Iron Man 3: Maya Hansen dies, really
Thor 2: Frigga dies, really
The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Gwen Stacy dies, really
98% of the females in X-Men:Days of Future Past: Dead, really
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Victoria Hand dies, really
Ant-Man: JANET VAN DYNE DIES, REALLY
I don’t know that we’re getting dumber, just that we’re less shamless about photographing it.
In mid-July, I was on the faculty and also a keynote speaker at Camp Pride 2014 (campuspride.org). For my keynote, rather than give a speech (I can do those too!), I did a version of my Beyond Binaries program. Seventy campers completed the anonymous questionnaire that is part of this program.
One of the questions asked: “What identity word(s) words do you use to describe your sexual orientation?” Here’s how folks responded:
bisexual or pansexual (1)
bisexual, demisexual (1)
bisexual, queer, pansexual (1)
Fluid bi sapiosexual (1)
fluid lesbian (1)
gay, queer, homosexual (1)
lesbian or homoflexible (1)
panromantic gray het/het?/Demisexual (1)
pansexual —> skoliosexual (1)
people lover, questioning (1)
Queer, energy-sexual (1)
Queer, gay (3)
Queer, gay, lesbian, fluid (1)
queer, grey, asexual, kinky, nonmonogamous, pansexual
Sexually fluid/Pansexual/Poly/Queer/mostly I say I fell of the sexual orientation wagon (1)
straight-ish (but usually straight) (1)
Note that 24 people wrote in more than one identity word when filling out the questionnaire.
Here’s something to think about: if these students had instead been filling out a multiple-choice questionnaire in which they were asked, “What is your sexual orientation?” with only “Straight” or “Lesbian” or “Gay” or “Bisexual” as options and where they were required to choose ONE of these in order to move to the next question, how would that have affected what researchers [thought they] could conclude?
Words matter. They can reveal or conceal a great deal about us.
"That’s rather interesting. Here’s my gut response: a person can label themselves whatever sexuality they want to. They can. However, there are technically definitions of words for different sexualities. Lesbian or gay is meant to be strictly attracted to others of the same sex or gender. The moment one deviates outside of that, one technically is not either of those things.
Who technically defines different sexualities? Who means strictly attracted to others of the same sex or gender? In many cases, those strict definitions were applied arbitrarily and abstractly by a predominantly straight abnormal psychology for the purpose of diagnosis. And we’ve known since Kinsey that those “technical” definitions are not entirely accurate. Not only that, they’re strongly ethnocentric since those definitions change between decades and cultural contexts.(I’m putting “technical” in scare quotes there because the “technical” definitions you’re using are not technical at all, they’re political folksonomies.)
It feels as uncomfortable to me as someone who called themselves “straight,” but is attracted to someone or many people of the same sex or gender. And when I say “uncomfortable,” I mean uncomfortable with the misuse of words.
MSM, gay-for-pay, situational homosexuality, and experimental straights exist. Cross-cultural ideas about sexuality where gender-normative men and women are not identified as gay or lesbian exist. Those terms need to be defined in ways that are flexible and fluid because any human cultural reality is going to be flexible and fluid to varying degrees.
Insisting on arbitrary “technical” definitions means that those people are harmed due to lack of needed resources and advocacy. Not to mention that it runs against a key value of queer theory which puts the emphasis on self-description and social and political contexts rather than imposed arbitrary boundaries.
We recently reblogged a post announcing the upcoming Painkiller Jane movie where the OP expressed glee at a bisexual female protagonist from a different comic company than DC/Marvel getting a movie before the larger studios. One respondent took the OP to task for erasing Black Widow’s bisexuality. I dislike the idea that we would attack each other as a community, especially when there is no reason to believe that Black Widow is bisexual based on her portrayal in the movies. Or in the comics for that matter.
And um, it’s Marvel, one of the big two American comics companies that, since the death of the British Invasion, hasn’t done anything innovative with sexuality or gender that can’t be retconned with plausible denial, killed off, or shuffled into production hell, and a movie franchise that combines high production values with aggressive market triangulation (possibly even more triangulated now that they’re in the Disney basket). I think there’s better buzz about getting Karolina Dean on a screen than bi Natasha.
Honestly I think that LGBT people need to quit stanning for rumored crumbs from the Big Two when we get better support from the independents. Unambiguous and in print from Image: Saga, Rat Queens, The Wicked + The Divine, and Shutter. That’s just a portion of the catalog of one publisher.