Throughout this series, we've talked a lot about labels. Identifying as gay or straight can be complicated enough; for those of us somewhere in the middle, it gets even trickier. Discussions over "bi" versus "queer" versus "pansexual" versus "fluid" get very complicated, very quickly. It makes me wonder: Why are we so hung up on labels? Do we even need labels anymore?
I have noticed that often such stories use sexual fluidity among young women to signify rebellion against hegemonic institutions. In stories ostensibly about conflict between women and their families and women and male lovers, hints of bisexuality are present as indications of the larger ways in which the women in question are opposing oppression.
What's the line between friendship and romance? This is a big question that we'll address throughout this series, but today, I want to explore it in the context of heterosexual male friendships. Specifically, I want to explore it in the context of the 21st century's offshoot of the buddy comedy—the "bromance."
As I've read through the comments on my first two posts (thank you for those, by the way!), I've noticed an interesting trend that relates to what I want to talk about today: A lot of folks seem to have mixed feelings about the word "bisexual." Some are uncomfortable using it because of the way others react to hearing it; some prefer other words to describe non-monosexual attraction, such as pansexual, queer, or fluid. I understand the reasons why "bisexual" doesn't work for everyone (for a long time, it didn't work for me, either), and I'm not interested in dictating language choice or policing identities. Labels are personal, and different people react to words differently. However, I am interested in exploring the reasons why people choose the labels they do and, similarly, the reasons why many people resist the label of "bisexual."
Along with hot pink and oversize handbags, women's magazines are pushing a new trend this season: lesbianism. At least, that is the impression given by this article in this month's O Magazine (featured also today on CNN.com).
The article, entitled "Why Women Are Leaving Men For Other Women," deals with well, exactly what it sounds like it would deal with. While it's a great thing that a mainstream magazine like O is apparently making an effort to normalize same-sex relationships, it's hard not to feel a little weird about the way the author (Mary A. Fischer) treats lesbianism and sexual fluidity as a fun, sexy, new trend that is all the rage this season. (What's next? Flashy new mood rings that change color based on your gender identity?)