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Commentary On The "Edgy Bisexual"
By Maggie Park
Let’s get one thing straight: I’m the worst kind of bisexual. I’ve had long-term, serious relationships with men, and yet I still claim the sacred space of LGBTQ. I’m not out to my parents because it’s easier to pass. My sexuality is, moreover, hella confusing. Some months I’m into boys. Other months I’m into girls. I once planned a boy-girl-girl threesome with a male friend, and thereby rose through the ranks of mere mortals into the upper echelons of cool girl status. Another time, I broke up with a woman because I found greater chemistry with our mutual male friend. I’m not attracted to every pair of breasts, and I’ve met vaginas that I didn’t like.
Hence, I’m the perfect person to comment on the latest backlash against the “edgy bisexual,” a wandering trope that reveals itself as the bane of the LGBTQ community every new moon or so. The “edgy bisexual” is a life ruiner—she ruins people’s lives! She says she’s into women, but she abandons her commitment to pussy at first sign of an erect dick and its masculine earning potential. Unlike her bisexual sisters over at correctly-and-evenly-proportioned-sexuality lane, the “edgy bisexual” is rarely 50/50. She is, at best, a glorified heteroflexible.
Madeline Davies’ article for Jezebel, “Being Straight and Having a Crush on Ruby Rose Doesn’t Make You Edgy,” encapsulates recurring queer fears about incorrect, uneven and noncommittal bisexuality—edgy bisexuality. Davies’ writes that Ruby Rose, the very babely Australian addition to the newest season of Orange Is the New Black, “has become the latest name on the shortlist of female celebrities who straight girls can safely admit to having the hots for without ever experiencing the judgment that bisexual and lesbian women deal with on a regular basis,” which is, of course, a startlingly judgmental sentence.
It’s no secret that the gayer you are, i.e. the more gay you present, the more likely you are to experience violence and discrimination. Seriously, have you ever been to a Middle School? It’s also no secret that bisexuals, especially straight presenting bisexuals, pass in a way that spares them the brunt of public scrutiny. That’s not what this article seeks to call into question. Instead, I’d like to address why I think that the “edgy bisexual” is a straw man device used for shaming and marginalizing bisexual women in queer communities.
I’ve spent a lot of time pondering why the LGBTQ community, and lesbians in particular, dislike and fear bisexuality. My theory considers a two-pronged approach. First, in the words of my friend C—, “bisexual girls can’t eat pussy.” Since bisexual women split their time between sexes, they may have less experience with women and therefore less sexual prowess. Maybe!
Second, lesbians fear that bisexual girls will inevitably leave them for a man. Also maybe! This point is a bit more complicated because it involves a) the assumption that bisexuals are just straight girls in disguise, and b) anxieties about the power of the penis and the draw of heteronormativity.
In my experience, lesbians view bisexuality as performative. Even if a bisexual passes the first prong of pussy eating, she inevitably falters in the long-term commitment implied by the second prong because she can’t keep up the act. She goes back to men because it’s easier and more socially desirable.
I get it. I have a lot of sympathy for lesbians who were burned by flirty straight girls, or questioning heterosexuals who eventually returned to the fold. That shit isn’t cool and it isn’t cute. Lesbians warn other lesbians about the dangers of pursuing a straight girl crush. Why wouldn’t they? If bisexuality and heteroflexibility is a performance, then bisexuals are grenades of hurt feelings and misguided expectations. A bisexual is a failed relationship waiting to happen. And dude, it just fucking sucks to get rejected.
To be fair, Davies’ article doesn’t criticize all bisexuals—only the edgy ones. She writes, “homosexuality and bisexuality aren’t identities that you get to try on for a day to show off how liberal and down you are.” But that’s the thing. I think that all bisexuals are “edgy bisexuals” to the LGBTQ community. All bisexuals are the wrong type of bisexuals because all bisexuality is a performance for straight men at the cost of gay women. And that makes me incredibly sad, both for my fellow bisexual women and for the lesbians caught in the cycle of mistrust created by a skewed impression of non-binary sexuality.
Because really, how amazing is it that we are moving towards a time when women who typically date men can suddenly experience sexual attraction to someone like Ruby Rose and brag about it on social media? They made memes, for goodness sake! What Davies codifies as “goddamn disingenuous” and self-congratulatory, I see as a problem of branding. If bisexuality or heteroflexibility or questioning is all just a performance, then all modalities of expression are wrapped up in the lie of performativity. Thereby, all acts of visible excitement and pride for homosexual attraction at the hands of bisexuals and our lot is reduced to bragging and attention seeking.
This is all the more troubling when we reflect that most LGBTQ communities are otherwise open to considerations of gender, sexuality and performativity. If all sexuality is, to an extent, a performance (one that is used both to attract mates and present within the sexual act itself), then why are certain types of bisexuals singled out as perverse and disingenuous? Hint: because all bisexuals are “edgy bisexuals.”
#Real #Essay #BiSexual #Gay #Sexuality #SocialCommentary #Gender #Appropriation
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