US tabloids are dying of anticipation and entertainment reporters' heads are detonating all around the world at the suggestion that Portia De Rossi (DeGeneres), wife of Ellen, our very own Amanda, might be taking part in the first same-sex pairing on US Dancing With the Stars. I suppose they’ve covered their Tea Party bases with the inclusion of Bristol Palin this season, so they have to dip into the liberal team, and why not ‘sex it up a bit’ with some girl on girl dancing?
It’s a shame for the Americans that their risqué idea is not a world first, as sports presenter Gili Shem-Tov beat them to it earlier this month on the Israeli version of the show.
Australian audiences are seeing a fair bit of Portia this week, with the release of her book 'Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain,' Portia’s account of her battle with body image, anorexia and celebrity. We’ve seen the confronting and devastating photos of her at her lowest weight, and heard her accounts about the power of her disease and the demands of celebrity.
I admire Portia; she’s an extremely intelligent woman who has faced great success while battling personal demons. She’s not only dealt with - and hopefully beaten - an eating disorder, but during all this came out as a lesbian…something that I am sure is confronting and challenging for anyone, let alone someone in the public eye.
What really interests me is that during her publicity tour, it has been rumoured that Portia requested not to be interviewed by men.
I asked my Twitter followers if they agreed or disagreed, or didn’t care either way about her request.
One follower said “it is when your (sic) always preaching equality & acceptance.. #disappointing”. Gee whiz, when it comes to preaching anything, I think ‘equality and acceptance’ aren’t shoddy things to be preachy about. It’s a touchy subject that can easily be misconstrued. I get it.
Another follower suggested that Portia maybe only feels comfortable talking to a woman about such sensitive topics. I get that as well.
I don’t see this as an equality issue. It seems like it’s a bit of an equality contradiction. I don’t believe it’s connected to Portia’s sexuality, the topic of the book, or her gender. Working in the media, you see press releases every day. Most of the time it’s TV execs and journalists who are making requests of the talent, not the other way around. People who write books do interviews to sell the books. Portia’s famous; when it comes down to it, she probably doesn’t really need the publicity (hello, her wife hosts one of the world's most successful talk shows), she’s a great interview, networks jump at the chance to talk to her and rightly so, but what would a man have done differently? The men I work with are sensitive and rational people. I can’t imagine them knowingly offending someone, especially when dealing with such sensitive issues… asking inappropriate or crass questions…maybe she’s has negative experiences in the past?
Should celebrities and personalities have the right to request these sort of arrangements? Does it make any difference to you?
I still think Portia’s rad. (Arrested Development is my all time favourite TV show.)
The opinions expressed in The 7PM Side Project blog do not necessarily reflect those of The 7PM Project or the Ten Network.