Beth Ditto: Really Only Hates A Small Minority Of Gay Men

Aug 22nd, 2007 // 21 Comments

snipshot_e4ongujdgqu.jpgIn an interview with The Advocate, Beth Ditto says her rad-lib queer credentials make her a lesser-of-two-evils voter, with the attendant “George Bush is an illegal-immigrant-raping super-Nazi with a fire-spurting devil’s head on his cock” quote that will be making the blog rounds today. But I’m more interested in her specious “correction” of the flap that bubbled up after her nekkid NME cover and its attendant interview:

Although, since this interview is for The Advocate, I have to ask about your recent comments to the British magazine NME where you blamed gay men for perpetuating the “size zero.” What kind of reaction did you get to that?

I got a little bit of a reaction. Although I think what’s so funny to me — not “funny ha ha,” but “funny strange” is that comment was paraphrased to the max. I know that in America not that many people are familiar with the NME, but everyone in Britain knows that the NME is the enemy. There’s a reason why it’s called “the N-M-E.”

Its coverage is known to be sensationalistic.

Absolutely sensationalistic. Absolutely known for paraphrasing. What I said – and you can still disagree – it was in a list of things that I thought could be blamed [for the size zero] before women were blamed. Like I said, I’m a radical feminist, and first and foremost, I’m a woman. That’s something I’m perceived as by the whole world, and I get the options handed down to me that are handed down because I’m a woman. I didn’t create those standards that I’m supposed to adhere to — those were created for me, and it started before I was born.

That being said, it was a list of things, and half of the list was left out. I mean, one of the things I said which was a very specific thing was gay men in the fashion industry are responsible, not gay men as a whole. But I think it was good, at least, because it got people talking about shit. I don’t blame any one thing, and I would never say “Gay men are to blame for the size zero.” That’s absolute bullshit, there’s lots of things to blame.

Well it’s nice to know she’s now only blaming a miniscule cross-section of gay men, rather than simply blasting the fashion industry as a whole, for fostering fucked-up body issues. Progress! While I have no doubt that Beth likely was misrepresented by the hacks at the NME, and while I’m sure not all gay men in the fashion industry have womens’ best interests at heart, it still feels like an oddly absolutist stance. At least she’s not trying to pretend she never said anything of the sort, no sir. Right?

But if the NME is so known for paraphrasing, misquoting, taking things out of context, and otherwise mangling words for their own “sensationalistic” ends, didn’t Ditto feel any qualms about helping them pander so darn sensationalistically with a nudie cover and an interview that she had to know, based on the above comments, would be manipulated and misrepresented? Or did she only decide/realize the NME was a buncha big meanies after the Internet blowback? Or is she just an attention whore? (I know my pick.) I’m also pretty sure my honorary vagina shriveled up and fell off when I read someone who rolls around with Perez Hilton repeatedly referring to herself as a “radical queer” with (presumably) a straight face. (No pun intended.) Oh the immigrant-raping/devil-cock quote was a paraphrase, but I was totally only saying what she really meant.

Beth Ditto [The Advocate via Gigwise]

  1. hamburgerhotdog

    if not for gay men I would have had to go to work naked today.

  2. dayglo

    My vote is for attention whore.

  3. nyobserver

    I’m not afraid to admit I think there is some truth to what she’s saying. I actually wouldn’t limit it to gay men (whether Tom Ford misognyist types or others more well-intentioned but still objectifying women). I think fashion in general tends to be driven by men, who simply don’t design with practicality – or in this case, realistic body images/ideals – in mind. Think about shoes, for instance. And definitely where clothing is concerned. I happen to like Prada and Jil Sander, for ex. Both women-designed lines that are just a bit more practical, and dare I say, comfortable clothing and shoe products for women.

  4. nyobserver

    and btw: I’m not saying there aren’t male designers who aren’t better are relating to and respecting womens’ needs where fashion is concerned. I’ve got my share of Armani suits, and I love that they immediately sex up my corporate image. I feel great wearing them and I get heavily complimented. Yet they’re still professional, extremely comfortable, fine fabrics that are wearable year-round, and fit me like a glove. They’re my most valued investments.

  5. Bigggnasty

    she’s the first to bite the hand that feeds her. both with the gays and with NME. not surprising, seeing how the gossip’s guitar player is outwardly homophobic. they’re all stance and no substance.

  6. Ned Raggett

    seeing how the gossip’s guitar player is outwardly homophobic

    What the huh?

  7. zaky

    She’s totally right. It’s only this very small percentage of homos who are responsible. Women are not responsible at all—nope. Female designers have absolutely no responsibility nor do retarded women wearing retarded size-zero clothing.

    I’m sure the next interview with her will discuss obesity as a disease—and then she’ll blame her genetics. But not all of her genes, just a small percentage of them.

  8. clandestino

    wasnt it fran lebowitz who said that without the gays the world would be left with only lets make a deal.

  9. Charlie Kerfelds Jetsons Tee

    @clandestino: Didn’t she die in a kiln explosion?

  10. toomanydiscos

    I know Dan Savage said something in his blog to her or somebody else blaming gay men in fashion on the spate of “sizism” and cokehead 14 year old Vogue models.

    Since the late industrial revolution, calorie-rich food became easy and cheap to grow, so everybody could be fat, and not just the rich. That’s why people always bitch about how 500 years ago theirs was the “ideal body type,” because it meant you had enough money to eat and lie around all day without scraping yourfood from the dirt. Hell, in underdeveloped countries where food is hard to find, being fat is still the standard of beauty.

    Naturally, this makes it fashionable to have the time, money and energy to eat macrobiotic meals and work out all day. So Beth, you should probably be blaming the availibility of cheap food before the gay dudes who are co-opting that sense of wealth and luxury to sell clothing.

    And I’m not anorexic or anything, I just don’t like when people say stuff before thinking about historical context.

  11. Mr. Kim Gordons Panties

    So, as a straight man, can I blame plus-size lesbian musicians for my own body-image issues?

  12. larala

    @toomanydiscos: That’s really astute. The fashion world will always fetishize and exaggerate whatever happens to signal high social status in a given place and time. Ultimately it’s more about money than weight.

  13. Breliant

    @toomanydiscos: Another parallel are tans; initially it meant you worked the land, then CoCo made them fashionable.
    Frankly, I have a problem with someone from one end of the spectrum (clinically/morbidally?) having a go at the other end. But that’s our Beth, unrepentant and our generation’s Mama Cass.

  14. johndavidson

    @nyobserver: Fashion in general is driven by men? Because men force women to buy the clothes they design? The implication is that women are just sheep in the fashion patriarchy, loyal subjects who just do whatever men tell them to do. Is that why cover subjects for nearly every women’s fashion magazine is a size 0? Because men buy those magazines?

  15. The Mozfather

    The only reason I would care about Beth Ditto’s size and shape is if she was blocking my view of a hot gay man.

    I mean, really, isn’t this sort of silly? Don’t us gays love our chubby, feisty heroines, from Ricki Lake to JHud?

    And I’ve said this before: gays are definitely the reason all you straight dudes are waxing your asses. However, we’d be parading Kelly Osborne and America Ferrara down Paris runaways if Anna Wintour wasn’t scowling in the front row.

  16. Lucas Jensen

    @The Mozfather: For better or for worse (the latter, most likely), I don’t wax anything anywhere.

  17. nyobserver

    @johndavidson: you make a valid point. I think women do much to perpetuate the objectification and sexualizationn of females in the fashion industry and society in general.

    @The Mozfather: word. and hysterical.

  18. The Mozfather

    @Lucas Jensen: Well, if you did, I give you permission to scream, “Goddamn Gays!” instead of “Kelly Clarkson!” as the strip leaves your ass.

  19. TimGunn

    Pshew, glad I dodged the blame on this one (even if my namesake didn’t).

    And I’ll echo that gay men love big boobs and butts. Bring on the curves! And the vaginas. That shit is so gay.

  20. Luke N Atmaguchi

    FLAP !!! GOT IT !!!

  21. nonce

    At the dentist’s office yesterday I discovered there’s such a thing called Men’s Vogue. (I’m a gay man; someone should’ve sent me a memo.)

    Turns out that it was 90% ads for business suits as modeled by men who are the equivalent of a size zero. But and so: Ditto may have a semblance of a point about gay male fashion designers having size hangups, she should just be glad she’s not a gay man.

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