So, once upon a several weeks ago, I was going to write about one of my favorite shows, Pretty Little Liars. There was major drama in Rosewood, PA when Emily Fields made out with her ex-gf’s (male) cousin!! But in the next episode he turned out to be a psycho stalker/killer so the sexual fluidity implications of that plot development kind of fell flat. Regardless, the fluid nature of sexual orientation/attraction is a very misunderstood topic, so I’m going to write a post about it anyway!
I’m torn in how I feel about PLL’s representation of fluidity because on one hand Emily’s situation is realistic; sometimes gay women develop feelings for men. On the other hand, we too often see gay women entering into relationships with men (The L Word, The Kids Are Alright, Skins) but we NEVER see gay men entering into relationships with women. Why is that? Because I’m sure it happens.
This is why: in this society the categories “man” and “woman” are automatically associated with “masculine” and “feminine” respectively. However, our society also reveres the sanctity of masculinity, thus a gay man becomes feminine while a gay woman remains feminine. When a woman who was previously only attracted to women, whether feminine or masculine, falls for a man, it is not a huge stretch for us to believe because it is totally understandable for a woman to be attracted to masculinity. It is right; it follows the natural course that we are taught from day one. She is simply no longer going against the grain. However, when a gay man, whose sexual orientation labels him feminine, is attracted to a woman he is now going against the hetero norm, even though the actual attraction is between a man and a woman. Basically, gay men should stay gay, otherwise the world would just be too scary and other rules could be easily broken.
We do see straight men and women entering into homosexual relationships more and more now, although it is usually very exaggerated and/or stigmatized. We’re not to the point where that’s normal yet, but we at least acknowledge the fact that it happens and can be positive for both parties involved.
I’m not saying I don’t support gay ladies taking a chance on the menfolk. I think it’s healthy, natural, and it’s something I have personally experienced. I just think the way our society views fluidity, especially through the lens of the media, is problematic. If we’re going to accept sexual fluidity in women, we should also be willing to accept it in men. I want to see gay dudes lovin the ladies just as much as I want to see gay ladies lovin on dudes. Or not. Nothing wrong with a homosexual relationship either. Whatever you’re into, really. Honestly, it’s terrifying to even consider a heterosexual relationship once you’ve settled into a homosexual state of mind. But I’ve been much happier since, and I think a lot of other people would be too.
Fluidity is a vastly complex topic and I’ve barely scratched the surface here. As always, I would love to hear thoughts from those of you who took the time to read this!