You couldn’t make it up – although someone obviously has. A bisexual dating show where a woman who is quite literally famous for being famous is getting “16 gorgeous straight guys!" and "16 hot lesbians!" to compete for her affections on the MTV show A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila. It sounds positively demure besides her previous series: Pants-Off Dance-Off. And that’s “pants off” in the underwear sense of the word, rather than simply an overly constricting pair of trousers.
Now Tila Tequila is most famous for having completely invented herself as a sleb through self-promotion, and clearly she’s very good at it, with currently 2,170,161 MySpace friends – more than when I looked a couple of hours ago. Now she’s a singer/actress/presenter/model/stripper/all-purpose brand, and good luck to her I suppose.
She has also been credited for giving rise to the term MySpace Bisexual, which Urban Dictionary defines as:
“A girl who makes out with other slutty chicks at parties and then claims to be bisexual because it's trendy to say so and gets people's attention on Myspace.
Pretty much any girl on Myspace who lists her sexual orientation as "bisexual". Hence, Myspace Bisexual.”
Well, being a “girl” who lists my sexual orientation as “bisexual” on MySpace I obviously have a quarrel with that. Actually lots of quarrels with that. You could equally well call them “Girls Gone Wild”. But moving on…
Now this show has attracted a lot of commentators – both bi (who hated it), anti-celeb (who hated it) and homophobes (who hated it). But also, unfortunately, people who didn’t necessarily hate it but considered that it gave a marginalised group (bisexuals) some much-needed publicity.
Yet, given that millions of people are watching this programme, what can we make of it? In fact, it reminds me in some ways of the Jerry Springer programmes of the 1990s, where bisexuals took their place among all the other freaks who wanted to show off in public.
It seems to me that the problems with A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila are a) that she had to lie to the contestants, making out that she was straight/lesbian – and Any Fule Kno that bisexuals lie; and b) that because there is nothing else about bisexuality on TV, this is seen as What Bisexuals Are Like.
The world at large has a strange and unusual view of “bisexual relationships”. Even Ms Tequila herself says: “The show will be about me finding love as a BISEXUAL!!!!! THAT IS CRAZY, RIGHT?”. Er no… how sad it would be if that were true. But it isn’t and I can’t believe she thinks so either. The world is actually full of bisexuals having good, bad and indifferent relationships, if people only knew. And they certainly aren’t going to be finding out through this show.
Of course, there are stereotypes a gogo in this programme, but that’s reality TV. Anyone who seriously thinks that, say, The Bachelor, is a realistic view of heterosexual relationships needs to be thrown into a vat of Mills & Boon novels and left to claw their way out.
The problem isn’t that there are wacky views about bisexuality in the media – there are wacky views about everything - it’s that all of them are wacky. Isn’t it about time that there were some genuine ones too?
An hour later…
Tila Tequila has added another 46 friends.