I am not Mandy Slade, but thanks for the sweeping generalization.

July 22, 2010 § 10 Comments

by ELENA

This morning, I went to my local Health Department in order to get tested for HIV. It was free, quick, and I tested negative. I also managed to curb-check the family station wagon on my way there, and so explaining to my parents why the steering was messed up wasn’t fun.

There was one thing that irritated me, though.

The nurse who administerd my test reacted very negatively when I explained that my boyfriend was bisexual. She said that it was very plausible that he was lying to me about his sexual history, and that he should get tested for HIV right away.

I was a little dumbstruck, but in no mood to piss off the person responsible for performing an accurate test.

When will we get it through our heads that gay/bisexual man does not equal “lying asshole who has every single STD known to humanity”? The main reason why I decided to get tested was not because I suspected that my boyfriend was lying to me, but because I was concered that any of my straight exes may have had an STD they had not told me about. In middle school, my health teacher stressed that HIV/AIDS wasn’t a “gay disease.” In high school, my gym teacher said we shouldn’t worry about HIV because only men who have sex with men are at risk. I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only person who received mixed messages about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases while they were growing up, and these mixed messages are what lead to people making inaccurate assumptions.

I’m lucky that my parents and friends are very supportive of my relationship, but I also have to wonder if there more people like my nurse out there: Well-meaning people that are convinced that my health is at risk because of who I am dating, or that I am kidding myself because bisexual men don’t really exist and I’m just dating a closet case, or that because of who I’m dating I am somehow “unclean” and unfit to give blood, despite the whole being HIV negative thing.

In 2005, researchers at Northwestern University did a study on male bisexuality, and came to the conclusion that male bisexuality didn’t exist. Their justification was that the men they study only reacted to images of gay porn, and they didn’t find any men who were a “3″ on the Kinsey scale (ie, equally attracted to men and women). So evidently I’m dating someone who doesn’t really exist.

There aren’t a whole lot of examples of bisexual males in pop culture. David Bowie is currently married to Iman, but I am as much of a supermodel as my boyfriend is a rock legend. Bryan Safi did a hilarious “That’s Gay” segment on how TV shows like to have a stereotypical “gay best friend,” whose gayness is suddenly cured when he falls in love with an (unrealistically hot) woman. The only woman in TV/film who dated a bisexual man that I’ve ever seen was Velvet Goldmine‘s Mandy Slade, who was portrayed as a coke-snorting basket case. The film is quite good, albeit campy, but it’s sad that the only example of a woman dating a bi man in film winds up “paying” for it by ending up divorced, lonely, and miserable.

Network and cable news shows like to occasionally bring up the “down low lifestyle” as their “scandal of the week,” which is 500 different kinds of irritating, because it combines racial panic with gay panic: “Oh noes! Look at all of these black men! That have girlfriends! And occaisonally have sex with other men!” PANIC TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Society likes to categorize women by their relationships with men. Realizing that people can make sweeping judgements about me just because I’m dating a bi man only reinforces my belief that such categorization has got to stop. Plus, it would be nice to be able to give blood again.

Welcome, new contributors! (Part One)

July 18, 2010 § 2 Comments

by MIRANDA

Readers, after a few arguably annoying reminders and a surprising number of emails, the Women’s Glib team has chosen six wonderful new contributors: Chad, Elena, Katie E. (not to be confused with former contributor Katie S.), Sarah, Kitti, and Adi. They will be introduced in two waves: half will begin posting this week, and half will start the week of August 9.

I’ll let the first wave of new bloggers speak for themselves…

Chad:

Hi there! I was stumbling one day and stumbled upon Women’s Glib, and I was completely amazed with the work I saw. As an active college student and male feminist I really liked the direction it took, and kept following it. I then came across a post asking for more writers, as a blogger I thought, why not contribute to a feminist blog? I do many things in my spare time, mostly graphic design, web design, internet, and video games. I’m also active in the LGBT community in my area, as a genderqueer gay male. I’m excited and I hope you enjoy what I write. :)

Elena:

Hello!

My name is Elena, and I am one of the new writers for Women’s Glib! I’ve had some difficulty thinking about what to write for my introductory post: should I make it more personal? Write about a recent issue that gets on my nerves? Post a haiku?

I’ll mostly talk about myself, because I’m terrible at writing haikus.

Since I’ve been away for the weekend, for a wedding reception, I haven’t been able to keep up-to-the-minute tabs on everything going on with feminism/the feminist blogosphere/news and politics in general. In fact, a wedding reception is one of those times when people are encouraged not to talk about Unpopular Subjects such as sex, religion, politics, etc. In fact, not having to hear my cousins rant and rave about the newest Glenn Beck book (which they did during Thanksgiving) was a small miracle.

But at the same time, I have a fun habit of pointing out the uncomfortable things that people don’t like to talk about, including Sex, Politics, and Feminism. One of the things that I find so appealing about being an actor is when plays and films hone in on the difficult, uncomfortable subjects. People like to think that actresses are vain, preening, and willing to do anything to get a toothpaste commercial. But the truth is that most actors (especially women) could recite Chekov’s Cherry Orchard by heart, and are doing the casting for the toothpaste commercial because in our society, Chekov doesn’t pay rent as much as Crest does. Being an actor (or at least a performing arts major) makes me more of a feminist. Unless I “make it” (or can “find a man to take care of me”…shudder), I’ll have a difficult time carrying a pregnancy and/or taking care of a child. So ensuring that contraception and abortion are easily accessible, and as affordable as possible, is really important to me. As it stands, my birth control prescription costs just about as much as what my family spends on two weeks worth of groceries. This is just a little screwed up.

Art, pop culture, and media are the things that I have the best grasp on, so expect a lot of writing about the world of television and movies through the eyes of an art student. I’ve also had some interesting experiences (such as spending a year and a half at a women’s college) that I’ll be writing about as well.

And maybe a haiku if I really have writer’s block.

Katie E.:

Hey, Women’s Glib readers!

I’m Katie, and I am one of the three new contributors. This is my first experience with blogging, and I’m really looking forward to it. I am extraordinarily grateful to Miranda for allowing me to become a contributor.

I’m 16, I live in Virginia, and I’ll be a high school junior in the fall. I’ve identified as a feminist for almost four years, after I read this book. More on that in an upcoming blog post.

I read a lot, especially Young Adult books, and hope to eventually post some reviews of YA books from a feminist point of view. Contrary to the typical man-hating feminazi, I also enjoy baking and knitting.

I hope to cover a broad spectrum of issues in my posts here at Women’s Glib. In particular, I have interests in birth and pregnancy politics, size acceptance, and ageism, but I expect to write about anything and everything.

Since the writers at Women’s Glib are responsible for moderating our own comments, I’ll tell you now that I’m pretty lax about comment content, and I enjoy a good debate, but I will be following the Women’s Glib commenting policy, which means I will not tolerate hate speech, derailing, or personal attacks. Because of my age and my desire to write about issues that affect young people and children, ageism in particular is something I hope to not see in comments.

If you ever feel like I am ignoring a subject or showing my personal privilege, I encourage you to inform me of that thought the comments. I strongly believe we can’t fight kyriarchy unless we are willing to acknowledge our mistakes and learn.

Like I said before, I am so glad to be writing here, and I hope you will enjoy my posts!

I hope you’re as excited as I am to welcome these writers to the blog. You can learn more about them on our new Current Contributors page. Thanks to all the candidates who emailed me; my co-bloggers Phoebe and Silvia can confirm that choosing new writers was a difficult and thoughtful process. Check back soon to hear from the second wave of contributors!

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