’s safe for Lohan to be open about this relationship, so safe that the media is actually overdoing the praise. (At least that’s the impression I get from this post — I am in fact nearly as out of touch with pop culture as you.)

    Of course, I’m not bisexual, so it’s very possible my perspective here in unfair. Anyway, good post.

  3. 3 Aviva
    26 September 2008 at 7:13 pm

    Daisy, you’re totally right. I meant to write something about how positive almost all of the coverage I saw was, regardless of how they did with labeling her. Everyone seems pretty thrilled to have been right all along, and they’re not taking it as an excuse to slam her. Thanks for pointing it out.

  4. 4 Aviva
    26 September 2008 at 7:16 pm

    jellybabies – I think the fact that so *much* of the media deemed this newsworthy – is, in fact, designed for “news” like this – is very indicative of the state of humanity.

    I also think that the fact that lesbian is a flashier word is part of the problem. If the media continues to use it instead of bisexual (and, um, continues to insist on labeling people’s identities for them at all), “bisexual” never gets a chance to become more compelling as a description. Whereas if they used it as if it were interesting and descriptive, it would become so. (Of course, considering how the media talks about lesbians, I’m not sure bisexuals want to get in on that action…but still.)

  5. 5 jellybabies
    26 September 2008 at 9:21 pm

    Aviva,

    “Of course, considering how the media talks about lesbians, I’m not sure bisexuals want to get in on that action…but still.”

    That’s exactly it. Sometimes it is just not worth it. When the NYTimes starts publishing stories of the same quality, that’s when I’ll really start get worried. 😉

  6. 27 September 2008 at 6:56 am

    ‘lesbian’ is just a catchy word to the media whores …

    interesting blog, the title’s brilliant

  7. 28 September 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Ah, thanks so much for this post Aviva. I’ve been thinking about this a lot myself-partially being glad that Lindsay is being open about her relationship, partially sad that that the media is completely disregarding all of her past relationships. But what do we expect in a world that really only accepts gender and sexual binaries? *sigh*


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