100% Sapphic Goddess Myth; or, The Problems of Glee’s Views on Bisexuality

Readers, I am furious.

Though my blog would suggest I’m an angry person, I’m pretty chilled. And tonight, I am raging. And of course, the source of all my anger is Glee.

Glee prides itself on being an advocate for LGBT rights, and for celebrating the diversity of people. Now, you will find thousands of blogs detailing its problematic views on mental illness, race, and instances of taking serious issues like rape, and turning it in to one disturbing punch-line after another. Today, I would like to talk about the problem it seems to have with bisexuality.

Now, we have a canon bisexual character. Brittany. And she’s been in a relationship with men and a woman. But her sexuality is never addressed. She refers to herself as “fluid”, but that doesn’t matter. She loves Brittany. Or loved, anyway.

Now Santana has a new love interest. Dani, played by Demi Lovato, who is a “100% sapphic goddess”. Sapphic is an adjective relating to lesbianism. Dani is better for Santana.

Because she’s a lesbian.

That, dear readers, is the crux of my issue with Glee. What is with its constant shaming of bisexuality? Spoiler alert, since they haven’t got passed the LG; the B stands for bisexual. We’re a legitimate sexuality, and it’s not fair to endorse the myth that all bisexuals are experimenting or cheaters.

As Kurt puts is:

“Bisexual is a lie gay guys tell in high school to hold hands with girls in the corridor so they can feel normal!”

… I mean, I can’t even begin to tell you why this awful. How dare they marginalise an entire sexuality for the sake of plot drama? I love Kurt, but I don’t like how he’s portrayed as biphobic. He knows what it feels like to have his sexuality denied and mocked!

Santana’s fear that her lovers will inevitably stray towards the opposite sex is a real issue that bisexuals face. Because we find both genders attractive, we are told that we are not satisfied with the one lover. It is considered a real reason not to date a bisexual, because we will be unfaithful.

It’s made to be our fault, when actually, our partners don’t trust us.

Look, if Santana and Dani do hit it off, wonderful. But can we stop with this ridiculous idea that bisexuality is a joke? It’s a real sexuality, deserving of respect. We’re real people. Not a punchline.

It’s 1am, and my thoughts are a little all over. I hope I’ve conveyed how useless Glee is, and why I stopped watching mid-season 3.

And so, dear readers, where do you stand on bisexuality? Have you ever dealt with biphobia? I’d love to hear your stories.

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About Stephanie Gallon

I'm 22 years old with first class honours in BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing. I'm currently studying MA English Studies. I'm an author, a blogger, and a zealot of all things written. I write on everything from comics, to feminism, to advice on university life.
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20 Responses to 100% Sapphic Goddess Myth; or, The Problems of Glee’s Views on Bisexuality

  1. Roy says:

    I totally agree with everything in this post. I rarely watch Glee, but I’m sick of people being biphobic – not only on-screen, but also in real life. It’s an issue that has genuinely maddened me for the past four of five years. I first experienced such a thing when my ex boyfriend (we’re talking years ago) was bisexual. Many of the friends around me were somewhat disgusted; others were on the fence. A lot of people would tell me they thought being bisexual was a “cover up, for being gay”. It gets me so mad whenever I hear this, because studies (scientific STUDIES) have showed that bisexuality does indeed exist. These TV shows really need to stop with the biphobia. Sexuality is NOT black and white (see Kinsey Scale). Many believe it to be a spectrum, with the majority of people, believe it or not, falling somewhere in the middle. Labels, my dear fellows, are for packaged food. I’m hoping one day sexuality or the attraction of the same sex is ignored just as much as someones eye colour. It is irrelevant, stupid, and down right medieval.

    Sorry, but I had to have a rant about the clear biphobia coming from Glee. I’m just shocked. That’s my views anyway. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to my porridge :3

    Like

    • Your views, as always, are welcomed Roy. And thank you for commenting!

      There’s a school of thought which I heavily subscribe to, and it talks about biphobia from a social-anthropological point of view, rather than the rejection of science. It’s all about the effects of a homophobic society. The bisexual community becomes a target when hetero and homosexuals realise that bisexuals don’t integrate fully in to their ideas of the heteronormative.And obviously bisexuals can’t do that without denying half their sexuality.

      I’ve been told my sexuality is greedy, and I should pick one. What they mean is that I should pick men. I’ve been told I’m more like to cheat. What they mean is that I have a broader acceptance of what is beautiful, and that is a problem. I’ve been told I’m going through a phase and this is my stepping stone. What they mean is that I’m either too afraid to be gay, or wanting to be more edgy than straight, never stopping to think that maybe I was strong enough to come out as bisexual in the first place because that’s who I am.

      There is no best of both worlds when it comes to biphobia. We’re a community that deals with hate from all parts of the spectrum. It’s hypocritical, the media does not help, and it needs to be stopped.

      Out of curiosity, do you know of any film/movie/book characters who are popular and happen to be canonically bisexual?

      Like

      • Erin says:

        Hello! I don’t know how old you are, but I’m in my teens, so I read mostly YA. I’d recommend Cassandra Clare, specifically The Mortal Instruments series, for Magnus Bane, who is bisexual, and also Sister Mischief by Laura Goode. The MC is gay, but there’s another character who is questioning bi.

        Like

      • I’m 21 🙂 I was 20 when I write this post.

        I don’t like The Mortal Instruments. I tried, but it has problems I won’t get in to. But queer characters is always good to see! I hope they’re good representations.

        Like

  2. Zach says:

    Hey, Stephanie! I think I stopped watching Glee around the same time you did. The last episode I watched was when New Directions lost regionals. I could tell the storyline of another team getting disqualified so New Directions could move to the next level of competition, so I got tired of its predictability. I also got sick of the LGBTQ story lines they constantly shoved down our throats. I’m a gay guy, I’m a gay activist and the gayness for that show was too much for me. The issue with Brittany was always an odd one. As you said, they never really said she was bi, but her character wasn’t believable in that sense. She apparently left the show though, so I doubt we’ll hear much more about that. To me it seemed like everyone was gay, bi, lesbian or transgendered on the show. I think for me the introduction of Unique was too much for me. I have no issues with transgendered people, but for a family TV show on FOX, I think it was a bit much. If it was a show on Logo, I may be singing a different tune though.

    I don’t really know if my story will help or not, because I am gay, but… There was a time when I identified as bisexual. For me, it was a transition, but I definitely don’t think that’s true for everyone. I think bisexuality is a sexual orientation and that for a lot of people they really can find love in a man, or love in a woman. But, back to my story. I remember telling a coworker about me, and somehow she started talking with one of my supervisors and while I was in the room, our supervisor laughed and said, “bisexuality isn’t a real sexuality! You’re either gay or your straight.” I was fuming. I actually avoided them the rest of the night.

    It’s easy for people to dismiss what they don’t understand. Look at how many people say a person chooses to be gay. Just like some straight people don’t understand being gay, I think a lot of people that are both gay and straight have difficulty understanding how someone can like both sexes and be faithful. Sometimes I feel like the B in LGBTQ is silent, which is really sad. When we talk about diversity and acceptance, we should make sure we’re not alienating any of our brothers and sisters. Be out, be proud and educate the world!

    Like

    • I hope you didn’t think I was denying that some people do use bisexual as a transitional stage. I do understand why some people do it, and why it is sometimes inherently safer to test the waters first, especially if you live in a homophobic community.

      I, incidentally, stopped watching Glee after David Karofsky’s suicide attempt. Once Murphy demonstrated that he has no clue what a finished storyline looks like. He said David’s storyline was over. I personally did want him to date Kurt, but that’s my dislike of Blaine and my love of Max Adler, but that’s not what I wanted from his story’s finale. I wanted to know how his mother came to terms with his sexuality, if David went to college, if he came to terms with his sexuality. That is finality. Not one last shot in a hospital, never to be mentioned again.

      I liked Unique, just not the way she was handled. There’s a lot of disrespect towards her from so-called friends which make some of my trans-gendered friends really uncomfortable.

      People who deny the sexuality entirely are another league of stupid. I don’t know whether to claim their ignorance, or question why they think such a large percent of the population would make up a sexuality.

      The B is often silent. I’ve had bad experience at LGBT societies where I’ve been told I don’t really belong there, and I’m just a teenager experiment. Thankfully I’m older now, and my university is not so savage and cruel. I have friends who are asexual, who feel they aren’t even welcomed by societies that boast LGBTQA acceptance. The A came to stand for Ally, which is really odd…

      Allow me to extend to you the same question I extended to Roy:

      Do you know of any popular movie/TV/book characters who are canonically bisexual?

      Like

  3. Rachael says:

    I would say Magnus Bane or Jack Harkness, but I’m not sure it counts if they’re into various species as well as genders.

    Like

    • I’m not familiar with Bane, but I accept Harkness. I think Jack is one of the few bisexual characters who is portrayed well, even if people view him as a whore.
      I just see him as fabulous.

      Like

      • Rachael says:

        Cassandra Clare just writes brilliant characters in general to be fair. And I’ve never seen anybody complain about her portrayal of sexuality or any other issues. But I am a bit of a fan girl…

        Like

  4. Skott says:

    I completely agree, biphobia (or bi-ism, after our conversation the other day) is completely unacceptable. It is disgraceful to find in the LGBT community that some of the Ls and Gs only recognise the Bs when it suit themselves, we should be advocating equality for all, and not just a few. Bisexuality isn’t a myth, it’s real, and that is okay. I don’t watch Glee, but I am well aware of the marginalisation of bisexuals in real life, and it must stop. I often think that bisexuality is a higher form of evolution, looking at the animal kingdom, most animals don’t have a sexual preference, gender doesn’t matter. Although this opens up a whole new can of worms as to whether it’ just exerting dominance, but still, bisexuality is not just about the sex, like all relationships, it’s emotional, and to be able to emotionally connect with all sorts of people, that is what I believe to be evolution. There’s too much hate and not enough love in this world. (I’m sure you’re aware that I’m just blurting out all this in frustration, and it may not actually make any sense!) But yes, ALL prejudices must stop!

    Like

    • The evolution argument is interesting. I’ve never heard it phrased that way. But yes, a can of worms best left unopened.

      But you’re right. Too much hate, not enough love. Equality for all, not just those who like one set of genitalia.

      Like

  5. Pingback: Here’s what you missed on Glee: biphobia | Still Not Shakespeare

  6. Mm says:

    I have yet to meet an honest faithful bisexual.

    Like

    • Then I am pleased to meet you 🙂

      In my experience, I am yet to meet an honest and faithful heterosexual male. I find that it would be unfair to say all heterosexual males are cheats. I’m sorry you’ve had bad experiences with bisexual partners though.

      Like

  7. Me says:

    Dani is better for Santana, but not because she’s a lesbian. Dani is better because she’s a seemingly mature person, and she (as far as we know) hasn’t outed anyone or posted sex tapes of anyone online.

    Like

    • That’s fair enough. Have your ships. I personally don’t like Santana as a character anyway, so have no real opinion on who she ends up with. But biphobia isn’t a reason not to date someone.
      Props to Demi Lovato though. She’s always a great actress.

      Like

  8. [rant]

    If you watched Season 3 of Glee, then you may be be familiar with a spoiled, rich Dalton boy called Sebastian Smythe…His (sexual) predatory behaviour towards guys and girls alike had me thinking that here’s Glee’s first bisexual male, and thatcaused me to pair him with Santana, who as you may also be aware has had relationships with both genders in the past. Santana has even admitted outright that she is attracted to both male and female (a fact viewers conveniently forget…).

    Seeing two potentially-bisexual characters interact in a sexually-charged duet (“Smooth Criminal”) affected me and forced me to come face-to-face with the fact that I myself am bisexual, and like these two gorgeous, fierce characters, am trying to conceal my true sexuality behind a false one. They’re being portrayed as ‘gay’, when in fact they could be bi, as both show interest in both genders.

    The actor who portrayed Sebastian’s character even said that if Sebastian was represented as bi instead of gay as everyone believes, then it “…would come from a truthful place.” Grant Gustin acknowledged the existence of Sebtana (Sebastian and Santana) and he also teased viewers who ‘ship’ him with Santana, saying their relationship is possible.

    Before seeing Sebastian and Santana in “Smooth Criminal”, I was also concealing my true sexual identity, just like these characters seem to be doing. I wanted to be straight, and I was living in denial nearly my whole life.

    So, to answer your question on where I stand on bisexuality – I am not in denial anymore (because of Sebtana). As for whether I have dealt with bi-phobia…I didn’t encounter it when I came out to the people, but living in a hetero-normative, Muslim country, I’m not exactly ready to shout my sexual orientation from rooftops.

    [/rant]

    Like

  9. UnlikelyUnlucky says:

    Just because Kurt says that it doesn’t mean its the shows view. It is a view lots of people have that Kurt shares.

    Like

    • The difference is that Kurt is a fictional character. These are the views the writers gave him. If the show had given a character that challenged that assumption, then it could be excused, but Glee constantly shies away from bisexual characters. Santana and Brittany both could have been bisexual, but Santana is now a lesbian and Brittany never uses the word bisexual. Of course some do have a period of faking heterosexuality to fit in, or just because they’re confused themselves, but that doesn’t mean she couldn’t have been bisexual.
      Glee is good at claiming diversity. What it actually has is stock and offensive characters and constant double standards.
      You’re right. Kurt’s view is one that many share. That is why we need positive media to challenge it. Just stating the view isn’t going to help anyone.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Aspiration and Might: An Anniversary Special | Aspiration and Might

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