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An Open Letter to Ellen Degeneres

April 15, 2009

Dear Ms. Degeneres,

Can I call you Ellen? Great. So Ellen, I was at the gym today and I saw a CoverGirl commercial. Guess who was in it? You were! But I couldn’t believe my eyes/ears because the very first words out of your mouth were,

Inner beauty is important, but not nearly as important as outer beauty.

I’m disappointed Ellen, I really am. This statement would be horrific coming from any celebrity or role model, but especially you. I expected better. I think of you as someone who promotes unabashedly being who you are, no matter what the world thinks. You were one of the first major celebrities to come out, and for the most part, you’ve upheld that idea of laying it all on the table and ignoring those people who would try to tear you down.

Ellen, YOU. SOLD. OUT. I don’t mind that you wanted to be a CoverGirl model, or do makeup commercials, but couldn’t you have a better tag-line? Something like, “let your inner beauty shine through, wear CoverGirl”? Or just about anything else that doesn’t blatantly say that whatever you put on your face is more important that who you are, or how you feel about yourself.

I love my body whether or not I’m wearing makeup, and what is on the inside does matter more to me than anything you could ever try to sell me. I still love you for everything else that you have done for women and the GLBT community, but please reconsider the message that your commercial sends to women (and men).

Sincerely,

Lisa

PS – Watch the offending commercial:

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jill permalink
    April 15, 2009 5:33 PM

    I was actually really excited when I read that Ellen would be the new CoverGirl spokesperson. Make-up is part of the lives of many women (though not mine, most of the time), and they use it for a variety of reasons. I hoped that Ellen would personify the woman who used make-up in body-positive, self-supportive ways.

    This is really disappointing.

  2. Lee Snelgar permalink
    April 16, 2009 7:57 AM

    I presume Mrs Degeneres was saying it tongue in cheek.

    • Jill permalink
      April 16, 2009 9:43 AM

      You know, I thought that at first, too. Maybe it’s more an issue of a bad joke. If she is speaking tongue in cheek, the narrative of this commercial goes something like, “Makeup is the only way to make you beautiful! Lolz, jk. Except you really need it so you don’t look old. Double lolz jk.” Though I guess I shouldn’t demand too much more from a cosmetics commercial…

    • Lisa permalink
      April 16, 2009 2:17 PM

      I would like to think that she was joking. But you can watch the commercial for yourself, it doesn’t seem to me like she’s kidding. Or if she is joking, I don’t think most people will get that, so the message that outer beauty is more important is still there.

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