I've been following the Lindsay Lohan/Samantha Ronson coverage pretty closely, and there's some interesting commentary from Kate Aurthur at the Los Angeles Times:
While many celebrities themselves have stopped hiding their same-sex relationships, the media have not until Lohan followed suit. Michael Musto, an openly gay columnist for the Village Voice, who himself has never engaged in that kind of self-censorship, has noticed a change. As Musto sees it, we've reached a moment in which the Lohan-Ronson pairing can simply be reported as a fact because people have, you know, eyes.
"Traditionally, the media has been as interested in closeting celebrities as the celebrities themselves have been," Musto said. "I've read things in gossip columns that would never go there in the past and realized, 'Wow, they're going there now.' They don't consider gay a dirty thing anymore. And it's very cool."
Jared Shapiro, the editor of Life & Style, said that the Lohan-Ronson story has indeed presented a unique set of issues for celebrity magazines. "Why is this couple different than every other couple?" Shapiro asked rhetorically recently on the telephone. "We know they're not friends -- we know they're in love, we know they're dating.
But for every interesting article like that that actually has something to say, there are umpteen headlines like this one:
"Lindsay can't stop cuddling lover Sam as they go on ANOTHER public date"
Call me crazy, but...aren't all dates public? I get that it's The Daily Mail and all, but come on. We've either come a long way or...we haven't. These are the kinds of headlines and incredulousness I think we're going to see a lot more of. Oh, and comments like this one:
Are you sure Samantha Ronson is a woman? She looks looks like a man!
- Ama Hinson, Luton Bedfordshire, 18/7/2008 17:15
Pretty much every site that allows comments has gotten some like this. Maybe same sex couples are getting treated with a teensy bit more tolerance in celebrity media, but butch/femme? Not so much.
What's also been interesting, with neither Lohan or Ronson officially talking about their relationship status, is the media's reliance on their social networking profiles (not without criticism). Apparently, the first of these Facebook pages is the official Ronson one. She reportedly changed her Facebook status to "in a relationship," much has been made of her official MySpace photo, and Lohan reportedly changed her name on Facebook to "Lindsay Ronson."