Bi Erasure in Film and TV: the issue of Representing Bisexual People On Screen

This guest post authored by Amy Davis seems included in our theme week on Bisexual Representation. Good and complex representations of bisexual and pansexual characters on display screen are incredibly few and far between that film experts speaking about representation that is bisexual usually kept lamenting our erasure, or regarding the uncommon occasions we have been represented our stereotyping and demonization.

Within the 100 top grossing films that are domestic the U.S. in 2015, away from 4,370 figures (talking or named), only 32 figures or .7% had been LGBT, and just 5 of these figures had been bisexual, relating to USC Annenberg. Based on GLAAD, 4% of regular figures on primetime broadcast tv show are LGBT characters. Associated with the 271 LGBT characters (regular and recurring) on primetime, cable, and television that is streaming, 76 or 28% are bisexual. According to Stonewall’s report in the representation of LGB individuals (unfortunately they would not add data on trans figures) on tv show watched by young adults within the U.K., in over 126 hours of development, bisexual individuals were portrayed just for five full minutes and 9 moments, when compared with 4 hours and 24 mins for homosexual guys, and 42 moments for lesbian ladies.

As soon as we do show up on screen, bisexuality is generally utilized to point hypersexuality, such as for example Bo from Lost woman and physician Frank N Furter through the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The character’s bisexuality is also used to code “evil” or “dangerous” or “murderous,” using their (hyper)sexuality as a method of manipulation and control, for instance Sharon Stone’s character in the erotic thriller Basic Instinct at its most extreme depictions of reinforcing biphobic tropes.

Because difficult as our erasure and stereotyping is, nevertheless, I’d prefer to exceed issue of “good” and “bad” representations of bisexual figures to ask this: precisely just exactly what its about bisexuality rendering it so difficult to represent on display screen? And just why, whenever bisexuality can be viewed, is it so expected to collapse back in principal stereotypes of bisexuality as either promiscuous or just a period?

Narrative movie and tv, featuring its increased exposure of conflict and quality, is badly prepared to express bisexuality.

The committed, monogamous couple continues to express the peak of intimate satisfaction in modern Western tradition. As a result the familiar plot that is romantic narrative film and television involves some type of conflict frequently an erotic triangle that will be remedied if the protagonist makes an option between possible suitors and becomes section of a couple of (see, actually, any rom com ever made). In this particular format then, bisexuality can frequently simply be a disruption to your status quo. The kids Are All Right, for example, the lesbian relationship between Jules (Julianne Moore) and Nic (Annette Bening) is disrupted when Jules begins an affair with Paul (Mark Ruffalo), the sperm donor of their children in 2010 comedy drama. Through the film, Jules identifies as a lesbian, never declaring she’s questioning or bisexual her sex. As long as Jules’ infidelity persists, bisexuality includes a presence that is spectral the movie. The narrative conflict presented by bisexuality/infidelity is solved, nonetheless, whenever Jules comes to an end the event and also the lesbian/monogamous status quo is restored. The threat of Jules’ bisexuality effectively repudiated in the final scene, Jules and Nic are shown smiling at each other and holding hands. At the best, bisexuality is depicted when you look at the young ones Are Alright as a short-term period, at worst, as non existent; merely a minute of weakness within a overarching narrative of monogamous couplehood that is lesbian.

Needless to say the extensive myth of bisexual desire as triangulated and so constantly split between two item alternatives is demonstrably false.

Numerous bi range people see on their own as drawn to individuals instead of genders and never feel unfulfilled when they’re in a relationship with someone of the gender that is particular. What’s more, numerous queer individuals reject the notion of the gender binary entirely, having relationships with individuals throughout the sex range, including genderqueer and non binary people. Nonetheless, the idea that sex is binary plus the importance that is overwhelming on (binary) sex as item option inside our culture implies that bisexuality is inevitably regarded as dichotomous desire inside our society. Into the teenagers Are fine, and many other movies with bi potential, bisexuality then gets mischaracterized as an unstable, dichotomous desire which must certanly be subsumed back in the monogamous, monosexual (straight or homosexual) status quo.

But to comprehend the mechanisms by which this does occur, it is important to know the principal logic of monogamy. A narrative of monogamy involves the notion that there is one true partner for everyone in its most perfect and pure form. The reality for all of us, but, is the fact that we’ve a few intimate relationships or even a few marriages for the duration of our life, which can be referred to as “serial monogamy.”. When it comes to logic of this “soul mate” to get results alongside the realities of serial monogamy, but, must you de stress the importance of previous relationships or disregard them as mere errors on the path to finding one’s ultimate life partner (“I happened to be thinking I happened to be in love but i did son’t understand what love was”).