Barbra Streisand has been a gay icon for years. When footage of a gag she played with Harrison Ford on a 1980s movie set started spreading in 2011, people didn’t say much. In the video, Barbra Streisand is dressed as a dominatrix and is whipping Harrison Ford into submission. It’s all funny until Harrison Ford keeps asking Streisand to hit him. Then, Barbra answers, “I feel like a faggot!” It’s incredibly shocking and heartbreaking for Streisand’s legends of gay fans.
The video didn’t quite cause a stir in 2011. It was immediately removed (perhaps by Streisand’s legal team) from YouTube before damage could be done. But on Wednesday evening, several social media sites and music message boards started linking to the site Blastr, which features the grainy video of Barbra Streisand saying words that could lose her many devotees. Fans took to Twitter to show their distaste for Streisand.
Streisand’s words reek of hypocrisy, especially since she has been an activist for left-wing politicians and causes for years. Even more upsetting is the fact that Streisand has a gay son, Jason Gould. According to a Yahoo! News interview, Barbra Streisand’s gay icon status definitely had an influence on him and the people he associated with.
“I’m sure it has in many ways. At one point I was very uncomfortable with it. Now somebody can be a fan of hers and it’s not threatening to me. There was a time when I was uncomfortable and not sure whether people like me for me or liked me because they liked her. But that can be pretty transparent after about 10 minutes.”
In 2012, Barbara Streisand talked to Pride Source about Jason and her gay icon status.
“He doesn’t see me as an icon. He sees me as his mother who touches his hair too much. No – I love being an icon to anybody. Equal rights, you know!”
It’s important to put the whole homophobic slur thing in context. In the 1980s, being homophobic was in style. But artists like Madonna, someone who Streisand has allegedly mocked behind the scenes in brutal ways, took a stand against homophobia back then. While Streisand was using slurs equal to the “N” word among gay men, Madonna was organizing AIDS benefits, educating the gay community about safe sex, and denouncing homophobia in several interviews. Elizabeth Taylor was another icon who stood by the gay community, despite the risk involved.
It’s doubtful that Streisand is still homophobic. In fact, it’s quite silly to associate Streisand with anything anti-gay. A lot has happened over the past 30 years. Still, Barbara Streisand has a past she must face, even though it’s unfortunate that a silly video may damage her reputation.
[Photo Credit: Gay Star News]