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From Prime-Time to Daytime: The Domestication of Ellen DeGeneres

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Ellen DeGeneres was celebrated. She was chastised. And then she was cancelled. Her current success makes it easy to forget how short-lived her lesbianism initially lasted on television (less than two years). Ironically, in the aftermath of Ellen's, demise we witnessed a profound increase in queer characters, themes, and programming as well as her own spectacular comeback. Moving beyond most academic consideration of Ellen DeGeneres' initial emergence as lesbian celebrity, I highlight the cancellation of her sitcom as a particularly crucial moment for understanding the fierce multilayered disciplining of Ellen's public persona. Further, I consider the disparate discourses and entertainment journalism that articulated a public/private DeGeneres with her television character(s), working to shape her public persona in the interest of preserving prevailing cultural norms.
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Keywords: Articulation; Ellen DeGeneres; Heterosexual Hegemony; Lesbian Visibility; Tokenism

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-12-01

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