When you think of opposite sex (but heterosexual) gay icons, who do you think of for same sex women?
For same sex men, it’s easy: you have Cher, you have Mariah, you have Dolly, you have Britney, you have Gaga, you have Ethel, you have Grace—you have so many! But for same sex women? Mabe David Beckham? Maybe Bob Villa? Maybe Johnny Depp? There are many women—Dinah, Jodie, Angelina, Melissa, Rosie, Tig, Wanda, Ellen—but few opposite sex, heterosexual men pop up.
This isn’t alarming as much as it’s disappointing. Straight dudes have been letting us all down—especially for the queers who identify most closely with them sexually. We can all be the force of change though, the willing push to enable this to happen. First on the agenda: Meat Loaf. He’s the perfect candidate for a lesbian icon.
As my friend Liam shared a few weeks ago, The Toast took on the challenge in 2014 by offering the obvious Rubenesque rocker showboat. As writer Vanessa Vitiello Urquhart suggested, “Meat Loaf exemplifies everything that’s grand about butchness and lesbianosity in both his music and his public persona.” Why has no one thought about this sooner?
He’s portly and tender, macho and heartfelt. When he comes in as Eddie in the Rocky Horror Picture Show he seems more alien than Dr. Frankenfurter—the only diesel dyke in a production full of fairies. Unfashionable and earnest, no costume has ever succeeded in hiding him or making him a cipher in the manner of a Lady Gaga or a Madonna. Meat Loaf is not enigmatic, and no matter how much dry ice he uses in a live show, he will never, ever wisp.
Like all butches do, Meat Loaf bends gender along an unexpected angle (he’s not masculine, but also beautiful — he’s, uh, the other thing). His physical presence is one of solidity, even lunkishness, which mean that his emotional depths are unexpected and can sink you like an iceberg.
Yes, he is perfect.
There are some faults to the Loaf (He might be Republican.) but he aligns so perfectly with both the lesbian aesthetic and point of view. As Urquhart suggests, perhaps the two need each other? It’s not too late to claim this meat, you guys.
Also: he’s perfect for lesbian parody. Imagine Rosie O’Donnell playing him in a biopic. Imagine frilly costuming and voluminous yet thinning hair becoming a queer trend. Imagine a straight male who is named after a semi-phallic beef log being snatched up by women who love women with the same melodramatic vigor he puts into his performances. Imagine that.
This is a job for all of us LGBTQ persons: let’s make Meat Loaf gay again. He is the perfect women loving hero for queer persons who love women. (And Trump’s America would hate that we did this.)