Spring Awakening: What Women’s Obsession With Ruby Rose Says About Sexuality + Society in 2015

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Ruby Rose is breaking the internet. But unlike Kim Kardashian, she’s making a cultural impact.

The smoldering 29-year-old Australian actress/model/DJ is the latest addition to the cast of Netflix’s wildly successful series, “Orange is the New Black.” On the show, Ruby plays the role of Stella Carlin. But, according to social media, Ruby is now playing an even more interesting [and unlikely] role — lesbian heartthrob for straight women.

Combining a soft, made-up face with a hard sense of style — complete with tattoos and a slicked-back crop cut — Ruby masterfully straddles the gender-bending line between masculine and feminine sex appeal. She’s the poster child for androgyny.

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It’s trendy for straight women to have a “girl crush” — that is, admiring a woman who is so beautiful, so fabulous, and so successful that they, in essence, want to be her. But the magnetic obsession with Ruby is different. Straight women don’t want to be her — they, apparently, want to be with her. And that’s a first.

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But this actually makes sense, because “OITNB” has already produced a very strange and intriguing cultural phenomenon. It’s gotten hetero gals en masse to watch — lesbihonest — a predominantly sapphic show. For the first time (ever?), mainstream media is navigating the “alternative lifestyle” frontier through main characters, and it seems to be sticking with audiences.

Regarding “OITNB,” one of two things has happened. Either the writers intentionally and slyly duped millions of straight chicks into watching the prison version of “The L Word” (in which case Stella is giving Shane a run for her money), or hetero women are knowingly watching and enjoying a — gasp! — non-hetero show. And they don’t GAF.

The latter would say a shit-ton about where we are as a society; as a nation.

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Aside from the astronomical sociopolitical advances the LGBT community has enjoyed over the past few years, an increasing number of some of Hollywood’s most relevant female figures have come out as spectrum sliders, including: Miley Cyrus, Cate Blanchett, Cara Delevingne, Evan Rachel Wood, Ke$ha, Shailene Woodley, Fergie, Michelle Rodriguez, Anna Paquin, Megan Fox, Amber Heard, and Tinashe.

As a result, it seems straight-identifying women are becoming more comfortable with having more options to, well, identify with. Many are also acknowledging, through cultural incidents like the Ruby Rose craze, that sexuality is not black and white.

There are undoubtedly countless women who, having binge watched season three of “OITNB,” are laying awake at night trying to untangle and interpret their mystical attraction to Ruby. What does it mean? Am I a lesbian now? 

NEWSFLASH — you can incidentally be attracted to a woman, and it doesn’t nullify your attraction to men. It simply adds to the beautiful complexity of your sexuality. And that’s not a bad thing!

Through “OITNB” and Ruby Rose, we are witnessing a rigid, close-minded society make a metaphorical U-turn, and redirect in a very ambiguous, openminded, label-less direction regarding, not only sexual orientation, but gender as well. And Ruby’s viral fandom may be a sign that we’ll soon reach our destination.

Recycled-Novelty-What-Ruby-Rose-Sensation-Says-About-Straight-Women-Sexual-Orientation-Orange-Is-The-New-Black-by-Whitney-Leigh-Young-5We caught up with LA Lady Founder Jennifer Mergott, whose commentary on the subject was most enlightening. She says:

“There’s a line in OITNB, where Piper says, ‘What? You don’t consider yourself to be a woman?’ Ruby’s character, Stella, replies, “I do, but that’s only because my options are limited.” I think part of the newfound obsession with Ruby Rose comes from a growing intolerance for gender norms. Ruby represents — in an exceedingly beautiful package — what it means to reject society’s definitions and rely solely on your own. And what is more attractive than that — especially to women who are born into life as the disenfranchised gender — is to be strengthened by the undefined rather than pigeonholed in fear. It’s sexy and subversive, provoking and powerful. People are attracted to Ruby Rose because she seems to remind us of what we can be. Free.”

Ah, yes. Freedom. Freedom from labels, judgment, intolerance. Freedom from the shackles of the irrelevant and archaic. Freedom to feel without questioning, translating, or dreading the meaning of those feelings. Freedom to be unapologetically as we are.

It’s not a girl crush. It’s an awakening.

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