Is Perfect Match’s bisexual portrayal fetishizing?

Is Perfect Match’s bisexual portrayal fetishizing?

The representation of bisexuals on reality TV has come a long way since the days of Tila Tequila A shot at love (google that one, Gen Z) – but it shows how Perfect Match they remind us that we still have a long way to go. (Information: if you don’t know Perfect Matchit’s kind of Love Island come across Hunger Gamess; in fireside ceremonies, the most compatible couples are given the opportunity to bring a new person into the castle in hopes of breaking up other couples. The other twist is that all the contestants are from previous dating shows).

Recently, Perfect Match has been cited as an example of reality dating shows being more representative of bisexuality, and there’s no denying that it’s doing far better than its peers. But even this, the ostensible pinnacle of the TV genre, is still not without its flaws—namely, in the form of bisexual women who still appear as props or props to a man’s sexual fantasy.

Fortunately, there are some touching moments in between and that fact Perfect Match It initially features several openly bi regulars including Kariselle Snow, Francesca Farago and Abbey Humphreys. In one touching scene, viewers are also shown a moving conversation between Francesca and Abbey as they discuss how they discovered their sexuality and the difficulties they faced coming out as bi.

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The show also featured a same-sex pairing of Francesca and Abbey, who date after Abbey enters the castle, while Francesca is still with male contestant Damian Powers (yes, the same guy Love is blind) and after Francesca and Abbey’s date, the girls encourage Kariselle to come out to her Perfect Match Also paired with Joey Sasso. To her credit, Joey is very accepting, telling her, “I accept you for who you are—literally who you are,” after she admits that she’s worried about dating a man that might invalidate her sexuality.

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This felt like a huge moment; Conversations about bisexual erasure and bisexual people’s experiences in different types of relationships are pretty rare (especially conversations from real people that aren’t considered gif bait), especially considering other dating shows have even been accused of it. actively erasing bisexuality by editing contestant conversations (*cough* Love Island *cough*).

Unfortunately, however, the good vibes could not last. As Joey tells Kariselle in a later episode, “If you want to bring another woman into our relationship, that’s great,” immediately reminding us of the ways in which women view female bisexuality as existing for their pleasure (and their threesome). , rather than as a neutral aspect of their partner’s identity. The other boys make several comments about the “hotness” of being bisexual, including Zay Wilson, one of Francessca’s former partners, who tells her that he’s “honestly attractive” because he’s dated girls before.

Given that queer women face higher rates of sexual violence than straight and gay women, and that fetishization is one of the driving forces, it’s important not to confuse sexualization with acceptance. The boys’ comments reinforce the idea that women’s bisexuality (and, by extension, bisexual women in general) exists to satisfy their sexual desires. Later, Francesca and Kariselle share a kiss by the pool, despite both being paired with other people—behavior Francessca’s partner, Abbey, describes as “frat-like.”

So it’s fair to say that the show’s portrayal of bisexuality is mixed at best, and fans seem to feel the same way.

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It was too much to ask Perfect Match challenge the stereotypes that people still face? The show’s very special two episodes are certainly an admirable test – and while it’s important to show the less-than-gold-star alliances people often face from their partners, leaving the boys’ comments unchallenged could mean viewers think it’s an unacceptable one – maybe an even more positive way to talk to their bisexual partner.

Dating shows have always been a kind of game. Mechanics – incl Perfect match – almost always revolve around creating heterosexual couples. Because of this, Love Island the producers once again claimed that the possibility of same-sex couples would cause “logistical difficulties” (despite the fact that it happened organically in 2016).

Given fans’ constant pleas for bisexual dating shows, few have yet put it front and center. There was Courtney Act sweet but short lived The Bi lifewhose wholesomeness may have been the downfall, and at the other end of the spectrum was the deeply chaotic bi and pan series. You are the one? (another American dating show where regulars have to pair up in algorithmically pre-determined “perfect matches” and if they do, the whole group wins $1 million between them).

Beyond these, however, daters tend to reinforce cultural stereotypes about bisexuality; that it’s only the domain of cis, thin, white people (bisexual men are still one of the most underrepresented groups on TV). That it’s a saucy and sexy side plot to the real thing. This means that bisexuality is a short jump before eventually settling into a comfortable male-female monogamous relationship.

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Fat, trans, non-white, gender non-conforming, neurodivergent, disabled, boring bisexuals won’t tune in to shows like Perfect Match obsession Love Island (despite the fact that the bi community has the highest proportion of trans individuals, people of color and people with disabilities), because fat, trans, non-conforming, etc. people rarely get an insight into these shows. Contestants can often only be one of these, and if so, their identity is indicated by the show.

Dating shows that revolve around heterosexual ideals can only ever portray bisexuality as something that should exist within the confines of heterosexuality—not as something separate and protected by heaven—and certainly not as a challenge.

The bisexual revolution is not televised.

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