It’s not uncommon for people to come out as gay after being in heterosexual relationships. But when the gay/straight binary is so enforced, these storylines become a media trope that disregards bisexuality. Because Drew is now partnered with a man, he must be gay–no one mentions the idea that Drew could be bisexual. When closeted people only have the option of coming out as gay, as opposed to bi or queer, we perpetuate two harmful tropes: that there are only two sexual orientations, and that the gender of your partner determines your sexual identity.
I’m writing this in a Submit because it was a tad too long to fit in the ask. It may be a bit disjointed, so if you post it, please feel free to edit it / respond as you see fit.
I’ve been thinking about this for awhile, the idea of River’s character / River’s bisexuality / etc.
1. Moffat says she’s bisexual, but we don’t see any evidence of it in the show.
2. Moffat says he’s not working towards creating bisexual identity (might be the wrong phrase, what I mean is that tweet from him in response to someone else, from around when he outed her as bi)
3. You can be bisexual without flip-flopping between sexes (i.e. River’s just being with the Doctor doesn’t invalidate her bisexuality)
So I suppose my point or question sort of is - does her sexuality matter? Is it really that important that a bisexual character “fly the bisexual flag,” so to speak? River to me is one of the strongest characters in the show, I feel. You’ve said on multiple occasions that Moffat’s general portrayal of bisexuals as “having too much fun” is offensive, so here’s a bisexual character who’s in a committed relationship. And wouldn’t it be the same if she was outed as bisexual outside the context of the show but was only seen in a relationship with a female?
I suppose my general question is: How important /is/ River’s sexuality to the show in general? We’ve seen that the arc of her story is centered around the Doctor, and doesn’t it make sense then that she’s seen with him?
-Again, sorry if this is jumbled, and I’m sorry if I misunderstood anything you were trying to say before in regards to her character!
Of course, all these points are sort of valid, and everyone is allowed to think whatever they want about the character of River and how she is portrayed. But to me, it’s a matter of having had enough. And I think we’ve covered all of this before, but I will repeat it: River Song as the “flirtatious unreliable bisexual woman” is a trope that is being repeated again and again and again and again and again and again. It’s perfectly fine to have problems with it. No, River’s sexuality isn’t important to she show at large, but when bisexual people have such a hard time to get any visibility in the media at all, it’s really damn annoying when pretty much the little visibility there is turns out to be exactly the same and harmful stereotypes that gives people the completely wrong idea of bisexual people. Go on, give me one example of a bisexual ever who hasn’t been promiscuous, cheating or unreliable. Those characteristics on their own do not always have to be negative, sure, a lot of people are like one or several of those things, but when that’s the ONLY kind of bisexual we see in the media, it gets old pretty quickly.
“We’ve seen that the arc of her story is centered around the Doctor, and doesn’t it make sense then that she’s seen with him?”
This is another thing that we have a problem with and have covered in several posts, the fact that her whole storyline and identity ended up revolving completely around the Doctor is pretty awful. She started out as a cool and independent character, but in the end her whole storyline has been twisted to just revolve around one single man. The fact that her plot revolves around the Doctor is not an argument for only showing her showing any affection or attraction towards the “opposite” sex, it only makes it even more problematic.
Moffat has a history of displaying very little understanding for any sexuality that isn’t heterosexuality, so it’s not a surprise that he keeps getting it wrong. What is frustrating and enraging is when he completely refuses to listen to people who are part of the sexual minorities he insist on including. It’s not difficult getting it right. But he seems more interesting in enforcing harmful stereotypes and using people’s sexualities for cheap laughs and punchlines.
And don’t worry about your post being jumbled, I’m pretty jumbled myself.
In which I write metaphors involving pizza about problematic writing
This post contains criticism of Steven Moffat, both his writing and his personal views as expressed on his Twitter. I’m putting it under a cut because I don’t want to inflict my views on people who aren’t interested in them. If you disagree with me and read on anyway, it’s a free interweb, but on your own head be it.
TW: Biphobia; monosexism; unchecked straight, monosexual, and male privilege; privilege denial; bisexual stereotypes; gendered stereotypes; gender essentialism; sexism; references to sexual harassment
Spoilers for Coupling
Just to clarify:
There is a difference between in not wanting a character’s entire personality or arc based on their sexuality, and not acknowledging it at all.
Both are problematic. And you don’t have to do one in order to not do the other. Because there appears to be some confusion surrounding this.
Saying “It’s problematic that we see nothing of River’s bisexuality on screen” is not the same as saying “I want an arc that entirely revolves around River’s sexuality”
Saying “I want River’s bisexuality acknowledged” does not mean “Hey, let’s put a bunch of sex scenes in a kid’s show”. Because I think we’ve all agreed that bisexual people have more to their identity than who they’re sleeping with.