Leave Ellen Page Alone!

by Melissa Silverstein on July 22, 2010

in Actresses,Lesbian

NY Mag’s Vulture (which by the way has some of the most provocative and great reporting about pop culture) pissed me off earlier this week with their piece on Ellen Page’s “asexual” wardrobe in Inception.

First, that whole term “asexual attire” seems highly coded for “see even her film characters make her look like a lesbian.”  And building on that, how do you get to wearing jeans with a bizarro neck kerchief makes you asexual?  If a guy had been wearing that type of wardrobe this conversation would never be happening.

Second, I thought it actually was really cool that Page was able to create a character that was not your typical looking girl side kick character (which was the part she played in the film.)  Her character did have indie written all over it but she came to the Inception team from a different place than the guys on the team.  She came from school.  Maybe she had no money.  Those boys had been running around the world doing dream espionage for who knows how long (and by the way what year do you think it is in the film?)

Third, since when do actresses pick their own wardrobes?

Ellen Page is not a glamor girl.  When she’s dressed up in a skirt and heels she always looks like she is trying too hard, probably because she is.

She is an indie girl through and through.  The good news is that we have a female character is a large scale successful studio movie who doesn’t have to be glamorized.  Shouldn’t that be something we celebrate rather than criticize?

I’m just glad she got a good paycheck for this film so now she can go on and make some other awesome indies that the terrific Whip-It.  I don’t care that people didn’t see it, it rocked.  I want more of those films.

The Ellen Page Inception Look: Asexual Chic
(NY Mag Vulture)


{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

JihadPunk77 July 22, 2010 at 3:14 PM

lol… i can’t believe the idiots at NY Mag took the time out to write a dumb article like that. You’re right, this conversation wouldn’t happen if Ellen Page was a dude. Also, how hilarious is it that some males have their knickers in a twist over the fact that Ellen Page, an A-list actress, has no desire to “glam it up” for the male gaze (and even then, I hate it when dudes assume that women glam it up just to please their f–king male gaze, when in fact women are doing it for themselves only)..

I wish Inception would come out right away on DVD, but I have to wait so I can watch the film with closed captioning. I am SO dying to see this right now.

Kai Jones July 22, 2010 at 3:14 PM

I went over and read that column, and left a comment to the effect that Ms. Page was given costuming that presented a non-conforming style, and the complaint seems to be that she wasn’t dressed conventionally pretty. Blegh.

Chris Evans July 22, 2010 at 3:35 PM

Um, what the fuck was “asexual” about her wardrobe and what exactly is that supposed to mean??? Are they attacking her simply because she was a female character in a major film that WASN’T sexualized for once???? God this pisses me off.

takingitoutside July 22, 2010 at 3:39 PM

You know, when I watched Inception one of the things that struck me was how much Page’s character actually looked like what she was supposed to be: a talented student. She’s got an individual, not too complicated and not absurdly sexy style, and yet she can pull out a decent-ish suit if necessary.

In particular, I was struck by the (fancy) hotel scene where Mssrs. DiCaprio and Gordon-Levitt are dressed in (fancy) suits and Ms. Page has on what looks like That Suit Bought on Sale At Macy’s For Job Interviews. We’ve all had that suit. You know we have. And it’s entirely appropriate for her character at that point in her life. The wardrobe really gets across that Ariadne is in college, hasn’t got a ton of real-world working experience under her belt but is at the point in life where she has to start worrying about getting an actual job. Instead of people complaining about her clothes, I wish they’d complain about how few female characters are dressed like her.

Meesh July 22, 2010 at 5:10 PM

I find it hard to believe that someone would write the original article, therefore making it necessary for you to have to post a rebuttal, but thank you for posting one.

Julie Kerr July 22, 2010 at 6:20 PM

I thought Ellen Page looked cute in the movie. Ellen Page isn’t glamour; which is awesome; she’s Ellen Page.

I think it’s all about tastes. The men I know can have quite diverse tastes as to what kind of women they are attracted too. Some are attracted to assertive women, some are attracted to big and beautiful women, and yes, there are plenty of men who would watch Inception and totally want Ellen Page to be their girlfriend. Even the geeky guy charmingly steals a kiss from Ellen Page in the film and it’s cute.

Ellen Page plays roles that are not meant to give men boners and that’s awesome. She plays roles that melts some dudes hearts. Plenty of men are crushing on Ellen Page; just as she is.

All movie audience members deserve their own version of eye candy. Ellen Page is great eye candy for more thoughtful men, subcultural men and plain old loveable geeky men…Indie men.

Megan Fox just doesn’t do it for everybody. Thank God, for us geeks; we get Ellen Page :).

d July 22, 2010 at 7:01 PM

I can’t say I am surprised by this at all. I’m glad you wrote about it Melissa, although after reading all those replies, I wonder if it is going to change. People are so quick to say exactly what an architect student looks like, not realizing they can look like anything, and that how you dressed is colored by all sorts of factors. I actually thought the last line, about how this should have been shown with the standard pair of glasses – made me ill.

A long time ago I was watching “How Do I Look?”, and the episode really stood out to me. One woman didn’t have what many would consider zany, or stained, or otherwise odd looking clothing. She just wore clothes that were loose, some very baggy, and some just a little.

She was in a store, and another woman, a customer, was interviewed (they were soliciting opinions about her former attire). The customer said that she had such a lovely body. The woman brought on the show asked if she had to display her body just because it looked good. The customer replied yes, and that was the going opinion of the show as well.

I’m sure it’s been said or hinted at other places, but at the time for me, it stood out because it was spoken so plainly: females are obligated to display their bodies in revealing, or form fitted clothes under virtually all circumstances. Unless you’re a child, or gay, or overweight (because then people don’t want to see you at all, really), then you’d still better dress in a visually pleasing way to everyone else. So if you are a scientist you must look like, say, Denise Richards in the Bond film.

If Alicia Keyes can look on her past clothing (which was what? braids, pants, cool hats?) and agree that she dressed like a lesbian [I say if because that info was relayed to me by a friend] – then we have a big, societal change to make.

Scott Mendelson July 22, 2010 at 7:05 PM

I thought she was kinda hot in Inception (she would have looked even hotter WITH glasses). Wasn’t anything to obsess about in my review, but it crossed my mind. She’s like most women. Sometimes she looks great (Inception, Whip It), sometimes she does not (Peacock, Juno). What’s cool about Page is that her attractiveness is usually beside the point in any given role (save for, ironically, Hard Candy).

Katherine July 22, 2010 at 10:10 PM

…BUT I LOVED HER WARDROBE! It made me reconsider the pros and cons to the “hipster” wardrobe. (Mostly that I feel like I can’t pull it off.) I vowed to wear more scarves in the fall, which is a big (and shallow!) step for me. Later I marveled that the movie allowed a female character to be brilliant without boobs or a sex scene. I didn’t think it was because of the actress but because of the script. I want to live in my dream world!

Allison July 22, 2010 at 11:24 PM

In a lot of summer blockbuster films, the female characters are just there as eye candy. Ellen Page is not eye candy in Inception. She’s not sexualized. Aside from a brief kiss with Joseph Gordon Levitt, she doesn’t get romantically involved with any of the male characters. So she get labeled “asexual.” Marion Cotolliard is sexy and desired by Leonardo Di Carprio, so she’s left alone.

Also, notice how Ellen Page doesn’t just play a girlfriend or wife in the movies. She doesn’t pose naked or in a bikini in some men’s magazine. So maybe that bothers some people. I find it refreshing!

Chris Evans July 23, 2010 at 12:13 AM

Exactly Allison!!

Debbie Zipp July 23, 2010 at 12:28 AM

I am speechless at such stupidity. She is very young. She is cute and young and extraordinarily talented! What is wrong with being that? Has it come to the point that if you don’t dress like a sex pot you are asexual? Oh my. What are we saying to our young women?

Linda Binda July 23, 2010 at 2:34 AM

“That Suit Bought on Sale At Macy’s For Job Interviews”


Considering that I’ve done just this recently, I’m definitely embarrassed… and amused. :)

I really appreciated how Ellen Page was as much of a contributing character to DiCaprio’s team as were all the others, and even though …


…I was expecting Page to become a love interest for DiCaprio, when that didn’t happen, I was even more impressed. I’m beginning to appreciate Nolan’s contributions to film. :3


I really enjoyed this movie, and her character especially. It looks like, now that Nolan has built up his cred with the Dark Knight, he will now get to make complex movies like this one, with ethnically diverse casts and non-stereotypical female and minority roles. I’m really eager to see what he does in the future.

rashmisinha July 23, 2010 at 4:12 AM

# As of 2008 she is the fifth youngest actress to receive a Best Actress Academy Award nomination at the age of 20 years and 335 days after receiving a nomination for her performance in “Juno” (2007). The younger actresses are Keira Knightley, aged 20 years and 311 days, for her role in Pride & Prejudice (2005), Isabelle Adjani, aged 20 years and 235 days, for her role in Histoire d’Adèle H., L’ (1975), and Keisha Castle-Hughes, aged 13 years and 309 days, for her role in Whale Rider (2002)


ann July 23, 2010 at 9:26 AM

I thought they did a great job with the wardrobe. For once a female actress actually looked liked her real character…a geeky college student. I find it distracting when they dress female detectives, FBI agents, doctors etc… in super tight clothing and low cut blouses with their boobs hanging out. It almost telegraphs, no matter how high you climb or what you achieve your value is how sexually attractive you are to the guys.

Speaking of sexually attractive. How hot is Tom Hardy!!! For once I felt like I had eye candy in a film.

Chris Evans July 23, 2010 at 10:16 AM

“Speaking of sexually attractive. How hot is Tom Hardy!!! For once I felt like I had eye candy in a film.”

Um hello!!! Damn, I couldn’t take my eyes off him. lol

Jenny July 23, 2010 at 12:23 PM

The Salon reviewer made a similarly annoying statement, calling Ellen’s character (derisively) “androgynous.” First of all, what’s wrong with androgyny? Secondly, she wasn’t androgynous. She (and the role her character played in the film as Leonardo DiCaprio’s secret keeper) read as quite feminine to me.

The charitable view of these reviewers who complain about the “sexlessness” of characters like Ellen’s is that they’re so used to hyper-femme movie characters in heels and push-up bras. And of course, many women wear heels and push-up bras. Many wear drapey tops with adorable neckerchiefs, structured jackets and skinny black pants. It’s a great look — Ariadne dresses like my friends and I do, actually.

cgeye July 24, 2010 at 3:20 AM

Tom Hardy looks good in a movie? Damn, but ST: NEMESIS did a numba on him…

As for Miss Page, well, in Hard Candy her abs were rockin’, and her bee-stung lips gave you no ambiguity about her sexxiness. And, I know it’s wrong. Inception, her character’s place was not to be sexy, and praise “Bob” that Nolan actually gives a damn about all his characters making sense.

(quietly ignoring BB/TDK’s broads….)

Rebecca July 27, 2010 at 2:57 AM

I’m a college student about to graduate in a year. I thought Page looked chic, stylish, and….well, HER CHARACTER’S AGE.
I also wanted to steal her entire wardrobe for myself. Save the Macy’s first interview suit. XDDD
And for those who are complaining about her excessive use of scarves; the name of Page’s character was Ariadne. Those who know their Greek Mythology will immediately understand the allegory parallels, and her character’s penchant for scarves….particularly RED ones. (lol)

I loved Ariadne; she came on as a character, and intregal part of the team. There was no mention whatsoever about the fact that she was a female college student, she was just one of Cobb’s father’s best and brightest students. The fact that she was a female didn’t matter. She came onto the team, was given the rundown, and was seen for her contributions and how she was a major piece of the puzzle that made up the team NOT because she was a girl – but because of her SKILLS! What she could bring to the team!! And on top of that, her wardrobe fit her character!!!

My god, if there were more characters in Hollywood like Ariadne, it would make such a difference in this hypersexualized world.

Oh, and I just came off of watching Hardy as Robert Dudley in BBC’s miniseries The Virgin Queen. Oh good lord! *fans self*

Amanda April 10, 2011 at 6:54 PM

Thank you, Rebecca. I was beginning to think I was the only one who knew their myths.

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