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Contextualizing Female Bisexuality at the Turn of the 21st Century

Published onDec 01, 2022
Contextualizing Female Bisexuality at the Turn of the 21st Century

John Oszajca’s song “Bisexual Chick” was the subject of an article written by Barry Walters in The Advocate, published in Los Angeles in 19991. The article talks about Oszajca’s crass lyrics such as, “She always gets backstage; and that’s all I’m gonna say. But I must admit that she’s a pretty good lay”. Walters questions rockstars’ obsession with queer women, and this opens up a larger conversation about the perception of queer women, specifically bisexual ones, in the United States at the turn of the 21st century. Upon analysis of Oszajca’s lyrics, it can be inferred that he views bisexual women as especially promiscuous and hypersexual, which plays into a larger stereotype about bisexual people in general.

In Marjorie Gerber’s book, Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life, Gerber contextualizes preconceptions such as these. Gerber’s book was written in 2000, so it is extremely temporally relevant to Walters’ article. Gerber discusses the stereotypes surrounding bisexual people as a whole, writing that a bisexual person was considered a, “swinger, the promiscuous, dangerous, non-monogamous transgressor of boundaries.” 2 Bisexual individuals did not adhere to the stereotypical romantic binary, so early 2000s society responded with a barrage of labels and concerns about their sexual promiscuity and their supposed inability to commit to a singular partner. Gerber goes on to discuss the label “fence-sitter”, used to describe bisexual people because they did not “commit to either side”. Similarly, Gerber mentions how Time characterized bisexual people by claiming they, “generally do not have the capacity to fall in love with one person”3. This was part of a larger pathologizing of bisexuality in which some psychiatrists were deeming it a glamorous and fashionable fad in the celebrity world while some were attributing this deviant behavior to a troubled childhood. Either way, bisexuality was dismissed as a deviant and illegitimate lifestyle, with bisexual individuals characterized as loose.

This trope of licentiousness attributed to bisexual people manifests in phenomena such as Oszajca’s song. To Oszajca, because of the overall lewd character of bisexual people, it makes sense to assume bisexual women would be especially debaucherous. Barry Walters criticizes this language in his article, and we as a society may believe we have moved to a more progressive view. However, the early 2000s were but two decades ago, and we should remain cognizant of how many of these stereotypes persist today.

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