In her book, “Bodies That Matter,” Butler questions why it is that sex is reduced to the level of materiality and what issues that creates. She argues that it causes the loss of awareness of the psychological dimensions of sex through the restrictions placed upon its definition. In class last week, we discussed the use of sexual fluidity in women and the implications surrounding those who choose to engage in bisexual or homosexual behaviors. The oversimplification of this concept in the media has resulted in misunderstandings of the psychological aspects of experimentation and sexual development, categorizing these women as “collegiate exceptions” or “confused heterosexuals.”
Personally, I believe that there are a number of advantages and disadvantages found within the use of sexual fluidity in women. Women who choose to engage in sexual or romantic relationships with other women are often not taken seriously and are considered to be “going through a phase” or “just doing it to get guys’ attention.” Assumptions such as these often stem from gendered stereotypes about young women, specifically women in college, engaging in homosexual behaviors in college but returning to heterosexual lifestyles once they graduate or become adults.
However, sexual fluidity also provides a space for experimentation and sexual development in which women are free to explore their own sexual desires and interests. This concept also allows women to experience other women with much less stigmatization than the same experiences involving only men. Sexually fluid women who choose to engage in homosexual behaviors but return to heterosexual lifestyles are much more socially acceptable than men who do the same. More often than not, men who experience other men are always considered to be homosexual, regardless of their future relationships or sexual orientation.
Media representations of sexual fluidity in women often perpetuate the idea of women experimenting with homosexuality temporarily before returning to heterosexual lifestyles or women who are “confused” about their sexuality and only want attention from men. Bisexual depictions such as Madonna and Britney Spears’ flirtatious kiss during the MTV Video Awards or Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl” have influenced young girls to use sexual experiences with other women to their advantage, whether that is to manipulate men or to increase their popularity. In any case, bisexual and homosexual experimentation in women continues to be largely misunderstood and oversimplified by society. While sexual fluidity in women can provide safe spaces for sexual development, the issues surrounding this concept have proven to result in many negative consequences as well.
I’ve included a link to a trailer for a documentary I came across while researching this topic. “Bideology” explores the intricacies of women dating bisexual men, relationships that often come second to media exposure and studies of men dating bisexual women. This particular topic is also relevant to my earlier discussion of the stigmatization of bisexual men resulting in homosexual classifications.