Why Rachel Maddow in Eye Shadow Depresses Me

Let’s first talk about Mal.

I met Mal in Boston when I went up there for the premier of my play.  And she was… hot might not quite be the right word… there might not be a word yet in the English language.  But let’s go with hot.  She’s hot in a way that makes you want to put on a huge frilly dress with an enormous hoop skirt with your bosom all up and your underthings all lacey and ribbony so that when you lift up the front of your dress to properly scamper away all laughing and blushing, she’ll get that you actually have no intention of running very far and so she should indeed give chase.

I, of course, did not admit this to her and I tried my very best to keep any giggling and blushing and scampering to a minimum, out of respect to her and her wife.  Even now, I’m not trying to make some grand confession of love.

I just want to speak frankly and honestly about what it is about her that I find not just attractive, but overwhelmingly hot.

And the reason I bring up that, when I think of her, my first reaction is to laugh and blush, it’s because she is very erotic, but in a way that suggests that everything is open to play.  It’s a kind of erotic of the possible, that we might and should try anything, to see what feels good.

I bring this up, because when I first saw Rachel Maddow on Keith Olbermann’s show, I was like “Oh, there’s the TV version of Mal!”  Rachel Maddow was just hot as shit–smart, funny, quick on her feet, good looking–hot just like she was.


And then she got her own show.  And first it was the fake eyelashes.  And now it’s the eyeshadow.  And the bushy hair.

And I get it.  First of all, no one in the history of television news has ever put a woman who looked like herself on camera.  They’re all dolled up and appropriately conventionally prettified.  And I am sure that there are some assholes at MSNBC who cannot imagine that straight America will watch any show hosted by a woman who doesn’t look like she’s taken into consideration the aesthetic comfort of straight men.  Never mind that people, presumably a bunch of straight people, watched her on Olbermann without dying of discomfort.

But the thing that cracks me up and depresses me at the same time is that Maddow, how she is, is hot.

This?  This is hot.

This?  Argh, so darling.

And this?  I’ve had fantasies about being naked between the two of them (though Mortensen has, in my fantasies, better facial hair.  Scruffy, scratchy, sparkley facial hair, that gets your smell all in it after… Um… yes, where was i?).

Rachel Maddow in eyeshadow?  Not that hot.  Eyeshadow, I know, and poofy hair and long, flirty eyelashes–these are all things that are supposed to signal “attractive.”  And I could rail on about bullshit patriarchal beauty standards and whether we ought to be objectifying the women on our television screens in the first place.

But that’s not what depresses me.  No.  What depresses me is that Maddow in eyeshadow is so less attractive than Maddow just being herself that it must be obvious to anyone with two eyes to see.  She looks like she’s dressed up for Halloween, wearing a costume.  It looks ridiculous.

And yet, every night, there she is, “prettied up” in a way that makes her much less attractive.  Dare I say, strangely neutered?

Is it really that scary to have someone unconventionally attractive on screen?  So much so that the only solution is to make her more conventional, but less attractive?


10 thoughts on “Why Rachel Maddow in Eye Shadow Depresses Me

  1. I totally agree with you. I love her show, but I have to look away sometimes. I think because of how stupid and awkward I feel when people try to “pretty me up.” She must get straight into the shower after the camera turns off.

  2. She was on the today show, today still in Floria, talking about Obama’s entreview and she had no make up at all, hell her skin even shine so not even base powder, it was clear the diference, and although i rather her dike, some help there would have been good.

  3. It shows someone elses discomfort with her true look, how she looks without the paint.

    They didn’t *hire* her to get pretty.

    (Or maybe someone at MSNBC is one of those tired retro fools that wants to ‘change’ her.)


  4. What I find interesting is whenever she guests on any other channel (for example, the Daily Show) she looks so relaxed and so unlike she does on TRMS. I dunno… To an extent, it’s just like dressing up for work… something you have to do.

    I hate makeup, but I have to wear it when I go to important professional things, you know?

  5. I like Rachel with the make up. I think she’s beautiful with or without. She has a successful show on MSNBC and she’s doing what she can to be a continued success. She will always be who she is, not what you or I think she should be, and if that’s wearing make up to appeal to a wider audience then KUDOS to her. I think there’s enough pressure on her to perform for the gay community as is…she shouldn’t have to, she’s just ONE person. And that should be okay.

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  7. I love Rachel’s eyelashes – maybe she is using Lattise or Nuelash. If so, I want to know and use what she is using!

  8. I love her with or without – and I totally get your point

    But I think if she didn’t wear some makeup, and let’s be honest, she wears much less than most women on TV, then her not wearing makeup would be more of a story than what she’s trying to say.
    And ultimately, what makes her so freakin’ hot, in my opinion, is how incredibly intelligent she is. If it takes a brush of purplishpinkish eyeshadow to get people to pay attention to that, I’ll allow it.

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