Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Seal of Approval: Dancing with The Stars/Beth Ditto

I guess I'm a little late on this one, but Dancing With the Stars is kind of an amazing show. I always heard about it, and was like, "This is the most European concept ever," which it totally is. But it's kind of amazing because it, unlike every other show on TV, is so straightforward. All these "stars" (Aaron Carter!!! Wooooo!!!) have to learn a complex routine with another person, put on a ridiculous outfit, and dance their heart out. That's it. No one gets special treatment (well, the guys don't have to wear heels and wigs and dresses, but at least they have to wear high-waisted pants with a matador jacket and no shirt) and they all just seem, so, well, eager to please. Clearly this is the highest of high camp (especially that one supergay judge), but no one is acknowledging it because they're too busy dancing. It hearkens back to another, simpler celebrity era, when we expected our stars to be all-around entertainers who acted, sang, did impressions, told jokes, tap-danced and smoked a high-tar cigarette all with a smile on their face (That clip is so cool! There is a guy with peg-leg break-dancing for serious. Why is tap-dancing by far the best kind of dancing?)

It's like, what do celebrities really do these days (besides coke?) Nothing! But not on this show! Doesn't it kind of make sense that we expect these people to be skilled at something? And even though the people on DWTS aren't especially talented, at least they're trying. There's something so...humble about it!

I'm still rooting for Kelly Osbourne after all these years, too. Plus, she did do a dramatic dance to "Crazy Train" with crazy hair. And Ozzy came to watch her. I was touched. She seems pretty cool on that show! Apparently she's a crowd favorite!

Secondly, my second Seal of Approval is also kind of late, and goes to Beth Ditto, after I watched this style.com clip of her. Like many hipster feminist types, I first saw The Gossip way back in the early 2000s when I was but a teenager, and it was like, "Here's this fierce cute fat girl who takes her clothes off [in an aggressive/nonsexual way]! Wow!" (It was also like Wow! because we had just seen The Donnas. Remember them? They sucked.)

Kind of like seeing Kelly Osbourne on TV though on a far grander scale (Kelly Osborune was, after all, mostly pretty annoying), it was pretty mind blowing/empowering at the time, so the fact that Beth is actually Famous now is really cool because she is a completely, completely different role model from every other famous pop star today- describing yourself as a "fat feminist lesbian" who grew up "poor" and "butch" on a website owned by Vogue is the kind of thing we need a lot more of. She also seems to really love and appreciate fashion in the outsidery, all-encompassing way that it should be loved. And she is one of those rare people who is managing to affect (however small) amount of political change through art, music, fashion, etc., without being preachy or boring. She also seems to love novelty prints- just like ME!!!!

Should Beth Ditto go on a special episode of Dancing With the Stars? In a word, yes.

Gee, my posts have been so warm and fuzzy lately. Maybe I will go to Urban Outfitters today.


Gaby said...

Yeah--you're high on TV, woman!

melissa said...

i didn't know who else to show this to: http://www.forever21.com/heritage1981/product.asp?catalog%5Fname=FOREVER21&category%5Fname=81Woven%5Ftop&product%5Fid=2065349475&showBACK=OK

Simone said...

I think Beth Ditto is aggressively sexual, but not in a way that pleases men (because duh she's a total lez). So, her fierceness isn't nonsexual, it's just not mainstream sexual, because she owns it! She owns it the most!

I do find it odd that the Gossip switched over to total dancey music - I mean, I like dancey music, nothing wrong with that - but I guess having seen them at the very beginning at, like, the bottom of the hill it was a big shock to me when they started to jazz it up, so to speak. I say, more power to them. More women like Ditto need to be visible in mainstream pop culture.

M said...

agreed about the sexual thing. yeah, i feel kinda "whatever" about the gossip's music, but they did switch over to dancey a long time ago, before they started getting so popular.

omg, a plaid shirt bodysuit. everything is converging at once!

Anonymous said...

I have to ask if you remember old Alloy catalogs?
Y'know, when they were fun and didn't consist of 17 different styles of earth-tone, cable-knit sweaters for $40 a pop.
I often dream about still ordering the faux fur, glammy pink/purple glitter jackets or the cloud-print pants or the snake-print platforms. I miss outlandish novelty prints...