posted on: Wednesday February 15, 2012
Marisa Urgo ’14 / A&E Staff
Famous beauty Mae West once said that a model is just an imitation of a real woman. While I don’t think this is always true, I am dismayed by the typical models we see today, who are dangerously thin and near unhealthy looking. That is why I’m thrilled to see companies like Dove use atypical models to represent the average female body, imperfections and all. When JC Penney decided to adopt Ellen DeGeneres as its new spokesmodel, I was pumped. Ellen is one of the greatest comedians of our time, who conquers the struggle that most comedians fail to beat–being funny, but delivering clean comedy at the same time. Degeneres is not your typical idea of outer beauty, but she is the epitome of “inner beauty.” She also seems to be a great person with a bubbly personality, and is a humanitarian who donates to charity and celebrates that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. I think that’s a person worth recognizing.
One Million Moms is an online campaign organization that focuses on arts and entertainment and sets to motivate citizens to “reflect Biblical truth.” It was offended that Ellen DeGeneres was chosen to be the new spokesmodel for JC Penney because of Degeneres’s sexual orientation. Their argument is that Degeneres is not representative of the “traditional type of families” who shop at JC Penney. On its Facebook page, One Million Moms posted that JC Penney was “jumping on the pro-gay bandwagon” and ironically quotes Dr. Martin Luther King. Weird… because I remember him talking about people judging one another for the “content of their character.”
I find it ridiculous to look at Degeneres and only see her sexuality. There is so much more to a person than who he or she chooses to take on a date. One Million Moms has every right to its own opinion, but so does JC Penney. If people don’t like it, they don’t have to shop there.
Essentially, JC Penney delivered the same message. Ron Johnson, JC Penney’s CEO, supported both DeGeneres as the company’s celebrity spokesperson and its stance on the protests by saying, “We stand squarely behind Degeneres as our spokesperson, and that’s a great thing, because she shares the same values that we do in our company,” Johnson said on CBS This Morning. “Our company was founded 110 years ago on the Golden Rule, which is about treating people fair and square, just like you would like to be treated yourself. And we think Ellen represents the values of our company and the values that we share.”
DeGeneres, of course, took the comments in stride. Her “haters are her motivators” and responded to the “pro-gay bandwagon” comment by joking that,
“You don’t get a free ride anywhere. There’s no music. And occasionally we’ll sing ‘We Are Family’ but that’s about it.” I commend JC Penney for sticking to their beliefs. Ellen stands for honesty, kindness, and helping those in need. Those are the traditional values she stands for, and those are what any company should be proud to promote.