This week during a chance viewing of Y&R, I saw two very intriguing commercials: Ellen DeGerenes hawking Cover Girl cosmetics and a man dressed as a pregnant woman in a Taco Bell ad.
Ellen, America’s favorite goofy lesbian, is featured in an ad for Cover Girl Simply Ageless makeup with Olay Regenerist serum. Cover Girl has been known to showcase models such as each America’s Next Top Model winner, Rihanna and Queen Latifa. While I was shocked when Ellen came on my TV for a commercial and I about fell out of my chair when I realized it was a commercial for cosmetics. I can’t remember another out lesbian as a spokesmodel for a major cosmetics line. I know RuPaul did the first Viva Glam campaign for MAC Cosmetics, but to see Ellen, a woman who seemingly doesn’t worry too much about makeup off screen, selling makeup is refreshing. She is one of the last people I would expect to do something like this.
And I suppose if a drug store brand was going to pick a lesbian as a spokesmodel – albeit the safest lesbian in show business – it would be Cover Girl. Their slogans usually try to be more inclusive than other brands, and Queen Latifa – a beautiful, but larger woman – has long been a spokesmodel of theirs. Overall, I am going to say this is a positive move.
The clip of the commercial below is not the exact ad that I saw, but it was the only one I could find and is close enough. Here is Ellen as a Cover Girl.
In another commercial, Taco Bell is using drag to sell nachos. A man is waiting for another male friend in front of a sporting event, and when the other male friend arrives he is dressed like a pregnant woman. The waiting friend replies “Dude, drag?” and the man in drag lifts up his shirt to reveal a clear sphere showcasing the three types of nachos that can be purchased at Taco Bell for less than a dollar.
And while I don’t really think Taco Bell was intentionally trying to make fun of drag queens – or in their minds, probably transwomen – it isn’t really funny. It paints drag performers, cross-dressers and transpeople all in a negative light because they are usually viewed as the same by mainstream America. And Taco Bell is saying that their nachos are so delicious and so cheap that they are worth a man giving up his male privilege by dressing like a woman to have. This is extremely evident through the first man’s reaction to the man in drag.