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Nov 25 2013

“Is He Gay or Straight?” Bisexual Eradication in “Modern Family”

modern family posterIn the last few weeks, I’ve started intermittently watching the TV show “Modern Family.” There’s a certain amount that I like about it, as well as a certain amount that I don’t. (Often the case with fluffy mainstream-ish pop-culture entertainment. I want it to divert and distract me, but it often winds up annoying me and tying my brain into knots. Fluffy mainstream-ish pop-culture entertainment largely exists to reinforce cultural norms — that’s what makes it fluffy and comforting and mainstream — and I generally don’t find cultural norms comforting, they generally annoy me and tie my brain into knots.)

So I was watching the “Yard Sale” episode (I’m watching the show out of order in syndicated re-runs) — and I wanted to throw my drink at the screen. And I’m not even drinking these days. I wanted to mix myself a drink, just so I could throw it at the screen.

The plot line that was making me mad: Teenage daughter Alex has a new boyfriend, Michael, who she brings to the extended family’s yard sale. Her mom Claire is worried that Michael is gay, and she calls in the gay uncles Cam and Mitchell for a consultation on the matter: the three of them observe Michael’s stereotypically gay behavior, and agree that he’s gay. We see a scene in which Michael is alone with Alex, continuing to act stereotypically gay, but getting very defensive when she asks him point-blank if he’s gay or not.

And for the 787,266,456th time in my pop-culture viewing life, I wanted to scream, “Did anyone consider the possibility that he might be bisexual?”

Why are “gay” and “straight” the only options here? When the grownups decided that Michael was probably queer, why did that automatically rule out the possibility that he might be genuinely into their daughter/niece? Why did nobody consider the possibility that he might be a queeny queer guy who likes girls?

I have known some very queeny bisexual men. I have known some very dykey bisexual women. I know some very queeny bisexual men in serious or primary relationships with women, and some very dykey bisexual women in serious or primary relationships with men. (I’ve also known some queeny straight men and some dykey straight women, but that’s a post for a different day.) Why does tagging someone as “probably queer” automatically mean that if they’re dating someone of the opposite gender, they’re deceiving themselves or flat-out lying?

For the record, I do think gaydar is a thing. It’s not a magical thing, it’s not like some psychic connection queers have with each other: it’s more of an unconscious adding-up of lots of personal and cultural signifiers, it’s very culturally determined and it does go wrong. But yes, I think queers probably are, in general, better at figuring out who is and isn’t queer. (Although I’d be very interested to see research testing this theory.)

But queer guys can like girls. Queer girls can like guys. Even very classically queer girls and guys can like girls and guys. And we’re not even getting into people who are gender-queer, gender-fluid, or don’t identify on a gender binary… and who have all sorts of orientations in terms of what genders or lack thereof they’re attracted to. Not to mention people who are traditionally gendered, but who can be attracted to people who aren’t. Queerness comes in lots of different flavors: simple homosexuality is only one of many.

I think this bugged me even more than it might have because “Modern Family” is supposedly all about breaking down standard gender and family expectations. It’s supposedly all about how modern American families aren’t Ozzie and Harriet any more (not that they ever were): they’re commonly blended, multi-racial, mixed-generational, adoptive, and/or same-sex. And yet here it is, reinforcing the tired old notion that everyone is neatly divided into two groups, gay and straight, and never the twain shall meet. Eradicating even the possibility of bisexuality along the way.

One of the things that sucks most about being bisexual is not being recognized by either straight or gay people. It sucks having it assumed that having sex with both women and men means, at best, that you’re confused or experimenting or trying to find yourself. It sucks having it assumed that if you’re in an opposite-sex relationship, you’ve sown your wild oats (and have renounced any right to be part of the queer community; that if you’re in a same-sex relationship, you’ve finally found your true gay self. It sucks having past relationships seen as false, depending on whether they were with the same gender you’re with right now.

It sucks to be treated as invisible. It sucks worse to have even the possibility of who you are be eradicated.

(And yes, I know. This is fluffy mainstream-ish pop-culture entertainment. It’s just replacing an old set of cultural norms with a new one. It still bugged me.)

39 comments

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  1. 1
    doublereed

    But they’re characters in a show. They could very well treat bisexual as not an option. People do that all the time in real life. That’s kind of the attitude I started to take with a lot of entertainment and I find them much more enjoyable.

    Though yea, it would obviously be good if someone in the show raised that question. I suppose I just generally give entertainment the benefit of the doubt.

  2. 2
    carlie

    I suppose I just generally give entertainment the benefit of the doubt.

    For the snarky version of a retort, read 5 ways you don’t realize movies are controlling your brain.

    Also, it’s easy to give entertainment a blanket benefit of doubt when it’s not you they’re erasing from their version of reality. It’s not “this erasure makes this thing terrible overall “so much as “goddammit, it would be so easy not to do this thing that erases a whole group of people, why do they persist in doing it, especially since they’re alienating part of their paying audience?”

  3. 3
    pacal

    Tried to watch Modern Family, and just could not get into it. Basically the two Gay guys exist to reinforce the notion that Gay guys are “really” inside queeny queens. Thus the show comforts and reassures the audience that their stereotypes are for real and not to be challenged. In other words the show co-opts and reinforces “mainstream” delusions. And in this world queeny straight men cannot exist because that would indeed upset the viewers and challenge them.

  4. 4
    Forbidden Snowflake

    But they’re characters in a show. They could very well treat bisexual as not an option. People do that all the time in real life. That’s kind of the attitude I started to take with a lot of entertainment and I find them much more enjoyable.

    That they’re characters in a show isn’t the point. A TV show’s narrative can treat the characters doing it as perfectly reasonable, or as ridiculous, or as horrible bigots, or as anything you like, without actually changing what the characters are doing. So if the reaction is presented as reasonable, and they are not countered or proven wrong, then the stereotype exists on the level of the writers, not just the characters.

  5. 5
    Russell Glasser

    For your edification, here is the codification of everything you are talking about in this post:
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NoBisexuals

  6. 6
    doublereed

    For the snarky version of a retort, read 5 ways you don’t realize movies are controlling your brain.

    Also, it’s easy to give entertainment a blanket benefit of doubt when it’s not you they’re erasing from their version of reality. It’s not “this erasure makes this thing terrible overall “so much as “goddammit, it would be so easy not to do this thing that erases a whole group of people, why do they persist in doing it, especially since they’re alienating part of their paying audience?”

    No, I just think there are an absurd amount of ways of failure. I disagree that “it’s that easy not to do this thing,” because there are so many things that are easy not to do. And I actually think it’s far easier to look from the outside of the creative process and say “come on, how could you not notice that!” when in fact it’s difficult to notice that on the inside with all those wonderful biases that people display all the time.

    For this instance in particular, I don’t know if maybe they did have a line of someone bringing bisexuality up. They could have, but then later scrapped it because it wasn’t funny, or because of time, or because they felt it didn’t add anything.

    So yea, I tend to give entertainment the benefit of the doubt. Shrug. Makes it more enjoyable.

  7. 7
    doublereed

    I think #3 pacal has a much more serious complaint as it is more consistent with the show as a whole. A single error is different than consistently making the same error.

  8. 8
    Raging Bee

    I suppose I just generally give entertainment the benefit of the doubt.

    Depending on what doubts you have to let slide, you may want to reconsider what you accept as “entertainment.” If giving a TV show “benefit of the doubt” means shrugging off blatantly stupid or misleading stereotypes, I’d suggest giving REAL PEOPLE the benefit of the doubt, and not bothering with a show that treats them in a dubious manner.

    Unrealistic aliens or technology I can sort of live with. Unrealistic political/economic scenarios, a bit less so. Unrealistic or incomplete human characters, forget it — especially when said characters are based on simpleminded prejudice.

    Then again, “Modern Family” is just plain irritating to watch, so I never get to judging it on its stereotypes. I’m just not a sitcom guy.

  9. 9
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    Totally agree with you Greta. The (next to) no bisexual people thing is extremely annoying, both in pop culture and in real life. (And the extra annoyance that when someone bi finally does appear, they’re almost always looking to indiscriminately boff anyone that happens to come by).

    I’ve also known some queeny straight men and some dykey straight women, but that’s a post for a different day.

    When I read this, it reminded me of a Canadian show called Being Erica. It’s about a woman who is assigned a supernatural therapist who takes her back in time to relive things in her past that she regrets (better than it sounds). Anyway, in the first episode or so, she gets a job at a publisher and her co-worker is queeny in the extreme. Erica assumes he’s gay and one day (I think a couple of episodes in) makes a comment that telegraphs that assumption (like asking if he’s currently got a boyfriend or something) and he acts a bit surprised and tells her that he’s straight. Nice way to overturn *our* assumptions as an audience.

  10. 10
    doublereed

    Depending on what doubts you have to let slide, you may want to reconsider what you accept as “entertainment.” If giving a TV show “benefit of the doubt” means shrugging off blatantly stupid or misleading stereotypes, I’d suggest giving REAL PEOPLE the benefit of the doubt, and not bothering with a show that treats them in a dubious manner.

    Unrealistic aliens or technology I can sort of live with. Unrealistic political/economic scenarios, a bit less so. Unrealistic or incomplete human characters, forget it — especially when said characters are based on simpleminded prejudice.

    That’s fair. I agree with what you’re saying. Stereotypes and characters based on prejudice are actually quite terrible and unrealistic. It actually destroys the suspension of disbelief.

    I don’t really watch Modern Family, so I don’t know how painfully stereotypical the gay people are.

  11. 11
    carlie

    Unrealistic aliens or technology I can sort of live with. Unrealistic political/economic scenarios, a bit less so. Unrealistic or incomplete human characters, forget it — especially when said characters are based on simpleminded prejudice.

    Yes, this – entertainment really only “works” when you can relate in some way to any of the characters in the thing. That’s what storytelling is, it’s reshaping and reframing the human experience. If none of the characters are believable, the entire thing falls apart.

  12. 12
    Inaji

    Greta:

    One of the things that sucks most about being bisexual is not being recognized by either straight or gay people. It sucks having it assumed that having sex with both women and men means, at best, that you’re confused or experimenting or trying to find yourself. It sucks having it assumed that if you’re in an opposite-sex relationship, you’ve sown your wild oats (and have renounced any right to be part of the queer community; that if you’re in a same-sex relationship, you’ve finally found your true gay self. It sucks having past relationships seen as false, depending on whether they were with the same gender you’re with right now.

    It sucks to be treated as invisible. It sucks worse to have even the possibility of who you are be eradicated.

    QFT, every word. I’ve been dealing with all that for decades, and I wish I could stop dealing with it.

  13. 13
    cressida

    My first thought was that this is another example of the “one drop of gay blood makes you gay” rule. It reminds me of all the talk about Javier Bardem in Skyfall as the “first gay Bond villain,” apparently because he makes a pass at Bond at one point during the movie. So that makes him “gay”? Despite the fact that he clearly has a girlfriend? WTF?

    Americans like their men 100% straight and masculine. Display the slightest interest in a sewing machine, or engage in a second’s curiosity about what it might be like to suck cock, and boom, you’re “gay.” No gray area.

  14. 14
    Nentuaby

    Yeah… As a pansexual man in a LTR with a pansexual woman, I seriously hate that shit.

    Bi-erasure gave me a lot of hell in my teens; I couldn’t work out my sexuality because the entire narrative of sexuality has it that there comes a time when you suddenly have a massive predilection for one sex over the other. It might either, but any emotion you feel toward more than one gender can’t really be sexuality, right? So what the hell’s going on?

    I couldn’t deal with the confusion, and that basically led to me forcibly shutting down my sexuality for years. :(

  15. 15
    jamessweet

    I enjoy watching Modern Family on occasion, but it really is a very conservative show, all things considered. It’s heartening that in 2013, I can say that about a show that features a gay couple with an adopted daughter… but it’s still a deeply conservative show.

    I’ve got this sort of pet theory, that a lot of the revulsion surrounding sexual preference comes from the fact that for a lot of people, particularly if they haven’t had a lot of exposure to people outside of a narrow heteronormative perspective, when they hear of something that is not familiar to them they compulsively think about the person in question having sex. Which can be disturbing. Or perceived as risque, in the case of a network TV show like this.

    In 2013, most people have been desensitized enough to the idea of gay people that they can see a gay couple portrayed on TV in a nonsexual way, and they don’t immediately say, “OMG, they just talked about gay sex on TV!” But that same desensitization hasn’t happened with bisexual people, so you portray a bisexual person on TV, and even if there is no actual reference to sex, it comes across as horribly dirty.

    Ideally, the solution is for people to just lighten the fuck up. This de-sexualization hurts everybody. Gay couples can be portrayed on TV, but only if it’s not sexy at all. Ozzy and Harriet have to sleep in separate beds. Please. It’s so stupid.

    Less ideally, but probably more practically, hopefully people will just eventually get comfortable enough with the idea of bisexuality that it can be mentioned without it being automatically perceived in a sexual way.

  16. 16
    bjwise82

    I hate that shit. I haven’t given Modern Family a try, but it sounds stupid. Unfortunately, that shit is everywhere. It’s almost worse the way gay people do it when they KNOW what it’s like to have their sexual identity so cavalierly dismissed.

  17. 17
    Greta Christina

    But they’re characters in a show. They could very well treat bisexual as not an option. People do that all the time in real life. That’s kind of the attitude I started to take with a lot of entertainment and I find them much more enjoyable.

    doublereed @ #1: I might agree with you, if it weren’t for the “787,266,456th time in my pop-culture viewing life” part. In pop culture, this happens over and over and over and over again. Characters speculate on whether another character is gay or straight; determine them to be one or the other (often by seeing them dating or kissing someone); case closed. It’s not just that you hardly ever see bisexual characters, even in movies or TV shows that have gay ones. It’s the the very idea of bisexuality is never even considered. You could argue, “Oh, that’s just what these particular characters would do”… but when it happens again and again and again and again and again, it stops being “just what these characters would do,” and starts being “how our society sees sexual orientation.”

    And it’s more disturbing when it comes in a show that specifically positions itself as being all modern and sophisticated about sexual orientation and relationship possibilities.

  18. 18
    Nathaniel Frein

    It reminds me of all the talk about Javier Bardem in Skyfall as the “first gay Bond villain,” apparently because he makes a pass at Bond at one point during the movie. So that makes him “gay”? Despite the fact that he clearly has a girlfriend? WTF?

    See, this leaves me feeling conflicted, because, at least to me, Javier Bardem is so obviously being played as the Depraved Bisexual. So on the one hand it frustrates me to no end to see bisexuality used as a way of further distinguishing that a person is “not normal”, but on the other hand the talk of his character being gay and not bi leaves me thinking (and wanting to shout) “Can we at least have this much recognition?

  19. 19
    Nathaniel Frein

    That said, I would totally go see a Bond played a la Edward Fox’s Jackal.

  20. 20
    Gregory in Seattle

    Just out of curiosity: what bisexuals have been shown favorably in media? The only one that comes to my mind is Nancy from “Roseanne,” played by Sandra Bernhard.

  21. 21
    Gregory in Seattle

    How could I have forgotten about Torchwood? Although for some of them, “bisexual” might be too limiting a label.

  22. 22
    timgueguen

    There’s the superheroine Grace Choi in DC Comics. Like most comic characters her depiction depends on who’s writing her. I think it can be argued that the unfortunate implication has been made that her bisexuality, and multiple sexual partners, are the result of her being abused as a child by human traffickers. .

  23. 23
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    Dammit, Russell Glaser! There goes my afternoon…

  24. 24
    nonnie

    While this particular scene didn’t bother me for whatever reason (though I’m bisexual), I can definitely remember some racial and cultural jokes that made me pretty uncomfortable. Modern Family does seem to have cultural blinders on sometimes or cross lines they don’t really have license to cross, to the point that I don’t like watching it at times. But it’s certainly one of the funniest shows on (free internet) tv right now (not that that’s saying much). It’s a relief to have a show with reliably clever dialogue and wit, and occasional truly hilarious moments.

  25. 25
    John Horstman

    @Gregory in Seattle #20: Thoughts on Olivia Wilde’s character Thirteen on House M.D.? She’s definitely not an ‘everything that moves’ type. That said, becasue Wilde is very much normatively attractive (and/or the role for which Wilde was chosen specified a character who is normatively attractive), the character’s bisexuality may well be a function of Girl on Girl is Hot i.e. female bisexuality as an objectified, pornified state for the (primary) purpose of straight male consumption. Common (and problematic) tropes related to bisexuality – including bisexual erasure – tend to focus on bisexual men as a result. I’m trying to come up with any male bisexual characters portrayed positively and non-stereotypically in shows that are even close to the mainstream and having difficulty.

  26. 26
    gworroll

    Bisexual eradication bothers the hell out of me.

    There is very little TV that actually treats bisexuals as a thing. Doctor Who did it reasonably well when Jack Harkness was introduced(“He’s a bit more flexible when it comes to dancing”), though Torchwood seemed to sometimes forget that he liked women too(though I did get the feeling that if not for Rhys, Jack would be all over Gwen).

    Doctor Who I think also offers an example for the whole characters erasing bisexuals, without the show doing the same. In “The Doctor Dances”, when Jack, who had clearly been attracted to Rose, offers to distract a guard, Rose is utterly confused. She wasn’t recognizing bisexuality as a thing. The Doctor quickly corrected her, explaining that he’s more “flexible when it comes to dancing”. Later on in the episode, his bisexuality(which eventually showed itself to be pansexuality) is even more clearly established as a real thing and not something anyone should have a problem with. It can be ok IMO for characters in a show to deny bisexuality, but this can be done without the show as a whole denying it. “The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances” did this well. I won’t claim it was perfection, but the basic model they used I think was fairly good at least in this story.

    Other examples I can easily come up with where bisexuality was recognized as existing, or at least not denied, have some seriously problematic aspects. “Let’s reveal Gaeta as bi in a parallel web series rather than the main show, and then make him evil right afterwards!” for example. With the only other prominent LGBT character having also been evil.

    Modern Family I’d still call a step forward, but things still aren’t where they should be.

  27. 27
    midori_skies

    Ugh, I hate the way gay/straight is treated like a binary. I had this throw in my face this summer when I took a class on the psychology of prejudice. It was even more hypocritical because it was a class that specifically talked about prejudice due to sexual orientation, and the textbook, teacher, and powerpoint slides all talked like gay and straight is all there is. Apparently it was too much to ask to expect them to remember what the last two letters of LGBT stand for (hint: LGBT is not synonymous with ‘gay’). I did manage to find a way to bring up bisexuality during a presentation I did, though, and I made a point of talking about some of the specific ways prejudice/stereotypes/etc. affect bi people in different ways than they affect gay people. I wish I’d found a way to bring up asexuality though. I felt so invisible.

  28. 28
    Michael Brew

    Mainstream TV is never about breaking down cultural norms. The edgiest shows merely present the newest cultural norms before anyone else gets a chance. One of the ironic things about the bisexuality erasure among the gay community, though, is that in a lot of cases it comes from the position of a defense of homosexuality. I’m sure plenty of people have seen the argument. After all, one of the biggest justifications for anti-gay sentiments is the idea that basically all people are able to be attracted to both genders, and it’s simply the most moral who “choose” to be attracted to the opposite gender. Some people, I think, view acknowledging bisexual people as giving up some ground. Others may have internalized the idea that being able to choose (in a manner of speaking) which gender you go out with and choosing the same gender is a sin, so they may deflect the stigma onto bisexual people (“Hey, I can’t choose who I love, so I’m innocent, but look at this perv!”).

    Personally, I’ve always disliked the argument that people have no choice in which gender they’re attracted to on these grounds. I mean, it’s generally true that the majority of people are only attracted to one gender (though even then there’s some fluidity), but, as I was arguing with one person trying to beat the “homosexuality is not a choice; therefore, sin” into the ground, the reason it’s wrong to discriminate against gay people isn’t because they have no choice, but because which gender a person is or is not attracted to is irrelevant unless you’re planning on hooking up with that person. Maybe that idea will become more widespread and mitigate some of this erasure of bisexuality, at least among gay people and their allies.

  29. 29
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Greta:
    Your comments about gaydar are interesting. I know it is OT, but have you blogged about the subject before?

    ****

    Michael Brew:
    I like your idea. Many people need to analyze their beliefs with an eye on the justification for having them. I see insufficient justification for trying to control the love lives and actions of other people. As a gay man, I may be biased tho :)

    ****

    Right now I am watching Warehouse 13 S4 Ep 13. In the ep, two of the main cast are magically trapped in an unfinished murder mystery novel set in the 1940′s. Now I enjoy the show, but I wonder how much better it would be if some of the brain tied into knots cultural norms were not present.

    Is there an ongoing show or shows on mainstream tv or cable that challenges social norms?*

    *I have never seen an episode of either, but I have read that All in the Family and Maude both challenged social norms back in the 70′s.

  30. 30
    Matrim

    I’ve been lucky, I suppose, in that I haven’t encountered much direct flack for being bisexual (I actually identify as pansexual, but I usually just say bi rather than launch into an explanation). Roughly half to a third of my friends fall somewhere under the LGBTQ umbrella, and I’ve never felt marginalized or forced into a dichotomy by them. Also my experiences in the kink community have likewise been accepting. For that I’m grateful, especially since I know people who have dealt with the bisexual problem. Media portrayals really do irritate me, though. What I’d like to see is a show where there is a character who is single and dating who sometimes dates men and sometimes dates women (honestly, I’d really like to see more trans and gender queer folks too, but I’m not holding out hope for that) and it is never even address. No lampshading, no episode dedicated to their sexual orientation, it’s just accepted that this person dates people irregardless of gender.

  31. 31
    wscott

    Unrealistic aliens or technology I can sort of live with. Unrealistic political/economic scenarios, a bit less so. Unrealistic or incomplete human characters, forget it

    Amen, RB, amen.

    Just out of curiosity: what bisexuals have been shown favorably in media?

    I thought Babylon 5 did a pretty good job with Ivanova (Claudia Christian). She had boyfriends, but she also had a relationship with Talia. They soft-pedaled the Talia relationship a bit, but no one in the show seemed to think it was a big deal. By 90s standards it was pretty progressive.

    Americans like their men 100% straight and masculine…No gray area.

    I think this is the key part. Mainstream America is just now getting used to the idea that gays are people and there’s nothing wrong with that, yadda yadda. But acknowledging that sexuality is a spectrum means having to admit that even some “straight” people you know might be less than 100% straight. Or, Bacchus forbid, even yourself! Treating it as binary lets you say “Well, it’s okay for those guys to like guys because they’re gay. But not me.”

  32. 32
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    My first thought was that this is another example of the “one drop of gay blood makes you gay” rule. It reminds me of all the talk about Javier Bardem in Skyfall as the “first gay Bond villain,” apparently because he makes a pass at Bond at one point during the movie. So that makes him “gay”? Despite the fact that he clearly has a girlfriend? WTF?

    It’s worse than that; it seemed pretty clear to me that he was trying to make Bond uncomfortable, and when Bond hints that he’s had same-sex experiences already, said villain character looks, briefly but unmistakably, shocked and disgusted, making it seem like a variant of this.

  33. 33
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    In 2013, most people have been desensitized enough to the idea of gay people that they can see a gay couple portrayed on TV in a nonsexual way, and they don’t immediately say, “OMG, they just talked about gay sex on TV!” But that same desensitization hasn’t happened with bisexual people, so you portray a bisexual person on TV, and even if there is no actual reference to sex, it comes across as horribly dirty.

    I think it’s more than that: bisexuality challenges patriarchal gender norms even more clearly and forcefully than homosexuality. People who believe in them can, like much of pop culture, simply treat a gay man as “a woman’s brain in a man’s body,” albeit in a very stylized, stereotyped sort of way, and vice versa. A man or woman genuinely being attracted to people of both sexes breaks the roles rather than merely bending them.

  34. 34
    Jim Newman

    Posting past relevance but… I can’t watch Modern Family, though I have tried several times. It’s just such tedious stereotyping and not even the appealing kind. I feel guilty for it. After all I watched the entire first season of Duck Dynasty to know what it was about. I suppose it’s because it just seems too artificial, surreal even for pop crap.

    When did the issue morph from it’s all on a continuum to binality, from we’re all bisexual to it’s genetic whatever it is and however morphed culturally?

    It was a big political mistake to make sexuality genetic, organic as it exacerbated the inevitability of sexuality. While it avoided the issue of becoming one way of the other it made the lines more necessarily clear, which they are not. We gave up science for politics, bad politics.

    It’s also hard on people. As kids and adults we change identities often and with every change it is noted as some sign of intrinsic and necessary development. So we disallow more free movement between identities as if we are all just trying to find-resolve-express our final and real identity which is bullshit.

  35. 35
    Heather Cooper

    Interesting and enjoyable post, also interesting and enjoyable comments too :-) I agree that bisexuality is often ignored by the media, and when it isn’t, it’s typically not portrayed in a positive light. However, I have to say I think 13 from House M.D. is well-portrayed. The banter between her and other characters about her sexuality is humerous and not (IMO) usually offensive (other than the odd comment from House himself who is notoriously offensive to everyone, deliberately). I think you have to laugh at yourself, and as sexuality is part of yourself, some gentle banter is usually acceptible (unless the person concerned is particularly sensitive about their sexuality). She has a higher sex drive than most women have/will admit to, but it’s not ridiculous especially considering scientific evidence on female sexuality does indicate that bisexual women often have higher than average sex drive. She has relationships with both men and women, and she and Forman (the boyf) discuss her sexuality and whether she misses sleeping with women, using ice-cream metaphors, in a humerous and realistic way. Coincidentally, the same actress played a bisexual character in Orange County. I didn’t watch that much myself, but what I did see was quite good.

  36. 36
    Heather Cooper

    P.S. I think I spelt humourous wrong, or is it hummous?? :-p

  37. 37
    carlie

    Here’s another example: Tom Daly just came out as bisexual. Although he didn’t use the term itself, he said that he still “fancies women” although he’s currently dating a man. And yet, this entire BBC article, that includes the quote about liking women, calls him gay throughout. *headdesk*

  38. 38
    Heather Cooper

    @Carlie, I noticed that! BBC is not the only article – apparently he is now a “Gay Icon”. Grr. Tempted to write a ranty email to the BBC about it, with a link to this blog post……

  39. 39
    carlie

    There’s now a nice article on Queerka about the forced discussion of him as gay rather than bi.

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