Friday, September 19, 2008

Are bisexual men feminists?

Even though Alfred Kinsey's research found that the majority of people (at least as far as Kinsey's research can be applied universally) fall somewhere within the range between completely straight and completely gay or lesbian, bisexuals have long been a sexual minority. (This was not always the case, with pederasty among males being predominant in antiquity and later, but since modern times, the sexual agenda has been set by those who are straight.) Numbers have nothing to do with minority status. Women outnumber men worldwide, and nonwhites outnumber whites, but neither of these groups have been able to enter wholly into the culture and privilege of those (straight white men) who determine how the rest of the world operates. Queer people in general are in the sexual minority, but even within that community, monosexual lesbian women and gay men continue to set the standard and hold the power. Those who are neither straight or gay/lesbian are left out of typical monosexual discourse, with bi people getting either lumped in with gays/lesbians or glossed over entirely (and either treatment can come from either monosexual community). For reasons not completely known, bi women tend to dominate the discourse within the bi community. Either bi men are less apt to speak from their experience, or it is more acceptable for women to be, or at least discuss being bi than it is for men. Bi women have found acceptance within feminist and lesbian communities (though they also find much resistance at certain times) and more acceptance by straight culture as well. I have not experienced or read much about how well bi men have been accepted by the gay male community, so I cannot speak to that. What I do know, however, is there is no movement as widespread as feminism in which men, straight or queer, work to dismantle patriarchy. It makes sense, for it is men who benefit from the system. Overall, bi men seem to be more alone and more ostracized from the queer community and from struggles to end monosexist patriarchy than bi women. If a bi woman is not accepted in the lesbian community, she still has much in common with women as victims of sexual oppression. For men, however, if they are not accepted among gay men, their relationship to patriarchy is more ambiguous. As men, they are part of the ruling majority, but as bisexuals, they are separate from this majority as well.

It is easy to understand why some bi men who have found homes in or near the feminist community, and that some bi men may even label themselves feminist. But is it really possible for men, even men of a sexual minority, to be feminist? Can feminism be defined broadly enough to include those beyond the female gender without stifling the voice of women themselves? Do bi men, or even queer men in general, share enough with women of any sexual identity to be included in the feminist milieu?

These questions and more, in the next post.

3 comments:

  1. One can be a feminist being a man, a gay being a bi ally, or a lesbian being a trans supporter. Just because you don't have the parts to play the role doesn't mean you can't empathize and support the other.

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  2. This is exactly what I planned to write about in part 2 of this topic. I don't want to give any more spoilers, so stay tuned.

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  3. as long as all own and name their own privilege, all can work for justice!
    i believe the core of homophobia is misogyny. men becoming women (i don't actually think this is what happens when one has a penis in one's mouth, anus or vagina, but many people do) is worse than women being women, cause women can't help it. so gay, queer, bi and all men who want to be able to receive penetration, should work against patriarchy!

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