The Big Bisexual Bang: The Sexuality Spectrum

Channing Tatum allegedly “came out” as bisexual a couple years back and ever since has been this dancing, stripping, manly beacon of pan-sexual tendencies. Whether or not the Chan Man actually spends his time lockin lips with all the chromosomes, I don’t really know, and I try not to base my opinions off of tabloids instead of interviews (celebrities actually talk you know). A couple years before Channing found the lime light, there was another bisexual beauty…Anne Heche. She was Ellen Degeneres’ hubby before they split and she remarried. Heche however, did not get the praise and acceptance that Channing was welcomed by. Maybe because she was talking about being abducted by aliens, or maybe because America just won’t let you mess with Ellen, but it was a big deal (See this article in People from 2000 talk about the big break). Bigger than college girls kissing big deal. She was a lesbian and then she wasn’t. Ah! The apocalypse! Or maybe, just maybe, sexuality isn’t quite as black and white as pop culture wants to make it. Maybe our neat labels should be a little more like holograms, and should be able to change, like most human beings do.

Everyone knows that sexuality in Hollywood is basically a caricature depiction of femininity and masculinity, and that until recently (like 2010 recently) gay and lesbian actions were as much a stunt for young starlets as slipping a nip on the red carpet.  Remember Britney and Madonna locking lips at the VMAs?  It was ALL OVER the news for way too long.  That kind of publicity stunt reminded me of the whole Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson nip slip debacle at the Super Bowl a couple years later.  It wasn’t a relationship, and we weren’t witness to a real kind of love, sexuality was and often still is about the entertainment value.  I have a lot to say about Miley Cyrus and her ridiculous tumble into this weird sub-culture where everybody licks things and promotes serious drug habits and exploits other sub-cultures, but her VMA stunt was the same kind of sexuality puppet as all the others before her.  It was to get us talking, and boy does America like to talk.

The REAL story is that in America, sexuality confuses us.  Neil Patrick Harris, one of the more progressive gay-rights activists in Hollywood, plays a suave womanizing character on How I Met Your Mother.  I end up thinking, how can we keep promoting this weird degrading character and the actor who openly represents almost the complete opposite and not realize how contradictory it is?  Just because everyone knows someone who acts like a Barney Stinson, doesn’t mean we should accept that kind of behavior as a social norm unless EVERYONE was allowed to act that way.  I still don’t see any women in sitcoms who get to pick up guys like Barney picked up girls.  And I certainly don’t see any accurate depictions of the gay dating scene, or any gay/lesbian Barney-like sexual beings on TV.  I love Will and Grace as much as… well anyone who likes Will and Grace, but I don’t think we get the suave sexual gay man or woman vibe from those characters.  They are entertaining, but still caricatures of actual life.

This isn’t even what I meant to talk about.  What I meant to explain, was that bisexuality is not the mythical unicorn of sexuality.  In fact it’s a lot more common than our culture admits.  The one thing I like and support about this new Miley-esque pan-sexual movement, is that it encourages people to consider sexuality as a spectrum, rather than the boxes and labels that a lot of the entertainment industry puts people in.  Which brings me to this- you are not a label.

You don’t have to be straight or gay or bisexual.  You can just be.  You can make out with a girl one day and a guy the next and like both of the experiences.  That doesn’t make you bad or weird, it means that you are capable of sexuality that spans beyond the conventional definitions of American culture today.  I think that as a society, and because of the gay rights movement, we are finally moving towards a way of thinking that allows people to be judged based on who they are rather than who they kiss.  But that kind of thinking spreads like any other trend, and we have to first recognize what we are trying to promote in order to transfer a message worth agreeing with.

Here is F’s Sexuality Spectrum:

1. Sex is not forbidden, but it is always risky (emotionally and physically) and is always CONSENSUAL.

If it’s not consensual, it’s not sex. Rape culture is not cool.  Sex is cool.  Don’t think it’s ok to laugh about non-consensual sex, or non-consensual situations no matter who is involved and what gender they are.  No is no, drunk is drunk, be educated enough to know the difference.  And just as importantly, be accepting enough to let sex be just sex when everyone is on board.

2. Love is not gender-specific, and neither is sex.

Men, women, transgender, and transsexual people all have hormones.  We are all people.  Most of us want to have sex, love, and be loved.  You don’t have to choose whether you love men or women, you can choose the people you love because of who they are and how they treat you.  Sex and sexual acts are possible between any and all gender variations, so as long as you both want to, do what makes you feel good.

3. You don’t have to be straight or gay or bisexual… neither does anyone else.

Sexuality is not black and white, there are a million shades of grey in between, and you don’t have to pick a side and stick to it.  You can choose your partners based on mutual attraction.  That attraction might depend on the day.  That doesn’t make you wrong, it makes you human.  Try to be as open, honest, and understanding of yourself as possible.  Once you can understand, accept, and love your own tendencies, its much easier to spread that love and understanding to others.

In our constantly evolving sexual culture, it is important to remember that there are universal messages that we can apply to everyone.  We can spread the right things instead of just shaming all the wrongs.  I think it’s time we started spreading a message worth believing in, and worth practicing.  So if you think so too, pass it on.

x0

F.

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The Hair Dare: No shave…Never.

Does anyone actually like to shave? Guy or girl, doesn’t matter. The idea of dragging a knife across my face or legs just never seemed appealing. So why do it? When did it become the social norm? Welp, I read some articles and looked at some sources (Courtesy of an awesome article from Women You Should Know) and did a little looking on Wikipedia, and what it seemed was that shaving changed with the fashions and just never stopped.

When sleeveless dresses first arrived in the 1920s, getting rid of “unsightly” hair was the thing to do, kind of like dream catcher or owl tattoos now (sorry to those of you who have meaning behind them… some college kids are ruining your swag though). But in the winter? There’s no practical reason to keep the pits all prickly– let it go!

Except… most never really do. Sure for a week or two when there’s no chance of getting any, but do men and women really just keep themselves trimmed for their love life? Like attracting someone was worth the insane itch for like 3 minutes the morning after a shower? Ok fine, maybe. But I still just don’t get why hair is so masculine.

Women have had hair forever. All women. In fact in some cultures, women commonly have facial hair. In some Sikh cultures it is considered a sin to alter your body in any way including shaving, so some women who have facial hair feel totally comfortable with it (remember Balpreet Kaur and how awesomely she called out her critics?).

I am lucky enough to only have one out-of-place stupid wirey follicle that grows once every few months on my throat, but even that one puny hair drives me actually insane when it shows up. I’ve even named it. It’s a Gertrude (sorry to any Gerties out there, it just really felt fitting). And I have no problem with facial hair… I actually really admire it. I love beards. But one hair, just one, is enough to make me pull over on a highway and pluck it to death.

In terms of men with facial hair and their significant others, I understand the difficulties of real beard burn, but aesthetically I just don’t get the boyish clean cut hairless thing as a mandate for all men. Sure, if you want to spend hours grooming, more power to you, but I am just not on that bandwagon. I think people with severely shaped eyebrows are terrifying. They look like evil Disney queens. If getting all plucked and shaved makes you feel sexy, awesome! But beards are sexy too, and flaunting them and their lack of conventional beauty-maintenance could apply to body hair of any kind. Be happy to be comfortable in your own skin, whatever that means.

In terms of our dirty bits, there are scientific explanations for our luscious locks down there. In other, clearer terms, pubic hair is there for a reason. Back in the olden days, in fact before the olden days, when men and women weren’t wearing pants yet, pubic hair was protection from whatever dirt or disease was floating around near the special bits. Now, some of us wear underwear, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t serve the same purpose. Our hair still helps us regulate heat and even feel things!

Also, it seems that every hair removal technique that goes on down there is pretty dangerous.  Chemicals, sharp metal pieces that are never shaped right to do the job, or even wax… hot, burning, wax.  I think that if 5000 years from now humans still exist and are looking back on our time, Brazilian waxes will be used as a method of torture.  Laser hair removal will take 20 seconds once every two years.  Less often than even doctor’s appointments (which will still take 2 hours by my calculations).

I understand wanting to stay the mystery of what is beneath the bikini, and I am all for keeping trim and neat, but the obsessive need to be hairless in our American culture, kind of freaks me out.  Are we trying to look prepubescent?  That’s on purpose?  Why is looking like a kid a turn on?  That’s all kinds of messed up in my eyes.

When it comes down to it, like everything regarding fashion, do what makes you feel good!  As a wise man once told me, “you’ve got to feel fly to be fly.”  So do what you gotta do, whatever that is, but remember that hair is TOTALLY NATURAL and by all means NORMAL.  So if you find yourself rushed in the shower, or just a little more turned on with some fuzz, don’t be afraid to put down the tiny sword and surrender to your body’s natural tendencies.  In the meantime, I will do my best to accept my Gertrude, and keep my eyes on the road.

x0

F.

A New Kind of Feminism. Not Just For Women.

Feminism, as defined by the latest Oxford English Dictionary, is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.”  Why do you think the vast majority of feminists are women then?  Is it because women care about their rights more than men care about women’s rights?  Maybe, though I know many men who are more for women’s empowerment than some women I know (like at a Beyonce concert vs a Chris Brown concert).  It seems to me that “feminism” is often seen as an exclusive club for men-bashing, sign-holding, armpit-hair-having women, to talk about why it’s hard to be a woman in this time and age.

I don’t know where this reputation came from aside from pictures of protestors from the 1920s advocating for women’s right to vote in America, (which I think we can all agree was well deserved) but I’ve never seen a feminist that fits that description.  Although women were “radicals” asking to be heard back then, feminism is not so far-fetched now.  If you don’t think that women and men should be paid equally, receive equal benefits, and have equal opportunity for employment, your political views probably sound pretty ancient to most Americans.  So if we in America are a culture that values women and their contributions to society, why would supporting those rights be somehow so radical that to be a feminist is to be a woman-loving, hard-headed, and downright annoying individual?  It’s hypocritical, dumb, and as far as I can tell, totally false.

Feminism is not feminine.  If it was it would be associated with painting your nails and watching Grey’s Anatomy.  Feminism as a stigma somehow emasculates men, and masculinizes women, while totally ignoring the whole point of the word; gender equality.  Everything that’s wrong with the way we misinterpret feminism in America is a mirror to what’s wrong with gender stereotypes in our culture as well.  Feminism is confusing because it makes us take a step back from the body parts and examine gender in your actions rather than your appearance.

What I have to ask is, why is that so terrifying?  Why in America is it so confusing for a woman to be butch or a man to be feminine?  I know that gay rights is a hot topic right now, but I don’t even mean who you sleep with, I mean who you are.  Why are we so terrified of reassigning our roles to fit modern times?

Once again, I don’t know.  I know that I know plenty of men who cry all the time and plenty of women who never do and are all still pretty great people.  Turns out, regardless of your mannerisms, preferences, gender, or sex, you are still a person who deserves rights, respect, and empathy from your peers.  We could judge people based on the way they check their fingernails or who they sleep with, or we could look at people for what they do for others, and the injustices they stand up for.

So just like straight men can wear pink, gay men can wear clashing outfits, gay women can do their hair and makeup everyday, and straight women can dominate in the bedroom.  The stereotypes that we assign to people are bashing individuals for their personalities.  We alienate outliers based on an outdated standard of behavior that we haven’t taken the time to push forward.  The point of all of this?  We can change it.  Feminism doesn’t have to be a bad thing, it can be a way to accept each other for who we are and what we value rather than how we look.  Feminism, like gender equality, is for everyone.  The issues that plague every she, he and they are our issues.  We are all feminists.  Wear some pink.  Get over it.

Xo

F.