Friday, January 22, 2010
Bisexuals on television
Chances are that, at some point over the weekend, you will be watching television. Maybe you’ll be looking (in vain) for some bi characters in drama, or out bisexuals reading the news, presenting gardening programmes, pretending to be Teletubbies, and everything else we can see on the small screen.
Today there’s been a report in the Guardian that the BBC is to ask The Public what they think of the representation of LGBs on TV and radio. Interesting. But they are even asking homophobes. Yuk. I don’t care what homophobes think, and I don’t think the BBC should care either.
It’s interesting, though, that they are asking about bi representation. Is this really about bi representation, or are they just adding in a B with the L and the G, not really meaning to give the B word any attention at all? It wouldn’t be the first time “bisexual” has been added as a casual, inessential addition to Lesbian and Gay. (No T though, I wonder why not?)
The other thing I am wondering after reading the above is: who are these bisexual people on television? Maybe I am watching the wrong programmes but, reality shows aside, I can only remember the L Word – only available on Living (a hard to view on a cable/satellite TV channel) in the UK – where there has been bi characters in recent years.
Part of me thinks that there is a dire need for positive images of bi people – but one person’s positive representation is another’s weirdo/ slut / sop to straight society / bimbo. We are as individual as people of any other sexuality – probably more so – and deserve to have a range of people representing us. Another part of me thinks that anything is better than total invisibility.
Still, according to a GLAAD report discussed in the Bisexuality Examiner last July there are now more bi people in US TV dramas, and some of them are definitely viewable outside of the US. They include:
* True Blood (Evan Rachel Wood is pictured above)
* Grey’s Anatomy
* Brothers and Sisters
Plus a whole heap of others I’ve never heard of. Mind you, I’ve never seen any episodes of those listed above either (my TV preferences being mainly for CSI and similar). I’ll give them a look
S/He’s so Real
Reality television has the upper hand here.... Big Brothers across the world often have bi characters, presumably on the assumption/hope that they will do something outrageous and up the viewing figures. Then there’s A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila, where her bisexuality is a part of the story (and apparently there is now a spin off involving bisexual twins Rikki and Vikki. Of course there is). The most recent The Real World (on MTV, which I don’t have access to) apparently has two bi characters, one boy, one girl.
A boy! Finally.
As I have written endlessly, I’m not at all happy with the proliferation of female celebrity so-called bis (most recently, Kylie Minogue is declaring her interest). And most of the bis/bi characters listed above are – no, really! – women.
But a good bi woman – by which I mean someone who is genuine, authentic, sincere, not trying to excite men or increase her audience – could do a heap of good for other bi women. Likewise good bi female characters in drama.
I think we’ll have to wait a long time (or until something significant changes) until bi men can do anything like that.
So which bi characters or individuals are there on television – British or otherwise, drama or factual – who you think is worth watching? And as for the radio....? I listen to the radio almost all the time, and the last time I heard an out bi presenter or character was.... probably never.