1. From AfterEllen and an article about Evan Rachel Wood in Nylon: "While looking at fashion magazines, she describes herself as a “tomboy in heels,” and comments that photos of the lesbian model Freja Beha Erichsen in the French Vogue are 'hot s--t.'"Given that there has never been any official confirmation from either Freja or her agencies regarding the subject of her sexuality, I think it's wrong for these sites to write what they did. They're being assumptive when they should be fact checking. Most of us are assumptive too, but most of us aren't news sources either. Sites like these reduce her down to being the lesbian model, and this ignores the entirety of her talent and the work she does. This ignores the fact that she got to where she is based on grit, determination and hard work, not on the basis of her sexuality. Moreover, this makes it seem like her sexuality is the only thing she's notable for and the only thing she's identifiable by. Like it will be her lasting legacy, even though throughout her career it's been more of a non-issue. Just something curious fans pondered about. But now it's like Freja has become the token lesbian model despite the fact that she hasn't officially made her sexuality public knowledge. Instead she has always focused on the work, preferring to live the rest of her life well outside the public view. I feel like these sites are being disrespectful of that. And I cringe from the thought that in 10-20 years time, Freja will just be a footnote that reads "lesbian model" when she is so, so much more.
2. This old post at Jezebel, "Is British Vogue Afraid of Lesbians?"
I really hope no one takes this post the wrong way. I don't think being deemed a lesbian model is a bad thing, but when you're dealing with a model of Freja's status, I feel like it's kind of dismissive. It would be like sites writing the "big breasted model" in regards to Lara Stone, or the "model with the mole" in regards to Cindy Crawford, if that makes sense. I'm just irritated by this and it's hard for me to explain why. It's not out of disbelief. (Lord knows the world would be a better place if people were more open and proud of their sexuality...normalcy helps to temper the violence that's bred by ignorant hate.) It's not out of aversion. (The world could definitely use more lesbian and gay prefaces to names.) It's more out of a respect for Freja's privacy and a desire to see her given her due credit. I already know some of you will think I'm being ridiculous or overly sensitive (there sure seem to be a lot more of you out there nowadays); but I just think this is all uncouth and invasive, especially since we all know how private of a person Freja is.
Besides, why is there such a need to know who she is off the runway? Isn't it enough that she's a tremendously talented model who gets a ton of work? Shouldn't that satisfy us as fans? Or does all of this stem from a desire to set Freja up as a role model of sorts? (Top of her industry, well known, not exactly open about her sexuality but not dismissive or afraid of it either....these qualities don't come around all that often in the modeling industry.) If this is the case, I completely understand the impetus behind it. But I also think that if you're going to herald a person for being a specific way, that person should be able to openly embrace that aspect of themselves that you're heralding. There shouldn't be any hesitation or question about it. Confirming something and not saying anything about something are not the same thing. I'm not going to call Freja out for being a vegetarian if she's never said that she's a vegetarian. Even if I only ever see her eat veggies, it's just not my place to say unless she says so herself, because for all I know she eats meat too. Even if the possibility is small, it's still a possibility until it's been refuted. Hmmm, maybe that wasn't the best analogy since you choose vegetarianism while you're born with sexuality, but it's all I could come up with.
Call me old-fashion, but I still place value in privacy and I still think that personal matters should remain personal, not spread around without consent. Sadly in this day and age, there seem to be less and less people who feel this way as things like facebook and twitter allow us all to indulge the stalker within. I shudder to think what things will be like in 5-10 years. Anyway, your thoughts on the matter? Do you think it's ok for sites like AE and Jezebel to out Freja? Or do you think her sexuality should be left out of the discussion completely? Keep in mind that Freja is a model and not a celebrity. She didn't implicitly sign away her rights to privacy when she started to model 5 years ago. Model-as-cult-celebrity is a very recent phenomenon spurred on by the proliferation of the internet's role within the fashion industry. And it's an entirely different phenomenon from the era of the Supers. So I don't believe it's fair to cop-out and say that this is just part of the job, because it isn't and it shouldn't be.
(And yes, I'm fully aware that this post is kind of hypocritical seeing as I'm talking about the very thing I'm essentially denouncing, but this is the first and last time I will address this topic. Sometimes you have to participate in the very thing you're speaking out against in order to make your point. It's the classic complicit vs. subversive dilemma. All you humanities majors should be very familiar with this.)