Sherlock taught John how to dance. Sherlock loves dancing. Sherlock loves John. Imagine how happy he was.
SEBASTIAN STAN KISSING BOYS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS
I will never not laugh at this video
my dad’s been deployed to Afghanistan 4 times and he almost pissed himself laughing at this
My favorite vine in gif form.
So, after a very long wait, we finally have the new episode of season 4 of Game of Thrones. Hooray! I’ve been seriously looking forwards to this, not in the least because Oberyn Martell, aka the Red Viper, and Ellaria Sand, his paramour, are introduced as new characters to the show.
Throughout the wait, and the countdown to the beginning of the season, I’ve been wondering whether or not the creators will erase Oberyn and Ellaria’s bisexuality from the show (as they have with Daenerys). I was very excited to find that they have not! In fact, they have placed a very long introduction scene in which both characters’ bisexuality plays a major role.
First response: YAY YAY BISEXUALITY YAY THEY DIDN’T ERASE IT HOORAY.
I’m still very much feeling this, and I think Oberyn and Ellaria are great fucking characters - but I also want to talk about why bisexuality is there - how is it presented, what role does it play, and how it was used for this characterization.
Short description: Okay, so what we basically have here is a scene where Oberyn and Ellaria are in a whorehouse picking a woman (presumably for a threesome). Oberyn touches and suggests two girls to Ellaria, while she is reclining on a bed nearby. After they pick one woman, Oberyn turns his attention to the procurer, a man we already know (because he spied on Loras for Littlefinger via sex in the previous season), and demands that he provides sexual services as well. After that, there’s another scene in the whorehouse where Oberyn demonstrates his hot temper in conflict, as well as his superior abilities as a fighter. Following this, we see him conversing with Tyrion and explaining that his reason for visiting King’s Landing is to seek revenge for his sister Elia, and her two infants, who were all murdered by the Lannisters as part of Robert’s rebellion.
To describe Oberyn in four words, he is: dangerous, wild, exotic, and sexy. All of these are closely tied with his bisexuality, as well as his race.
But let’s talk about Ellaria for a moment first. Her role, I regret to say, has more to do with characterizing Oberyn than with her character as an independent person. In classical sapphobic depiction, she is relegated to the role of a really sexy decoration. Though she does seem to have a personality, this doesn’t seem to play much of a role in itself, other than being tantalizing for the viewers. Though Oberyn does have an existence outside of the couple (as shown in the following two scenes), Ellaria does not. She has no scenes without him and no lines that do not involve him in some way. I really hope this changes as the season progresses, but I am doubtful.
Now back to Oberyn - by himself and as part of the couple. First we have to remember that the default for bisexuality - especially male bisexuality - is to be erased, so if it wasn’t, we need to ask ourselves why they allowed it to exist. What I think is that bisexuality is used as an example and an underline to Oberyn’s characterization as dangerous, wild, exotic and sexy. He is these things because he is bisexual, and he is bisexual because he is these things. Maintaining Oberyn and Ellaria’s bisexuality within the script of the show allows the creators to depict them as tantalizing, sexual, and hot blooded. This means bisexuality isn’t here for itself, it’s here as a tool, as a mean to communicate a message to the audience.
This is related to race. As brown people, coming from an exoticized culture (in the book Dorne is depicted as a kind of imagined, orientalist Egypt), Oberyn and Ellaria are depicted as racially and culturally ‘other’. Though in the show, Dorne seems to be a second Spain rather than Egypt (second because Braavos also seems to be Spain?), in both cases the culture that these characters are coming from is Mediterranean. That means they’re imagined as inherently more wild, inherently more sexual - and inherently more bisexual.
Here it’s important to remember that the racialization of bisexuality has a long history. Pretty much since the invention of the term (in the 19th century), bisexuality has been linked to “savage” societies (i.e. people of color and majority world cultures), while monosexuality was linked to “cultured” societies (i.e. white people and minority world cultures). People of color have historically been considered inherently more bisexual, whereas white people have been imagined as monosexual. Recall also that since Dorne is a sort of “Spain”, it also bears echos to Latin cultures (via skin tone and the Spanish accent), and therefore to what is generally known as “Latin bisexuality” (the practice of straight-identifying men being sexually active with gay-identified men, in the role of giver only), again creating a connection between poc, majority world cultures, and bisexuality. I think this is also part of why it’s implied that Oberyn prefers the giving end of anal sex.
Speaking of which, gender plays a role here as well, of course - Ellaria is presented as ready-made bisexual in the scene. We don’t need to be told she is bisexual, it’s a given. This seems to reflect the problematic and sapphobic notion that women are inherently more bisexual than men. It also seems to reflect the tastes of the presumed cishet male audience. Because, presumably two women together is just “wonderful” and “natural”, and… sexy as hell. See, when we cater to cishet male needs (vis-a-vis objectifying bi women), no explanation is actually needed. Not so with Oberyn - note that we see Ellaria making out with one of the women, while Oberyn doesn’t actually make any sexual physical contact with the man.
Oberyn’s bisexuality needs to be introduced and explained to the audience. Note that there’s a conflict between Oberyn and the man. The man tries, several times, to refuse, but Oberyn insists until he relents. This has two functions: first of all, to overcome the barriers of the (presumed cishet male) audience. It’s assumed that acknowledging male bisexuality (“gross!”) will be harder for the audience than it would be to accept female bisexuality (“hot!”). The conflict between them is meant to reflect the conflict that the (presumed cishet male) audience is experiencing. This function is basically to tell the audience “YES HE REALLY IS BISEXUAL”.
Another function is to show that Oberyn Martell ‘gets what he wants’. This happens through sexual coercion. Note that what we have here is a non-consensual “negotiation” over Oberyn’s right to the man’s body and sexuality. The man refuses, Oberyn insists. In addition to being completely fucked up and rape culture-y, this also links bisexuality with predatory sexuality and sexual violence.
And speaking of bodies - note that the entire way in which bisexuality is shown in this scene is through women’s objectified bodies. I am intentionally writing “women” and not “people”, because they are the ones shown naked, they are the ones shown in sexual interaction, and they are the ones denied of a voice (except to the extent of “mmmmm hotttttt”). While the man gets enough agency to be able to argue, the women are only allowed to exist as “hot” stage props. To be undressed, accepted, touched or discarded according to the couples’ whims. So in order to communicate the couple’s bisexuality, the creators have created a scene in which they both - symbolically and physically - sexually objectify women and their bodies.
This of course not only presents bisexuality as inherently sexual (which erases any form of bisexuality as asexual, romantic, etc.), but also links between bisexuality and objectification of women - i.e. sexism.
Okay, I wrote about a lot that’s wrong here, but I don’t want this to be the only message of this post:
- I LOVE the characters of Oberyn and Ellaria.
- I think it’s AWESOME that they’re being so bisexual on screen
- I think they’re both hardcore characters, and that as the season develops we would learn to love them more.
- I really hope that there would be more (though hopefully different) bisexual scenes
- Not in the least because OMG BI PEOPLE OF COLOR!
- But I think we also need to look at all the ways in which bisexuality is depicted, and to deconstruct them
- So we could be aware of what’s going on
- Even as we’re squee-ing with joy.
TL;DR: It’s great that Oberyn Martell and Ellaria Sand are allowed to be bisexual on screen, but we should also remember that their characterization bears broad streaks of racism, sexism, sapphobia and biphobia.
I’m actually unsure Daenerys is, in fact, bisexual. She did not read that way to me in the books. She read as accepting the attentions of her slave girl because it was “safe” and there were no men available to her that would not cause problems in her khalasar. I.e., situational homosexuality NOT true bisexuality.
Yes, this is exactly how her bisexuality is depicted in the book. This is a biphobic depiction.
There have been some inquiries as to where the Once Upon A Time recaps have gone. This post is meant to answer those inquiries and address something that I believe is of grave concern to our community, a terrible disease lurking in the bones of many a piece of media. Yes, my dear friends, I speak of queerbaiting.
While this essay is rooted in the TV show Once Upon A Time, it’s actually one of the best things about queerbaiting I’ve ever read. We have not seen Mulan, the bisexual character a single time in the year since she was revealed to be bi. That is not representation.
It also contains this brilliant metaphor:
It’s sort of like showing up to Thanksgiving having said you’d bring green bean casserole, except you brought a single green bean on a paper plate. Even though this will obviously not feed any of the other guests and barely counts as a green bean casserole, you sneer at those who are protesting, telling them that they never specified what a green bean casserole is and besides that, they’re being whiny babies. You wave the single limp green bean in the air and tell them that it’s obvious they’ll never be happy, that they’re complaining for the sake of complaining and that it’s no wonder they don’t get to eat quality green bean casserole because nobody wants to share green bean casserole with such an aggressive and unfriendly group. In other words, making a character bisexual only to immediately write them out of the show makes me feel like shoving a green bean up someone’s nose.
Go read the whole thing.
Nathan Fillion is not appreciated enough.
[Image: crochet bookmarks, made of a long purple chain, with a bisexual pride flag at one end, and bi pride beads and a tassel at the other]
OMG look at these Bookmarks!
Aren’t they pretty?
Don’t you want one?
Of course you want one @_@
Those who donate $20 and above on my fundraiser get one. (Plus a digital copy of my book). Also, they will soon be selling on Etsy (for $15). But not before the fundraiser is over.
Let’s all work to get well know bisexual academic + author Shiri Eisner to NYC for some of the pre-Pride Literary Events held at the end of May and beginning of June 2014!
The news: A new scientific study from Princeton researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page has finally put some science behind the recently popular argument that the United States isn’t a democracy any more. And they’ve found that in fact, America is basically an oligarchy.
An oligarchy is a system where power is effectively wielded by a small number of individuals defined by their status called oligarchs. Members of the oligarchy are the rich, the well connected and the politically powerful, as well as particularly well placed individuals in institutions like banking and finance or the military.
For their study, Gilens and Page compiled data from roughly 1,800 different policy initiatives in the years between 1981 and 2002. They then compared those policy changes with the expressed opinion of the United State public. Comparing the preferences of the average American at the 50th percentile of income to what those Americans at the 90th percentile preferred, as well as the opinions of major lobbying or business groups, the researchers found out that the government followed the directives set forth by the latter two much more often.
It’s beyond alarming. As Gilens and Page write, “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” In other words, their statistics say your opinion literally does not matter.
That might explain why mandatory background checks on gun sales supported by 83% to 91% of Americans aren’t in place, or why Congress has taken no action on greenhouse gas emissions even when such legislation is supported by the vast majority of citizens.
This problem has been steadily escalating for four decades. While there are some limitations to their data set, economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez constructed income statistics based on IRS data that go back to 1913. They found that the gap between the ultra-wealthy and the rest of us is much bigger than you would think…
Anonymously message me (3) things you want to know about me.