Years ago, if you would have told me Beth Ditto would be gracing the covers of fashion magazines and being a real fierce advocate for gay rights in the mainstream media, I would have called you crazy.
“There’s no way the general public can appreciate Beth as much as we do,” I would have said. But in true Ditto style, she has not only made it big, but continues to speak her mind — whether it’s about gay marriage or plus sized clothing.
In an interview with Spinner.com last week, Ditto was informed of Katy Perry’s reaction to her alleged remarks about Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl.” Just to recap, everyone was reporting that Ditto called Perry a “boner dyke” who was “offensive to gay culture.” Though it is unclear as to if Ditto or Gossip drummer Hannah Blilie made the comment, Beth stood by the statement when she found out Perry said she wasn’t “impressed” with Ditto:
I feel guilty because it is such a funny expression and Hannah didn’t get the credit for it. But I don’t feel differently than Hannah.
It’s not about Katy Perry. It’s about this song and its innocence on her part. To [Katy], it’s just this party song. But as a gay person, it’s like, “Oh, of course this straight person singing about kissing a girl goes straight to Top 40 and people buy this record. Who can give a f–k about real gay people?” That’s what’s really painful about the whole thing. That’s what makes me laugh about “I’m not impressed.” It’s like, “Oh, that’s what you think? Of course, because you never thought about what a real gay person feels, and the impact that a song like that has on the gay world in a time of crucial civil rights.’ That’s just one of the examples of what the mainstream is thinking about queer culture, when actually, we are completely fighting for our rights right now.
While obviously it’s not Perry’s fault that gay marriage isn’t legal (in most states, that is), we can see her concerns. Everyone wants to sing along with her song, perhaps kiss their BFF for shock value at a party and get wasted on the streets of the nearest Pride parade — but does the general public actually care about gays past that point? Ditto goes on to explain how the lack of rights for gay couples has affected her personally:
I’m 28 years old … I had surgery when I was 23. My partner was kicked out of the room — at that time, we’d been dating for four years or something — and in the rudest, most f—ed up way. That s–t is real, and that’s what I don’t think people realize. They’re like, “Oh, gay marriage.” No, you try being a really scared 23-year-old in this hospital room that’s 3,000 miles from home, and the only person that you have is your partner, who can’t stay because you’re not married or they’re not your relative. That’s insane and absolutely scares me to death.
I don’t care [Perry] writes a song about kissing a girl, but there are people who kiss girls in their everyday life, and it’s not as easy as just kissing a girl and everyone loving you. It’d be really rad to hear her talk about something like that.
Unlike the Prez, it’s nice to see someone really out there, discussing how denying marriage to gays isn’t just about a ceremony and reception — it’s about actual civil liberties being denied to a group of tax paying American citizens.
Aside from her “battle” with Perry, Ditto has also been busy with the new Gossip album, Music for Men (summer dance jam heaven, by the way) and getting her new clothing ready for its July 9 debut. Jezebel.com gave a preview of the line last week.
The line is available in sizes 14 to 24 only, and the UK-based store Evans, where it’s being sold, ships to the U.S. (but watch out because the size conversions are a little different).
The brightly colored clothing reflects Ditto’s personal style — and it’s really cool that she backed up her opinions about fashion options for bigger ladies by doing something about it.
Say what you will about Beth Ditto, but there is no question that she is a woman making the most out of this cruel, cruel world.