So the BBC has announced its ‘100 Women‘ list. The aim of the list is to present 100 women who have made the news. Included on the list are scientists, politicians, women’s rights campaigners…
… and a man.
Named on the list is Conchita Wurst, the alter ego of Austrian Thomas Neuwirth, who won the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest while performing as a Colombian female star.
It’s a great act and Neuwirth/Wurst was the clear winner on style, talent and presentation. Conchita’s win kicked off international discussions about gender, sexuality and inclusion. Many commenters have seen Wurst’s win as a watershed moment in the international struggle for LGBT rights.
But Thomas Neuwirth self-identifies as a gay man.
Neuwirth is very, very clear that he is a gay man who has chosen to perform in drag for artistic reasons. He has been clear in interviews that he is not transgender. He is clear in his ‘100 Women’ interview that , when he goes home at night, he takes off the wig and lashes. His performance explores gender and sexual fluidity, but at no time does he declare himself an actual woman.
Or a citizen of Colombia. Which he could probably become, just for the asking.
What’s worse is that the BBC interview about the listing doesn’t even attempt to address questions about gender and sexuality. The interviewer just asks inane questions about fashion. She asks if Conchita finds her feminine clothes comfortable and when Conchita answers that she’s in constant pain from wearing them, the interviewer fails to follow up with what could have been an interesting discussion on just why very feminine clothing is so brutal. But she doesn’t. In fact, she doesn’t ask anything that could have been illuminating at all.
If the artist himself is clear that Conchita Wurst is an act that finishes at the end of the day, then why is the BBC identifying her not just as a woman, but as one of the top 100 women making the news?
The 100 Women season is a chance for women to be represented, involved and inspired – and we want you to have your say.
OK, BBC, here’s my say: if you want a list of 100 Women, you need one more. Because, right now, you’ve got 99.
And that’s according to Conchita Wurst herself.