Saturday, April 23, 2011

Our dear Cate falls under Merkin's myopic gaze

It is an established fact that Cate Blanchett is a favorite of the sapphists. In an international poll of lesbians few years ago, she was voted among the top ten sexiest women in the world (alongside other lesbian faves Kate Winslet, Rachel Weisz, Emily Blunt, and Keira Knightley). Most recently, the Effing Dykes blog made a passing reference to Cate's stature in the lesbian realm: "What does Spring mean? Spring means all the lezzers take off their sweatpants, press 'Pause' on the scratched-up DVD of Elizabeth, and start winding fresh grip tape onto their bike handlebars." In addition, Anne Hathaway has said Cate Blanchett is the one actress for whom she'd go gay—even the straight girls are into Cate. Lastly, like many good lesbians, Cate (who is not a lesbian) has mastered passing as a man, as evidenced by her portrayal of Bob Dylan in I'm Not There. So, yes, we sapphists feel a bit possessive of our magnificent Cate.

Therefore, it was only natural when Cate Blanchett's fabulous face appeared on the cover of The New York Times Style Magazine last Sunday that I would set aside a delicious moment to savor the piece. But, it was not to be. Soon the bitterness of Merkin emerged. Unfortunately, Daphne Merkin wrote the article in the Times. Even before Merkin spewed that dreadful, infamous, sapphobic column about Rachel Maddow in the Times in 2009, she had been persona non grata in the lesbian community. I've even wondered if the whole Stacy Merkin/vagina wig plot on the L Word was a slam on Daphne. I mean, "the vagina wig" character on the L Word was a controversial magazine writer named Merkin. Coincidence? In any case, if you were lucky enough to have missed Merkin's "Butch Fatale" piece about Maddow, AfterEllen sums it up in all its ugliness:
"[Daphne] Merkin has been the subject of much criticism over the years for her ignorant remarks about lesbians, and women in general. After all, she gave up trying to please us gays years ago. 'I'm tired of protecting the sensibilities of the gay community,' she wrote in a 2007 post... Butch Fatale is a no-holds-barred attack on dykes disguised as some sort of complimentary, 'Oh, look — some lesbians have style now' trend piece. Merkin, whose experience with lesbians seems to come from reality television and Perez Hilton, decided to consult an expert for her piece: her gay male friend: 'I don’t think that much about lesbianism,' says a young gay male friend of mine, unwittingly stating the problem in a nutshell. 'No one thinks that much about lesbianism. Who cares?' It just gets worse from there. Merkin goes on to say male homosexuality celebrates 'prettiness and youth,' dating gay icons back to the Greeks. When she thinks of lesbian icons, all she can see is 'Fran Lebowitz, looking surly and bored.' "
Can you believe the Times actually published that? (And, by the way, Merkin wishes she were Fran Lebowitz.) Now, we see that the latest person with whom Merkin is unhappy is Cate Blanchett. It seems Merkin did not get what she wanted from Blanchett—a deep emotional connection, apparently—and so she writes this big complaint about their lunch at the Chateau Marmont. The other major theme of Merkin's piece is hunger. While Cate eats her boiled eggs and spinach, Merkin devours Blanchett with her eyes. Daphne's description of her lunch companion makes Cate sound like a sweet dyke. A sampling: "her bright blond crown of boyishly cut hair," "her face is bare of makeup," "her nails are unmanicured," and, she has "finely chiseled biceps." In addition, "Blanchett is whippet thin and wearing black jeans," "her bone structure is a gift from the gods" "her skin is luminous and poreless and the color of a pale peach," "not to mention her generous mobile mouth."

For the love of God, Merkin, just kiss her already.


Brooke said...

Actually, that's what a merkin is -- "an artificial hairpiece for the pudendum; a pubic wig."

The woman is aptly named.

Sapphist Gazetteer said...

Yes, and Jenny makes the "vagina wig" meaning very clear in the L Word. (The link to that scene is so funny.) But my question is: Was the unappealing Merkin character on the L Word intended as as a direct insult to Daphne Merkin? That's what I'm wondering. Seems too coincidental not to be.