Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fuck You, Ryan Murphy. #glee #biphobia #spoilers

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WARNING – This is regarding Glee spoilers for later in the season. So If you want to be surprised, or aren’t up to date with your episodes (2x12 Silly Love Songs), stop reading now. (This isn’t really about Glee itself, but about comments made by the creator regarding bisexuality.) And it's really really long, and this is the short version. (Not this. Scroll down to the Read More jump for the full post.)


Where do I even begin... There is just so much wrong with this entire situation right now. You'll have to forgive me, I barely slept last night. Because of this. Well, talking about it, I mean.

If you don’t know anything about Glee, start here:
I learned just after the 1st season explaining the whole premise of Glee to people who’ve never watched it is like slamming my head into a brick wall. Repeatedly. And then watching the blood sloooowly drip down… So I’m not going to try to do that now, because it’s on tonight and I’d like to be at least half conscious. (The brain-dead side can deal with the Bieber. But they’re covering RENT and even if I already hate their version of it, I want to see it. Oh by the way I already have all of the non-Bieber songs from tonight’s episode if anyone wants to know where to get them… other than itunes, but you know how I feel about the totalitarian tyrant that is Apple Inc.) Long story short, it’s a comedy/satirical version of high school with a ton of social commentary and fancy song and dance routines, ok? Kurt is gay and effeminate and is being bullied by a closeted/questioning football/hockey player Dave Karofsky (who many of us suspect really REALLY likes Kurt but can’t deal with it because his friends and possibly family are totally homophobic gay-bashing assholes and he does it too, to fit in.) and Kurt is the only one who knows Dave’s secret. Kurt has this friend Blaine who gives him advice about how to be openly gay and all that good stuff. A bunch of things happen, Kurt doesn’t feel safe at school anymore so he transfers to a private boarding school. Cue Darren Criss overload.

Glee Glossary/Index:
Klaine = Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer Y) + Blaine Anderson (Darren Criss) ship
Brittana = Brittany Pierce (Heather Morris) + Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera) ship (which is confirmed to become canon later on – “Brittana is so on.”) “Promiscuous cheerleaders.”
Ryan Murphy = bi-bashing doucheba--  i mean creator of Glee.
RIB = initials of the 3 producers/writers/whatever they do.
Jeremiah = guy who works at the Gap. Blaine likes him. (Blaine THINKS he likes him. Blaine is also very stupid when it comes to love.)

About a week ago, we caught wind of several rumors regarding an openly gay TV character's bicurious experience. We recently discovered (read Monday, Feb 14th) that it IS in fact glee's Blaine Anderson (played by Darren Criss of Starkid fame). While many were upset that their confident, "out and proud" gay role model would be questioning his own sexuality in the show, some of us in the bisexual/pansexual community jumped for joy at the chance to have our very own out and proud (and male) role model, or at the very least a legitimate, positive portrayal of bisexuality.

I suspect we will be very, very disappointed. Because actually, we already are.

A lot of us believe that sexuality is fluid; so if that is true, why not for Blaine? Questioning isn’t weakness. It's ok. In fact, it should be encouraged. What better way to reach out to questioning youth than someone they can relate to as well? And there aren’t a lot of strong male bisexual role models on TV, especially on huge shows like Glee. In fact, I can’t think of a single one. So many people can relate to this kind of a situation that it would be remiss of RIB to completely disclude them. Let me put that another way – this is a major opportunity for the Glee writers and producers to reach out to a marginalized, and often ignored or exploited minority without that lacks any real, relevant role models in the media. This would have been ground-breaking in ways we never dreamed.

But no, none of this is going to happen.

I spent a lot of time on Tumblr last night thinking and talking about this. What I immediately disliked was how many in the Klaine fandom immediately jumped to the conclusion that Klaine would never happen if Blaine was bisexual, as if it meant he was incapable of being in a relationship with another man. As if being bisexual meant he couldn't ever be attracted to Kurt, and that his role as Kurt’s mentor would now forever be a lie.

Excuse me? Bisexuality doesn’t diminish anyone’s “gayness” (to use the technical term ;-P). Blaine can still be there for Kurt. He’s still the same person. He still has the experiences that  have “helped” Kurt, and they will always have that, and their experiences together, in common. This would by no means be the end of everything as we know it. It’s just the exploration of another side. No one said anything about Blaine dating someone else, other than his failed attempts at wooing Jeremiah. Dating a girl vs. dating Jeremiah makes no difference whatsoever, so why are some fans so upset about the potential loss of Klaine due to bi-ness, eh? Dating someone other than Kurt is not because he’s bisexual but because he wants to date that other person. Ok?

Moving on.

There is this belief that A) bisexuals aren't part of either the gay or straight communities;
B) they have to somehow be "different" from gay or straight characters and represent (but will never belong or be as legitimate/valid as) a gay or straight character (which is a problem for the character of Blaine, as the mentor, because apparently being bi invalidates his experiences and therefore his advice);
And C) will therefore always fall into the same category of stereotyping as promiscuous cheaters/commitment-phobes (for bi women) or entirely nonexistent disease carriers (bi men) because they are just "in a phase," or "experimenting," or horny & desperate or just haven't picked a side yet, and are placed into a story simply for ratings/comedy/drama but add no actual value to the plot.

So they "belong" by being the punch line, because it’s not important to portray bisexuality as anything but a fleeting thought, a phase/experiment, or a comical/dramatic little plot point to boost ratings.

Which brings us to Ryan Murphy, the creator and executive producer of Glee.

"Blaine is NOT bi. He is gay, and will always be gay. I think it's very important to young kids that they know this character is one of them."

"Blaine will openly question whether bisexuality is real," he said. "I think that some people will love that discussion and some will not love it."
Yea, we bisexuals don’t love it. It wasn’t enough to have Blaine question his own sexuality and watch the crowd go wild. Maybe it didn’t cause enough of a stir. No. Instead, Blaine will be challenging whether or not bisexuality even exists. So not only do we get to see a comedic spoof of our orientation, in addition to the continuing stereotypes of bisexual women as “slutty cheaters” (courtesy of Brittana), but an entire episode centered around whether or not our orientation is even a valid identity. An entire episode of bisexual ERASURE.

“One of them.” = bisexuals are not part of the gay/queer community.
“Openly question whether bisexuality is real.” = There is some debate as to whether bisexuality even exists. (Yes, I’m intentionally putting it nicely.)

Why is it that the "out and proud gay character" can't legitimately question his sexuality without putting down bisexuality at the same time, like it somehow diminishes his ability or desire to be in a relationship with another man, or it means he isn't "one of them"?

The problem with statements like is that they are incredibly dismissive, offensive, and reinforce the same old stereotypes:
Bisexual men specifically are not part of the LGBT community, because if Blaine were bi, he wouldn’t be “one of them.” Because being bisexual takes him away from all of the gay teens who look up to him. Never mind the bisexual kids or questioning kids who need/want someone to look up to. And it seriously sickened me to read all of the Tumblr comments (about the original rumor) that bisexuality would make Blaine a traitor and he would lose all credibility to gay teens. A) that is so fucking wrong; B) That is reinforcing those exact stereotypes to gay youth.  Stereotypes that seriously hurt bisexual and pansexual teens. So this cycle never ends.

Just experimenting. Just a phase. Just for fun. You’re faking it for attention. You’re just confused. You’re just going to leave me/him/her because you still have het. privilege. You’re a dirty queer. You’re a dirty straight. You’re hurting our cause; now people think we have a choice. You’re not a gold star. You just love sex. You’re not really gay at all. You’re not really straight at all. You belong to their side. You’ll pick a side soon enough. Gay or straight, which is it going to be?

Kurt frequently has lines about how his orientation is natural, it’s part of him. So why would RM even entertain the notion that it would be ok to question whether or not an identity is valid? How would he feel, how would Kurt feel, if someone questioned whether homosexuality existed as a valid identity? And I want to assume that that’s where he’s going with this; that this is actually going to challenge those stereotypes. But we already know that Blaine really is just confused. So I really don’t see where they’re going with this or how this is going to help anyone. Questioning orientation is perfectly fine, but questioning whether or not that orientation even exists? Way to tell those real life kids that they might just be making it up. That what they’re feeling isn’t real.

Way to be monosexist.

RIB have a chance to make this a really great storyline and finally showcase male bisexuality in a positive light (for once), but somehow I don’t think they’re going to take it. To even bring up the idea of questioning our existence as though it were a legitimate debate? You should know better than that. This season of Glee was supposed to be such a breakthrough for the LGBT community, and such an all-inclusive show overall; but instead you continue to promote the G in a serious way, while openly mocking and negatively portraying everyone else. You have this huge opportunity to prove people wrong, but you choose to reinforce all of those negative, monosexist messages instead. I am really appalled that you could be so closed minded… We have a right to be offended. And we hope you prove us wrong and opt for a version of the story that doesn’t act like we’re a joke.

I want to believe that he (RM) is just an insensitive idiot when it comes to expressing his own thoughts in words, and didn’t mean to come off so horrifically offensive. Because in the past, that is how he’s been. And of course I’m waiting to see the actual episode before forming an opinion about that specifically. Again, this is just a response to Murphy’s comments, as well as the continuing conversations and comments on Tumblr (and Perez Hilton, and Live Journal, and all of the other sites I’ve been on lately…) Either way, I expect to see a lot of feelings on this…


P.S. – while I’m ranting about the bad things about Glee, can I point out – I still wince at the blatant racism and sexism in this show every single time… Why the hell did the girls have to get their boyfriends to beat up Dave? Are they really that fucking weak? Go Tina & Lauren for showing that we can stand up for ourselves and kick ass LIKE A BOSS. W00t! And Blaine is so freakin manipulative and is actually a horrible influence on Kurt. And I want these kids to finally see that, without the AVPM-colored, zomfg-its-darren-fucking-criss glasses on. He’s so focused on his mistakes with his own bullying experience that he completely disregards everyone around him. He confronts (and provokes) closeted gay bully Karofsky (who had actually been trying to avoid Kurt, not trying to get into a fight) and practically outs him in public, even though it was none of his business (which I suspect Karofsky was also pissed off about… plus maybe jealous of Blaine), because he was upset that he didn’t confront his own bully. He basically told Kurt to get in Dave’s face, which ultimately lead to that (incredible) locker room scene. He constantly pushes Kurt to become one of the crowd – “don’t’ stand out so much.” Don’t be different. Oh, yea, it’s totally great to be yourself, just… you know, be like everyone else. Fade into the background like a good little Warbler (a.k.a. my backup singers because no one gets the spotlight but me.) God I fucking hate Blaine… He is NOT a good role model by any means ZOMG GLEE PROMO ON TV sorry what was I saying… Blaine is a terrible role model and I seriously hope that in the future, Kurt realizes this. And maybe I’m biased because Brian Kinney would just call him an assimilationist and be done with it, and Brian Kinney is fucking amazing (but also a terrible role model). But Blaine has issues he needs to work on, just like the rest of them. He shouldn't be put up on a pedestal. Perfect Blaine isn't so perfect.


D.A.K. said...

Ok, so apparently the girl he kisses IS Rachel, and guess what? It's airing next week. (Initially they had said like March or something. Sometime in March/April is also the Karofsky episode!!!)

And Kurt says something to Blaine about hitting rock bottom. -_-" I don't want to know. Just let Tuesday get here soon so we can get this over with...

Anonymous said...

It doesn't surprise me that a show that promotes positivity in gay males is full of fail when it comes to the other groups in the LGBT spectrum. It sounds like the argument is in the same breath as the "choose a side already" argument that those of us not entirely straight or gay have become accustomed to.