Monday, July 24, 2006

Bi-stars

So, singer Nelly Furtado is bi. (See <http://tinyurl.co.uk/lmlm> which was posted on the Bimedia yahoo group by the ever-efficient Grant Denkinson). Thinks women are beautiful and sexy. Believes everyone is really bisexual and loves hanging out with her gay friends. And that experimentation is a part of human history.
Whoopee-doo.
These days, it seems almost mandatory for female stars to talk about how much they like girls. But has anyone ever seen one with an actual girlfriend? Or even talking about a woman they fell in love with x years ago who was so important to them?
Hello... I don't think I hear many voices calling.
Rebecca Loos has many faults, no doubt, but at the very least she was a proper bisexual, not bi-lite. She had real relationships with women, lived with at least one. Anne Heche was deeply and publically involved with Ellen DeGeneres in between boyfriends. Madonna may or may not have been involved with Sandra Bernhardt but they were "linked"... about 15 years ago.
Any more? Do let me know.

Just one look
Is it any more than an easy popularity ploy for female celebrities to imply that they find women attractive? Such celebs are exotic, interesting but still pretty safe and always always conventionally feminine. After all, women don't seem to mind it, men are presumed to enjoy it, and the queer community can claim another star on their side. And the celebrities - they sell more of whatever commodity they are trying to sell. That hint of bi shifts units.
When this celebrity-bi stuff first appeared, I was pleased. I thought that the more publicity about bisexuality there was, the better. That simply discussing the issue, getting it out in the open, increasing visibility - as we used to say - was an end in itself and would benefit all of us.
Now, I'm more than a little peeved. This kind of "straight-bi" confession is what many people think bisexuality IS. And for some, their bisexuality is like that. But when there is only one view of bisexuality that ever appears in the press, it just seems to me like oppression under another guise. That how my sexuality - for instance - is and has been is as hidden as ever. It certainly doesn't help bi women who want to be taken seriously by lesbians.
And let's not even get started about bisexual men. Bi celebrity boys? In your dreams. Anyway, that's a whole other rant!

4 comments:

parallelgirl said...

*nods*
Your post made me think about how the depiction of bisexual women in the media maybe serves some of the same purposes as the old stereotypes of feminists as lesbian man-haters- it takes something that is out there in the culture and sort of neuters it, acknowledges it while making it not be a threat, if you know what I mean?

By the way, I met someone the other week who was doing some really interesting sounding research into the representation of bi women in the media. I must look out her email address....

Sue George said...

Gosh, parallelgirl, you are so right. That's the sort of insight I wish I had had myself!
Of course, there are some bi women who are more than happy to be depicted that way. Although perhaps, on reflection, some feminists were more than happy to be seen as lesbian man-haters too. In any case, as you say, both bisexuality and feminism have the edges of their power smoothed away by these representations.

ilestre said...

"Bi celebrity boys? In your dreams. Anyway, that's a whole other rant!"

A few names come to mind, though : David Bowie, Ray Davies, Mick Jagger... Rock'n'roll at its best !

Sue George said...

That was a long time ago now...