my identity as a queer woman is hard-won. through years of vascillation, denial, secrecy, and srategic planning dedicated to hiding myself from myself i am now working at being authentically myself. and a big part of that is being forthright with any potential lovers about my sexuality. there is no introduction that goes, “i’m sparkle, and i’m bisexual”. but there’s also no soap opera (or jenny jones) moment when i spring it on futureboo or presentboo in a space that she or he might find uncomfortable. because that’s not how you treat folks. my honesty has most likely cost me a relationship or three. and i’m okay with that. nobody wants to be in a relationship where they feel stifled instead of feeling edified. so, it is with that knowledge i walk. it’s not an easy walk: there are folks who don’t recognize my sexuality as legitimate compared to their own, there are folks who presume that i’m unaware of what i want in life (or in my bed), and there are also folks who believe that my queerness makes me impossible of being monogamous.
it is this completely erroneous belief/ assumption that makes me impossibly pissed off. and it is this idea that made me want to write this blog post, because of a song called “think my girl (ay, ay)” by omarion. this song gives what might be considered an inside view of a relationship between the narrator (whom i presume to be a hetero-identified person whose sex assignment at birth was male, who identifies as male/ man) and his girlfriend, whose behavior implies that she may be cheating on him with a female associate of hers. this woman does not answer her phone when she’s with this friend, referred to as “the girl that doesn’t have a man” in the lyrics to the first verse. (you can listen for yourselves here, dear readers; i refuse to transcribe this shit.) the hook of this song goes on to express that though the girlfriend is very physically affectionate with the narrator her behavior changes when around this friend of hers, has a better eye for attractive women than her paramour, and also presumes that the narrator is welcome in the bedroom with the girlfriend and whomever she’s cheating on him with. the second verse includes some information about the narrator’s girlfriend and her friend having matching tattoos, and some “secret conversations” between the two women.
what bothers and upsets me is the fact that this song is a bunch of stereotypes and assumptions wrapped into one neat little sonic package. this song is a symptom of the problem — it’s giving me hives when goddess knows i am allergic to bullshit. this song neatly lists (for me, anyway) what seem to be the predominant, erroneous, widely held beliefs about bisexual women.
i have to acknowledge that heterosexual privilege allows this song to exist. heterosexual privilege allows the demonization of anyone who does not exemplify compulsory heterosexuality.
the narrator’s girlfriend is acting suspiciously (in his opinion, or per his explanation as narrator). since there’s another woman involved in this (as either a friend or lover, possibly both), it’s implied that the girlfriend’s behavior can be attributed specifically to a sexual relationship with this other woman. so, this makes her hot-in-the-ass and unfaithful. this also demonizes the presumed other woman; she’s got some kind of a stranglehold on the girlfriend’s mind, via sex. there’s no suggestion that the girlfriend is keeping company with this woman who “doesn’t have a man” because she’s sick. or because she’s got kids she needs help with. or an ailing relative. or something that is not about sex. (could it be that only women sing/ write songs that discuss concern for other women? see: eve’s “love is blind”, destiny’s child’s “girl”, or the jazzyfatnastees’ “how sad”. i don’t think that this is the case, but i’m just asking.) let’s examine this: not answering the phone within an hour (verse 1), a friend with no man who’s often around (probably cuz she hasn’t got a man to keep her company), a knack for identifying a beautiful woman before her man does, and limited PDA when said manless friend is around — she’s just got to be cheating with this manless friend! am i the only one who thinks this is rather base? furthermore, bisexuality does not exclude any human being (male or female, cisgender or transgender) from monogamy! emotional immaturity may exclude one from being faithful to their partner. (polyamory is not a condition of being bisexual, either. but let’s not talk about that right now.)
the idea that the narrator should try having an openly bisexual girlfriend implies that she’s open to having a threesome, which is also not a fact of bisexuality. there are some bisexual folks who are not in any way interested in group sex. this is also incredibly troublesome, as it feeds into the idea that the hetero man’s job is to conquer vaginae far and wide, that the sexuality is not valid if he’s not (a) involved or (b) giving approval to the sexual relationship. hello: i’m autonomy, and i believe that i only need the person who utilizes me in order to be valid or legitimate. your dick hasn’t got anything to do with it, narrator (or anyone else). that’s hetero privilege for you: you can do what you want, cuz there’s nothing “wrong” with the kind of sex you’re into.
bottom line, this song is offensive for a number of reasons. ultimately, it turns a woman’s body into product, into object, into a commodity to be fetishized. it takes away her humanity and reduces her autonomy to a jezebel’s supposed nature. and no, a pop song should not have the final say on how we as a larger society view sexuality. but, art often imitates life. somebody, somewhere may think of this song and either identify with it on some level or forming opinions based on it.
of course, there are ideas that aren’t addressed in the lyrics of “think my girl (ay, ay)”. there’s nothing quite like the limited attitudes of some folks in the GLBTQ community to make a woman like myself feel even more boxed in. there’s the idea that we are nasty, the flat-out lie that we are incapable of loving one person at a time, and most of all there’s the simple misconception that we are who we are because we’re hot in the ass. not all of us are. there are polyamorous heterosexual and homosexual people. there are people who sabotage relationships by cheating, but that has nothing to do with their sexuality. that’s an issue of emotional maturity, in my opinion.