Over the next eight weeks, I will explore both progressive and problematic depictions of bisexuality in order to see how far we've come and how much progress still needs to be made. Together, we will look at examples in film, television, music, celebrity culture, and new media. And, with any luck, we will be able to start a discussion about what the media could be doing to increase realistic and positive depictions of bisexual identities and, by extension, advance bisexual acceptance.
Kids are indeed the future and so they're also the site of great moral panic. As more kids are skipping the closet, debate rages on about what is appropriate to "expose" young people to—which also raises the question of what is appropriate to acknowledge as already existing in young people's experiences. And because it is easier to recognize the specificity of queer sexuality, sociality, and familial forms in the face of unmarked mainstream culture—where hetero love stories provide the narrative framing for most cultural products—youth and non-normative sexuality are a fascinating and revealing combination. (Maybe my next post will be on why the Disney Princesses have made the "PC" leap to include a princess of color but won't be advertising a lesbian princess any time soon?) So in this series, I want to ask: How have discourses of sexuality and gender been transformed in the context of youth? Who gets to speak for kids? Where do young people receive their most influential messages about the values around sex, sexuality, and gender, and their proper performance?
The vows have been said, the register signed and the happy couple kissed on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in front of screaming crowds. For those of us who didn't score an invite to the most exclusive wedding of the decade, the media was on hand to guide us through the day—with a depressingly predictable side order of sexism.
You know, I was gonna start off with a standard intro, but that was mucking up my flow, so I had to switch it up in order to get unstuck. If you've spent some time around these parts, you may remember my original Bitch blogging series, a two-parter called On the Map, where I provided a slight peek at feminisms that exist around the globe. It's been a year since that gig ended, and I am thrilled for the opportunity to return for a new series—this time about an issue I've been struggling with for two decades that has picked up steam in the mainstream: street harassment. I use the word "struggle" intentionally because of its multiple meanings, and if you continue to read Takin' it to the Streets (which I dearly hope you do!), then you'll soon find out what I mean.
Earlier this month, celebrated author Jonathan Franzen finally graced The Oprah Winfrey Show stage, an appearance roughly nine years in the making. Some of you may recall the press that surrounded Winfrey's book club selection of Frazen's novel The Corrections in late 2001. Post-selection, Franzen expressed some discomfort with having a corporate "Oprah Book Club" logo attached to his creation. Oprah, stating she didn't want to make anyone uncomfortable as the reason, canceled Franzen's appearance on her show to promote the selection. It didn't hurt The Corrections sales, but it did blemish the author's personal reputation for a period.
In September of this year, Oprah chose Franzen's new novel, Freedom, as December's book club selection. On December 6, he met Winfrey on the stage. Oprah introduced the segment saying, "…Jonathan Franzen…someone I've been waiting a long time to finally meet." Oprah barely suppresses an eye roll and the audience laughs. "Don't start with me people!"
I was in San Francisco last April, having dinner with an old friend
from college. His mother married, many years ago, a close business
partner of Rupert Murdoch. This had been, back in our school days, the cause of many
a sympathetic, slow shake of the head, because we liberal middle class
kids felt badly that he was only two degrees of separation from a man
we thought sucked in a big way. I asked him, not really remembering the
Murdoch connection, how his mother was doing. He smiled and said she
was fine, and then started to laugh.
"What's so funny?" I asked.
husband was over at Fox News in New York last week and oh my God those
people are so dumb. They're all running around, talking about needing
to be conservative enough for Rupert, and guess what? Rupert doesn't
care what the fuck they say on TV."
He kept laughing through the
rest of his sentence, something to the effect of Fox News is so
right-wing because they think they're supposed to be right-wing, not
because they really want to be.