gender / LGBT / topical

Bisexuality and the media

You’ve probably read Cara Delevingne’s Vogue interview. I felt that, as a bisexual woman, it would be interesting to read because I personally feel there isn’t as much love in the media for bisexuals. You always see any female that has had relationships with men, but possibly having relationships with women, labelled as hanging out with her ‘gal pal’.

Whenever I see the term ‘gal pal’, I crack up. Really? Friend/girlfriend/partner aren’t dirty words. Media, please tell me, do you really think that everybody in this world falls under one sexuality in their lives?

To me, sexuality is fluid. Certain situations, ways of thinking, certain people – they may make you realise that you don’t fall into the sexuality you labelled yourself as. I’m open to the idea that further down the road I may not label myself as bisexual, but I’m fine with that. Our minds are always changing, so what’s to say our sexuality necessarily stays the same? Just let individuals be exactly that – individual. There are more sexualities than heterosexual and homosexual. Bisexuals, pansexuals and asexuals, amongst many others, are still seen as grey areas – heck, even taboo subjects – in this day and age, and it bugs me to no end.

Cara talks about how she first fell in love with a girl at age 20, that she has sexual dreams about men, and, at the time of print, was rumoured to be in a relationship with Annie Clark from St Vincent. That’s cool; you do you, Cara and I hope you are happy, as everyone deserves happiness.

But two things annoy me in the article. Where she talks about her parents thinking it’s just a phase, it’s worded in such a way that it trying to convince us that she’ll end up with a man eventually. However, if she had said that she would most likely end up with a woman, people would be quick to label her as gay.

Bisexuals are seen as greedy, and indecisive – this stereotype makes me want to flip tables like Alan Rickman in that Epic Tea Time video. Do you really think we’re sex crazed animals that are attracted to anything with a pulse? Because that is bull of the poop kind. I’m bad enough talking to people normally, let alone anyone I actually like!

That’s the thing with being bisexual: whatever you say, you are being judged. If you happen to be bisexual/asexual/pansexual and say you’re attracted to women, then people assume you are either going through a phase, or you’re trying to almost soften the blow before you come out as a full-on lesbian. But if you are bisexual/asexual/pansexual and see yourself attracted to men a little more, you are written off as a straight ‘curious’ person. People can’t seem to get their head around the fact you can be attracted to more than one gender. Also, you can be physically attracted to someone, but not sexually attracted to them – this is where sexualities such as asexual come in.

It’s constantly on my mind that I feel attracted to a certain gender more than another, and it’s always changing. To be honest it’s kind of tiring always worrying to myself that I’m trying to convince myself I’m bisexual, when in fact I could be gay, and feel that liking men is just drilled into my head because of the media and what is thrown at us as we grow up. We have been taught that the straight, lovey-dovey couples are the be all and end all of normal human relationships. I’m not hating on heterosexual couples, but it’s tiring seeing them represented as the norm.

This is reflected in the way gay women are treated in shows. I talked about this in my previous post, and will do so again. In Last Tango in Halifax (spoilers ahead), Caroline Elliot (Sarah Lancashire) and Kate McKenzie (Nina Sosanya) were written beautifully in the way they got together, and how Caroline came to the realisation as her marriage fell apart that she was gay.

Throughout the three series’, we got to see these two women go through a range of troubles with the people around them, and eventually they got married. In the fourth episode, Kate is killed in a car accident. Myself and many people I know were furious at this happening, as it seems to be a thing in shows that as soon as a gay couple is happy, one of them is killed off. .

The writer of Last Tango in Halifax, Sally Wainwright, did an interview with DIVA Magazine, where she said she felt it was best to go down that route with Sosanya’s character because it gave more emotional impact. Now, I love a show that can make me emotional, but does it always have to come down to death?

Having said that, I’m all for sexual and romantic orientations being talked about in the media more, as it educates people who may not know of them, and hopefully make it more acceptable in society. I don’t understand how people can hate on other human beings because of who they love, yet it still happens.

Overall though, I’m happy there is representation of different sexualities in the media. It’s happening at a glacial pace, but it’s happening. Young people may be trying to figure out who they are, so more representation on TV and film may help them to realise they are not alone. However, the media need to think more about how they tackle the subject, as mishandling it can often feel like a kick in the teeth to those it is misrepresenting.

As I write this post, the US Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is a legal right. How great is that? Hopefully as more countries in the world follow suit, it will start to normalise the fact that not everyone is attracted to the opposite sex. Let’s strive for the day that people no longer scared to come out to their family and friends in fear of being judged.

 

– Meg Siobhan

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