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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Identity » Gender Double-Standards with Bi/Pansexuality

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Author Topic: Gender Double-Standards with Bi/Pansexuality
Executive Director & Founder
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What I'm talking about are some issues or double-standards around gender and people who are bisexual or pansexual, like the following:

• "Bisexual guys are really gay and in the closet."
• "Bisexual girls are really straight and just trying to be cool."
• "Straight girls should not get involved with bi guys."
• "Straight guys who get involved with bi girls have hit the jackpot."
• "Bisexual guys are scary/gross/or other mean thing."
• "Bisexual girls are hot."
• "Bisexual guys won't grow out of it. It's stick or they'll be gay."
• "Bisexual girls are just going through a phase."
• "Bisexual guys don't really love women, they love men."
• "Bisexual girls don't really love women, they love men."

These are just a few examples of the kinds of things you might have seen or heard before, pretty prevalent attitudes around bisexuality and which take very different roads depending on gender.

Can we talk about this stuff some? It comes up so much for so many people, so I think investing some time to try and hash it out -- and feel free to vent -- would be a good thing. It's also pretty complex sometimes, because stuff like this tends to involve biphobia, or bias about bi/pansexuality, but also sexism, so sorting it out gets tricky.

Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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I think the biggest misconception (oh how I wish that wasn't a word that related to a failed pregnancy or pregnancy attempt... anyway, back to topic) based on my personal influences - I am a cis male heterosexual - is that because "bisexuals" can like men and women, that they are more likely to want open relationships, or that they need to be in a relationship with a man and a woman at the same time, or that they would be always open to other offers from another gender. I think the biggest difference (in as much as you generalise in these topics) between cis people who have a good understanding that they are heterosexual or homosexual, and people who are bisexual/pansexual is that more than any other cis group they can focus on the individuality of every relationship. But that is just a feeling I get and that may not be the wide experience of those actually in the shoes of a pansexual.

[ 04-13-2012, 10:32 AM: Message edited by: WesLuck ]

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Wes, Heather is talking specifically about how gender impacts stereotypes around bisexuality, not just those stereotypes themselves.

I think this topic is Fascinating and would be really excited to see a discussion here [Smile] I've read and had quite a lot of thoughts on this. At least for now, though, I want and think it's important to step back and find out what people younger than me are thinking; once the direction and tone of the discussion is established, and if my thoughts still seem appropriate, I can put my oar in then.

The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Oh I get it now. [Smile] The difference between stereotypes of bisexuality that are slanted based on gender. Got it now (I hope [Smile] ).

[ 04-13-2012, 10:35 AM: Message edited by: WesLuck ]

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Well, speaking as a cisgender female pansexual, the stereotypes are harmful to the community. Not only that, but often bisexuals or pansexuals experience discrimination in different forms from both heterosexuals and lesbians and gays. The bias from lesbians and gays can be even more hurtful because often bisexuals or pansexuals want to get involved in the LGBTQ community, but sometimes it seems like a gay-only community. In a study done a few years ago, bisexuals in several LGBTQ groups did not receive recognition or felt unwelcome and made up a smaller part of membership than the actual prevalence of bisexuals in the LGBTQ community. I wouldn't say biphobia is the problem, but more like bi-invisibility. Now, there are separate groups exclusively for bisexuals, pansexuals, and others who don't receive sufficient recognition, such as BiNet USA and BiSocial Network. Personally, the terms "gay rights" and "gay marriage" are some of the more prevalent contributors to bi-invisibility. Also, dismissal of the possibility of a bisexual identity for some characters in the media, in situations where it seems obvious the character is bisexual and not just "switching" from straight to gay, or vise versa, is offensive. That's my rant. If you are interested in more such ranting, the leader of FenceSitter Films started the group Bisexuals Against Douche-bags (BAD) to fight against biphobia and bi-invisibility (particularly from Dan Savage, Perez Hilton, and Ryan Murphy).
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moonlight bouncing off water
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Venting: When my friends and I play truth or dare and there are general questions (it's a phone app) that are directed at people who like girls, they only ask the guys, I don't get included (which pisses me off because of the heteronormativity alone)! It annoys me because they all know I like guys and girls.

And I'm totally with what Bkwrm12k is saying, bisexuality is often invisible. Especially monogamous bisexuality. A gay, straight or lesbian person in a monogamous relationship is much less likely to have their orientation be mistaken than a bisexual or pansexual person in a monogamous relationship.

But sorry, back to gender and bisexuality and pansexuality. I would certainly say that the biggest one I've observed is that "bisexual girls are hot". I think this is because some people fail to distinguish between orientation and whether a relationship is monogamous, polyamourous or something else. Bi/pansexuality is often seen as two (bi) girls having sex with one (straight) guy. Which for some reason is portrayed by mainstream media as being "hot".

Oh, another double standard is that (it is portrayed that) it is hot for a bisexual girl to talk to her boyfriend (but never girlfriend) about girls that she has been with, but never about guys that she has been with (sexually).

I don't identify as any orientation anymore, and so I feel more invisible than ever, but when I did identify as bisexual (which I sometimes still do to avoid explaining why I don't identify my orientation but still get across the message that I'm not straight) I always felt invisible.


I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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Back when I first came out, before I knew any words like "genderqueer" or "pansexual" that would later become integral to my identity, I was 13, female-identified, and was coming out as bisexual.

When you are 13 and coming out as a bi girl, you get both dismissal and hostility from people - even some of the gay people at my school were really rude to me, and seemed to think that I was either a lesbian in denial, a slut, or a straight girl who wanted attention. Considering that I was single and had never even held hands with anyone I liked at that point, all of this struck me as seriously bizarre.

I now identify as pansexual and am actually in a polyamorous triad, so on the surface I do look a lot more like the bi stereotype than I used to, but the stereotypes don't encompass the love, care, communication, and feminist consciousness that's involved in my relationships. Stereotypes make me feel tired and sad.

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"the terms "gay rights" and "gay marriage" are some of the more prevalent contributors to bi-invisibility"
THANK. YOU. As a bi-cis-woman partnered with a gay-cis-woman people are CONSTANTLY defining our relationship as "gay" or "lesbian". Why? I'm not homosexual. What do you call a relationship between two bisexual people then? Argh!

Funny that though, bisexual and lesbian women are only "hot" if they match up to strict social standards of general beauty. Fat? Not hot anymore. Asymmetrical face? Forget it. So really, the perceived "hotness" of a woman is dependent on their desirability as rated by men. Even if the woman in particular might not care whether men find her desirable or not. But I suppose that could be a rant of its own!

I attribute bi-stereotypes to the heteronormativity of the world. Women are with men and men are with women. If women are with women it's to get the attention of men and if men are with men well that's just awful is it not.
In the end stereotypes are not real. They are campy compilations of perceived qualities attributed to a non-homogenous group to artificially make it homogenous, applicable to any stereotyped group. Women. Men. Homosexuals. Old people. Asians. Teenagers. Add your own.

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Saffron Raymie
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I love this thread; you're all so marvelous and fierce. Rock on with your bad selves! [Cool]

'Obtain the virgin's consent before you marry her' - Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)

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Why are we perfectly allowed to eat any type of pizza we like and we are not allowed to eat any type of person we like? [Wink] (Figuratively of course, and even though I'm heterosexual, I totally dig "the it's cool to be and like bi-pan-fried chilli". [Wink] [Razz] )

If chilli is your thing, that is. [Razz] [Wink]

PS: Great quote, Rei!

[ 06-18-2012, 11:06 AM: Message edited by: WesLuck ]

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