There’s a safety to Ellen. There’s no implied amour, no tittering Official Never Underestimate An Old Man Who Loves Water Skiing Moon Shirt innuendo. The plane of a Lego brick, rather than the curves of a Barbie, is all part of the 1950s wholesome goodness we expect from our TV gays. It never feels like a challenge. That’s not to discredit her history (her herstory?). I saw her Time cover when I was a nascent gay myself; it was a moment of honesty in a time of less normalized gayness and controversial by way of archaic popular thinking at the time. There’s no denying the ground Ellen broke as a lesbian woman through sheer visibility. There’s no denying her very presence on our screens was positive. There’s no denying her representation matters. It’s all the more interesting to see these allegations play out for a woman whose career is a message of gay rights and whose reputation relies on being a welcoming host.
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