The Butch Fatale

It’s official.  Everyone in the universe is crushing on Rachel Maddow.

Lesbianism has finally come into a glamour of its own, an appeal that goes beyond butch and femme archetypes into a more universal seduction. Her name is Rachel Maddow, the polished-looking, self-declared gay newscaster who stares out from the MSNBC studio every weekday night and makes love to her audience….

This is from Daphne Merkin’s latest style dispatch for The New York Times, “Butch Fatale,” which describes Maddow as the embodiment of a new out and proud media-friendly “lesbian glamour.”   Suddenly it seems that “pretty” butches like Maddow and Ellen Degenerous are the new face of lesbian chic.   Merkin states that “Sapphic archetypes tend to raise questions more than answer them.”   I agree, but this is equally true of the butch fatale, which is probably what makes her such an intriguing figure.

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9 Responses

  1. OMG. I admit I’m part of the RM fan club. I come home and my roomates know that it’s RM, a glass of Cab and Me. *giggle* And let’s not start about when she uses ‘inflated’ language…SWOOON!!!!

  2. very true. what a bizarre article, though. i guess it was nice to see “butch” in a mainstream publication, but… two pages on how straight people think gay men are more interesting than lesbians? the whole “wallflower” theme read like such an anxious insistence: this article is from the point of view of the straights! oh well, i’m probably being contrary as usual. i don’t read the nyt too much anymore. (and my maddow fandom is a pale, pale flame compared to the *burning* admiration my darling f.g. has for her. so it could be residual bitterness talking, too.)

    I think your comment about the wallflower bit is exactly right. And I hope your darling f.g. won’t mind if I say that I’d choose a butch like you over RM any day of the week! xo SF

  3. Yeah, I have to say I have total Hot Panties for RM, but that article… is it me, or did it feel like those compliments were a little backhanded?
    Maybe it’s just me.
    ….Yay, Rachel Maddow!!!

    No it’s not just you. “Lesbianism has FINALLY come into a glamour of its own”?! Wow, thanks so much Daphne Merkin! BTW has anyone in the LGBTQ community ever used the word “lesbianism”?! And why the hell did she include that snarky quote about how “Sapphic love is just an excuse to put on weight?” It’s so great getting all this “positive” press, isn’t it? xo SF

  4. While I really do like RM, I have to question everyone gushing over her. Yikes, I must be the only one not actually smitten with her *looks*, but do love the positive eh, exposure we’re getting.

  5. I’ll admit, R.M. doesn’t do much for me, but I think she’s a good commentator and it’s great that she has her own show. I haven’t read the piece, but it’s published in the NYT? I can no longer even get riled up over what is published in that paper when it comes to social/cultural pieces…I’m too through with them.
    Ok I take that back (rant):
    Really? “self-declared gay”….really? What is with straight ppl and the “avowed lesbian” and such phrases? Nobody says “self declared heterosexual.”

  6. It’s also funny that “lesbians” (as if we’re some homogenous group) “come into a glamour of our own” only when we manage to amuse straight people.

  7. i’m with leo; bizarre article. i guess the weirdest thing, to me, is that this is a style article. as is most of the “news” i’ve seen about maddow. like the most interesting thing about her is that she can be butch and look good (who knew butches could be hot?).

    i think there’s been a misunderstanding here – perhaps we should clarify that this crush has something to do with her whole bein’ smart or funny thing. (actually, it’s the classic cocktail obsession that hooked me, but i suppose you get my point.)

  8. I’m scared to read the article, as I am scared that it will make me return here and unleash a strain of expletives never before seen on Sublime Femme!

    I am, oddly enough, not on the RM train. I haven’t got anything against her, but she doesn’t make me go all giggly and swoony like Ellen does!

  9. I’ve never gone ga-ga over DeGeneres and won’t melt over RM, because I’m not a melter. I think Rachel Ray pretty cute tho’ but I don’t spend the time watching her show–I’d rather get something productive done. Femmes are much more interesting than a fellow Butch, IMO.

    I know everyone loves Rachel Ray and I’ll admit she’s cute if you like that girl-next-door, America’s sweetheart kind of thing. Personally, I prefer Giada, the Sophia Loren of Italian cooking: here’s her website. Although I admit she’s really too distractingly beautiful to be a TV chef. Who can pay attention to what she’s cooking? 😉 xo SF

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