Yesterday, news came out that “family values” (i.e. anti-gay bigotry) group OneMillionMoms.com has started a petition against clothing retailer JC Penney for hiring Ellen Degeneres as a spokesperson. Do they really think this is a fight they can win?
“Funny that JC Penney thinks hiring an open homosexual spokesperson will help their business when most of their customers are traditional families,” writes OMM in a statement. “More sales will be lost than gained unless they replace their spokesperson quickly. Unless JC Penney decides to be neutral in the culture war then their brand transformation will be unsuccessful.”
First, would it kill them to hire a copywriter? Someone who understands adverbs? That paragraph is hurting my eyes. Second, it would hardly make them “neutral” in the culture war to fire Ellen Degeneres for being gay. That would be taking quite the position, no? The position that lesbians are gross, depraved, and totally unfit to promote boxy casualwear, when everyone knows they look great in it. It’s also ridiculous to think straight people won’t buy JC Penney’s clothing unless their spokesperson is straight, too. Ellen’s marriage only erodes “family values” if you think that for every gay marriage that occurs, a straight marriage immediately crumbles.
But the biggest reason this campaign is stupid (on a practical level at least), is that it is Ellen. People love Ellen. I mean, look at her. She’s fucking adorable! Ellen and Portia de Rossi are probably the most famous lesbian couple in America, and also the most accepted by the mainstream. They are the nice, normal, white, cisgender, cuddly same-sex couple that dimwits can look at and begin to realize that gay people are people, too, just like them. Ellen gives college scholarships to homeless girls, helps cute animals find homes, and even dances with the president (although OMM probably doesn’t like him, either). She has the most general of general interest shows on TV. She is basically the white lesbian version of Oprah, in that even my racist old family members love Oprah. Everyone but the most horrid of anti-gay bigots smiles when they see Ellen’s shining face on television, and that’s why OneMillionMoms.com picked a strategically disadvantageous target for their hatred. Not that there’s ever a “good” target for shit like this.
Then again, I don’t think anyone at OMM thinks they’re going to win this fight. They’re just using this as an excuse to spew yet more gross rhetoric about people who are different from them. I doubt Ellen is letting it get to her; I’m more worried about any gay kids the people at OMM might have.