Friday, February 29, 2008

KT Tunstall parrots Beth Ditto's gay designer slur

Last year, one of the many times Ditto stuck her foot into her mouth was when she blamed gay men for size zero. KT Tunstall has now reached the same conclusion:

"I think the whole culture stems from the fact that many of the top clothes designers in the past were gay men. And so you've got this fantasy young boy figure. Six foot, no boobs, no hips."

Yes. It's all down to those gay men. Of course it is.


Jack said...

Now watch this article appear in the weekly top ten from now until eternity.

Anonymous said...

Calm down, dear. She's just regurgitating a long-lived theory, it's not quite the hate crime you appear to wish it was.

Anonymous said...

I actually know several fashion designers who have said the exact same thing, so...

Olive said...

"...many of the top clothes designers in the past were gay men. And so you've got this fantasy young boy figure. Six foot, no boobs, no hips."

This is a non-sequitur isn't it? Surely if the clothes designers of the past were obsessed with this fantasy young boy figure, they'd have just designed clothes for boys?

Besides, why would the sexual orientation of fashion designers of the past affect the designers of the present? That must be a bloody strict apprenticeship!

Anonymous said...

Now watch this article appear in the weekly top ten from now until eternity.

Pretty much. I'm looking forward to a lot of entertainment from clueless anons on this one. *rubs hands together excitedly*

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

who said anything about hate crime? It's a tiresome slur - and, as you say, she's just regurgitating it. Which is a good reason to call her on it. Just because a theory is long-lived doesn't mean we shouldn't be worried when someone who commands attention starts parroting it. Otherwise we'd still have the blood libel with us.

@ h:
So designers say the same thing? And that makes it acceptable because...?

@rachel / sven
not unless someone throws in the phrase "double-ended dildo" or something, it won't.

Anonymous said...

Bah! Why for you tempt me?

Anonymous said...

It doesn't necessarily make it 'acceptable,' but my point is that there is perhaps a grain of truth in there, however unpalatable or wrong-sounding that truth may be. Is it still a homophobic slur if an out gay man says it, or only if a woman does?

In the end, neither Ditto nor Tunstall should really be dragged over the coals for this, especially as it appears to be something about which they feel rather strongly. Sometimes people just put things badly, I think.

On a side note, the word verification code I have to type is bigpc which actually seems appropos...

Anonymous said...

Oh this isn't coal-dragging, far from it, believe me... Also, just to nitpick, just because someone feels rather strongly about something doesn't make it correct (well, unless you go with Stephen Colbert's "gut over brain" approach). For instance, I used to live next to neighbors who felt strongly that I should burn in hell for dating other chicks, go fig!

Is it still a homophobic slur if an out gay man says it

Possibly. Ever hear of internalised homophobia? Or "house negro"?

But seriously, I'm interested in this grain of truth you mention. There are gay male fashion designers who deliberately create women's clothing that encourage unhealthy and unrealistic beauty standards for women? Whyever for? Is it on the gay agenda? And why do they care how women look? So many questions...

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

But is there a grain of truth in it? It sounds like a lot of half-assed pieces that are getting linked together to prove 'something':

some fashion designers are gay men

most fashion models are size zero

therefore gay men are forcing women into unhealthy body shapes.

And that Ditto and Tunstall "feel strongly" about it makes their trite trotting out of the line worse, not better - the implication that gay men working in the fashion industry are so gynophobic they force models to diet beyond the point of health is actually quite a serious claim to make without anything to back it up; worse, it lets a lot of people who should be getting called on their attitudes off the hook. "Some people put things badly" just isn't good enough - if you're not able to communicate without managing to start trotting out homophobic myths (which 'gay designers try to make female models into boys' is, I'm afraid) then perhaps you shouldn't be setting yourself up as an expert on the subject.

Anonymous said...

There may be a grain of truth - a very small grain - though again, I'm only going by what's been said to me in the past. I don't think it's an 'agenda' thing, neither do I think it's by any means institutionalised.

My point was, and remains, that neither Ditto nor Tunstall are really being homophobic or hateful (and while I don't know much about the latter, the former is hardly someone at whom the charge of homophobia can be leveled with a straight face).

Anonymous said...

H: Gotcha. But the only accusations Simon has leveled at Tunstall and Ditto in this post is of utilising a "gay slur", a "tiresome slur" and of "trotting out homophobic myths". He has not here gone so far as to accuse them of being homophobic or of committing hate crimes, and to say that he's done so is to either miss the context or resort to straw-manning.

At the very least, there's definitely some Morrissey-esque foot-in-mouth going on with these two.

Also, re Ditto: the 'gay designer' bit is part of an on-going series of poorly thought-out ramblings. Her attack on Angelina Jolie's bisexuality showed some pretty sad ignorance that some have construed as verging on biphobia.

(And yes, gay/bi people can be homo/biphobic too...hell, it's practically a star hobby for Republican politicians over here in the US. ;])

Anonymous said...

simon hb said "Who said anything about hate crime" and "homophobic myth".

I really didn't see this as homophobic, more as a decades-old question as to whether a fashion industry mostly staffed by gay men will design clothes to make the average woman look fabulous, or will naturally tend to designs which flatter androgenous or downright manly women.

Mind, I don't follow Tunstall and Ditto other than through your excellent blog, so for all I know they may have a history of making "misunderstood" comments.

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

Gibbo - there's a subtle difference between suggesting gay designers design to try and make their models look androgynous and saying that size zero models - and the resultant self-abuse by young women attempting to emulate them - is enforced on women by gay men. I'm sure KT wasn't trying to be hateful - I imagine she'd even be mortified if she thought that was the logic of what she was saying. But that's part of the problem.

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