This morning I was searching for news about the Fault In Our Stars (you know, the book where John Green manipulates everyone into thinking he’s a good writer by writing about something that is emotionally triggering for literally everyone? Yeah, that one.) and I came across this article. When I saw the title Shailene Woodley Admits to Being Bisexual I was pretty excited. It’s always a huge leap forward whenever a prolific actor or actress (well, prolific in the teenage community at least) feels comfortable enough to come out to the world. You never would’ve seen this in my mom’s day–and with all the homophobia in this country, it’s still pretty rare now. But the more I read the article, the more disgusted I became.
The first issue I had was the use of the word “admits” in the title, which is also used frequently throughout the article. This word has such a negative connotation. Saying that someone has “admitted” to something automatically implies that the person in question is confessing to some sort of wrongdoing. In our heteronormative society, no one can simply be gay or bi or ace or pan. It always has to be a huge confession or admittance, since we just assume everyone is straight unless they outright state otherwise.
The next part of the article that I took issue with was both subtly biphobic and aggressively misogynistic. According to the article, “Like famous British model Cara Delevingne and “Fast & The Furious” actress Michele Rodriguez, Shailene Woodley joins the list of hot bisexual women.”
Okay, I was not aware of the fact that we were keeping a fucking list, though that’s mostly beside the point. My main issue with this is that Woodley is being compared to and grouped with these women simply because of their sexualities. This article would have us believe that Woodley is now defined by her sexuality and appearance just as much as she is by her acting ability. This is so misogynistic and it’s making me sick. Now Woodley isn’t just hot–she’s a hot bi chick! She, like a lot of women in our culture, has been objectified and reduced to nothing but one purpose: sex. While it’s subtle, this is perpetuating the straight male fantasy of two attractive women having sex in front of him for his enjoyment. (and maybe, he’ll even get to join in! Oh boy, oh boy!)
In our culture, it is far more accepted for a woman to be bisexual than it is for her to be lesbian, and it’s far more accepted for a woman to be bi than it is for a man to be anything but straight. Because, as I’m sure you know, girl-on-girl action is hot, whereas guy-on-guy is just icky.
Give me a fucking break, okay? This article is bullshit, pure and simple.
The last section of the relatively short article that made me want to un-have my lunch was the phrase “fans of “Divergent” are hoping Woodley leans more on dating men given they just can’t fawn over the pairing between her and Theo James on and off screen.” [emphasis mine]
Seriously, are you kidding me?! I’m a fan of Divergent, but I’m certainly not hoping that Woodley “leans more on dating men,” I’m simply hoping that she embraces who she is and gets minimal shit for it. Although, I guess I’m in the minority here.
This is a perfect example of this idea that fans think an actor’s character in fiction somehow bleeds through the fourth wall and into the real world. Seriously, Woodley doesn’t have to date her costar for their onscreen romance to be believable–her sexuality does not in any way inhibit her acting ability.
(((Another slighty-related example of this would be the writers of Supernatural actively pandering to the slash fic fandom, despite having almost no LGBTQ inclusion. But since I haven’t seen much since the early seasons, I’ll refer you over to Fangs for the Fantasy on this one.)))
I feel like I have to apologize for this post being barely coherent, but god, I am just so mad. If you think you can stomach it, read the article for yourself and try your hardest not to throw your computer out a window.