Bi+ Representation In TV
The trope of a bisexual in TV and Film has often fallen into one of four categories; slutty, evil, straight-to-gay, or completely unmentioned.
Many iconic characters heralded as LGBTQ+ heroes are also part of the problem of bi-erasure. Both Willow Rosenburg (Alyson Hannigan) and Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera) fall into the category of straight-to-gay. They exclusively date men, then as soon as they enter one same-sex relationship this is completely forgotten and they exclusively date women. Santana is often seen as a lesbian character and her relationships with men, no matter how problematic, are completely forgotten in later seasons.
Others such as Jack Harkness from Doctor Who, or the ever popular Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) are hinted at being bi but realistically just flirt with people or mention previous relationships, whilst either remaining single or solely dating people of the opposite gender. Bob Belcher, from Bob’s Burger’s, also falls into this category as he mentions once that he is “mostly straight” but it is never explored fully due to being a married man.
Whilst these are valid representations of the bi experience they are also limiting. It is incredibly rare to find shows with a bi character who dates different genders without it becoming their entire plot or an issue of cheating. Recently there has been an upswing in positive portrayals with notable characters such as Brooklyn 99’s Rosa (Stephanie Beatriz) and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Darryl (Peter Gardner) portraying much less problematic ideas of being bi. However, there is still a long way to go.
Words by Danni Scott
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