Last night I watched Channel 4. Then I regretted it. Then I felt furious about it. Then I went to bed. I woke up feeling just as angry. I wrote a facebook status about it:
“After watching another HIDEOUS programme on Channel 4 about bisexuality I feel FURIOUS. Who wants make something amazing with me? Who’s got the skills? Who knows who? Surely between us we know people who can help make this happen? Failing that, grab a camera, we’re off to interview people this summer to make an online sensation; An honest, open, interesting, challenging film about bisexuality. Not titillating, sensationalised RUBBISH. Who’s with me?”
After lots of volunteers (and a spreadsheet of them later), it seems I’m not the only angry one. Why are we told to just ‘be happy they’re making shows about it at all’. No. Enough is enough and I’m fighting back. Then, I got a message from Lesbilicious (www.lesbilicious.co.uk) asking me to review it. So I did. Here it is:
Bi-curious me opens with burlesque dancers stripping. One minute in we hear the interviewer ask “is sex better with a woman or a man?”. Our yelling starts. My girlfriend and I sat back and discussed how ANOTHER programme which had all the opportunity to share positive stories of bisexuality, challenge biphobia and create an interesting and challenging documentary, yet again cascaded in the first minute, with horrendous bisexual bingo on stereotypes. It followed three women who are ‘exploring their sexuality’ kissing each other, chatting people up in the street (because their ‘free sexuality’ liberates them, appearing to others as promiscuous), going to strip clubs and interacting with strippers because “it’s not just for a man”. The second was struggling with her sexuality, and the third who had a broken marriage due to the exploration of her sexuality.
I felt saddened that, yet again, a programme had failed to depict a bisexual person in a positive, not for titillation, monogamous fashion. At the end of the programme, the shows focus person, Hayley Quinn, was asked if she thought she could be monogamous now, after she’d invited her ex-boyfriend on holiday with her and her girlfriend in an attempt to try and get back with him. It felt like yet another dig at bisexual people; that we can only be straight, gay, or polyamourous. Don’t get me wrong, some are curious or polyamourous, but not all of us. I have been with my girlfriend for 3 years, and I am constantly identified as gay, with people telling me “Well, if you’re only with her and you don’t want anyone else, then that makes you gay. You can’t have it all”. This programme had the chance to dispel this myth, explore identity and social perceptions, but it didn’t. I feel like I am always being told by society that the only way I can identify as bisexual is to be single, poly or make sure that every time I sleep with a woman, I ALWAYS sleep with a man to keep the balance. This programme just fuelled that ridiculous stereotype.
And where were all the bisexual men? I remember once dating a bisexual man. People were so brutal and openly discriminative towards him because “It’s ok for you, you’re a girl, but it’s different with him. Aren’t you freaked out that he’s been with a man?” Why didn’t the programme use the opportunity to explore society’s perception of bisexual men AND women, and why weren’t they more clear about the difference between bicurious and bisexual? There’s a big difference. Which, according to Channel 4, didn’t warrant any focus; they were obviously too busy ensuring that the sleazy music ran consistently as an undercurrent.
The most interesting part lay with ‘Sophie’ as she told us how she felt like she would never be ‘out and proud’, which is true for a lot of people; some due to their own concerns, others because of the biphobia that still remains in both the heterosexual and LGBT community.
My advice, if you haven’t seen ‘Bi-curious me’, is don’t. Although one good thing has come out of this; I’ve realised that if you want something doing well, do it yourself. So, I have started to put a team together to create something positive, honest and challenging about the bisexual community. If you would like to be involved, get in touch: @artwith_heart or http://www.facebook.com/weareartwithheart
I’m serious about making something. I’ve already got 15 people and counting on my spreadsheet alongside which skills they would like to add to the project. Let’s make it happen!