Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What's With the Lipstick? Neil Patrick Harris on the cover of New York Magazine

The article by Emily Nussbaum is great. Neil Patrick Harris is awesome (full disclosure: I'm a huge fan.) But the cover photo of the September 21, 2009 issue of New York Magazine, taken by Art Streiber is...

So, is having "Hollywood's First (Openly) Gay Breakthrough Star" putting on lipstick telling everyone:

"Relax and don't be so uptight about gender roles and sexuality."

Or is it telling the people who don't know better:

"Yup. Being Gay means you're a Guy who wants to be a Girl."

A picture, as the cliché goes, speaks a thousand words. What's this one telling you?


Jacqui said...

I'm torn. I'm a big NPH fan, but yeah, sadly I think it's choice B.

fairyhedgehog said...

It's not either/or. To me this says that a lot more gay people are now comfortable with their identity and are coming out, and it also says that a lot of gay men like wearing lipstick. Oddly enough, the gay men I've met haven't been wearing lipstick, especially while working in a school, but then I always treat magazines as unreliable sources anyway.

pussreboots said...

If it were any one other than NPH I would be offended but this sort of thing seems to be his shtick. The cover is also saying to me: "Hey, I'd be gay with or without the lipstick." Not "I'm gay therefore I wear lipstick."

MotherReader said...

It makes me think of an episode of 30 Rock where Tina Fey's character, Liz, and Jenna were going to appear in a magazine photo spread for funniest women. And as they are doing the photo shoot, the photographer throws the experienced Jenna a rubber chicken - and she lets it fall to the floor with a "Nice try." She tells Liz, that the photographers will try to make you do something crazy so they can get a killer shot for their magazine, so you can never catch the rubber chicken. (Of course Liz eats up the photographer's attention and ends up in a ridiculous photo)

My point is that someone needs to remind NPH "don't catch the rubber chicken" because they'll try a hundred shots and use the one that makes people cringe.

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

You know, I actually think "Don't catch the rubber chicken" is a good life-motto, as well.

Great comments, everyone!


J.H. Trumble said...

We girls don't have exclusive rights to lipstick. I say guys, wear it and wear it proud, if you want. Someday, no one will think twice about it.

Isn't that Being gay means you're a guy who wants to be a girl kind of like that old ridiculous belief that a black man using standard English wanted to be white?

Kids keep interrupting me, so no time to make sure this makes sense.

Oh, and don't catch the rubber chicken :)

Harry Markov said...

It creates a rather false image of what being a homosexual is about at least a male homosexual. People often put = between gay and a cross dresser, which I think the case is here. Neil is one of my most favorite celebrities and it's kind of bitter that he'd be portrayed like this. Of course this might be just a failed attempt at being edgy.

Anonymous said...

It reminds me of NPH's reply to Howard Stern's question: "Are you a Top or a Bottom?"

"Which do you want?"

Queer sophistication = good

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Christopher/Mark, that response to Howard Stern was actually quoted in the article!

He was asked whether he was a top or a bottom, and answered:

"whatever you please, man."

Charlie said...

Both men and women should be allowed to wear what they want, whether it's clothing, makeup etc, but I personally don't like the message this picture is sending out to gay teens who're still hiding in the closet. Many of us worry about being perceived as girly and effeminate and this is like saying "being gay is all about embracing your inner femininity" and "all gay guys dream of becoming hairstylists or Broadway dancers and wear lots of glitter and makeup". I can't stand the way the media tries to stereotype us, it makes me angry.

Jerry said...

Its all about selling magazines.
Women will buy it because he is cute. Men--of all persuasions--will buy it because it is so provocative.

What better way to say "queer" than a man with lipstick in his hands--a phallic symbol--putting it on/in his mouth? You don't need to read the article. The whole story is on the front of the magazine. NPH is a genius.

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Jerry, that phallic symbol aspect of the lipstick is a great, um, point!


Ross Eldridge said...

Seems to me that NPH is an actor, a performer, a bloke who puts on masks for a living. Surely that is what the cover photograph tells us?

We live in a world (grew up in one) where musicians and other artists are and were quite happy to wear make-up. Be it Francis Bacon, Alice Cooper, Frank Zappa, Adam Lambert, Billie Joe Armstrong, Quentin Crisp, Boy George, no end of pop singers. And how many men have coloured or highlighted hair?

It's just a look. Not an exclusive right of gays.

This jumping to the conclusion that ANY male wearing make-up MUST automatically be gay is a leftover from those stupid Bible movies of the 50s and 60s when the men in Sodom were portrayed in make-up. Never mind the straight rulers of Egypt wore very interesting make-up.

A green carnation in the lapel, on the other hand, might be a come-on ...