In Kristin G. Esterberg’s article The Bisexual Menace Revisited: or, Shaking up Social Categories is Hard to do, the author discusses how bisexuals are often invisible to the world. Part of this has to do with the bisexual label appealing to individuals as a ‘chic’ or ‘trendy’ thing to do instead of an actual sexual identity. The emphasis that bisexuals often place on choice instead of biology perpetuates this idea and has allowed individuals who would otherwise consider themselves heterosexual or homosexual to engage in bisexual acts. Pop culture has numerous examples of this bisexual craze. As early as the 1970s, films such as Rocky Horror Picture Show and Cabaret depicted bisexual love triangles and, in the case of Rocky Horror, transgendered individuals. The trend today, however, seems to have changed a great deal in that most of the bisexual characters in today’s films are females and their bisexual acts are shown as sexy and attractive.
The music industry also shows this trend. In 2003, Madonna’s three way kiss with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera on the MTV Video Music Awards shocked the media and made front news headlines. These women, however, are all still considered heterosexual females who were just performing a homosexual act. Brittany Spears’ song 3 also shows this trend towards bisexual acts as she sings about ‘playing around’ with multiple individuals and even says “living in sin is the new thing”. Katy Perry’s big hit I Kissed a Girl also shows this idea that bisexuality is sexy yet just a stage as she talks about enjoying her homosexual kiss yet says “I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it” emphasizing that she is heterosexual.
So what is the impact of our current pop culture’s demonstration and representation of bisexuality? If songs emphasizing bisexuality as a stage and a trendy thing to do keep reaching the top of the charts will this impact the public’s view of bisexual individuals?
Personally I do feel that this is helping to enable the continued invisibility of people who have bisexual identities by reiterating that it is just a phase. While it could possibly be seen that these heterosexual singers and artists are bringing bisexuality to the mainstream public, they are bringing their ideas about bisexuality and not including ones about bisexual identities, but just focusing on bisexual acts. Perhaps if people sang about truly being torn between a male and a female instead of just a onetime act, the concept of bisexuality wouldn’t be as minimized and rendered invisible.