Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: You People and Your Quaint Little Categories

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  • George Darroch,

    Oh come on. We all know that male bisexuals do not exist. They're magical creatures, like unicorns. That's why they're not on television, right?

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    Um, what's wrong with :

    If you're girly I'll make you braid my hair and listen to me talk about boys and girls, which believe me I can do for a really long time.

    On visibility, I've noticed a trend lately in fantasy novels for some of the newer writers to have a gay main character. It's quite refreshing, especially in a book like The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan where homophobia is standard and the goadingly unrepentant gay hero is totally kick-arse.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Stevenson,

    Alright, I ask myself, What Would Joss Do? Trouble is, there are no bisexuals.

    I'm sure Joss has the answer, isn't Inara bisexual?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Nik C,

    Favorite line "I don't believe in bisexuals."

    ...every time you say that, a bisexual suddenly chooses a "side."

    Or you should reply,

    "Your intelligent and well thought out argument has convinced me. I am now <insert choice of sexuality>."

    Also: HM Westfold, the racist nutter who writes into local Wellington newspapers, has a thing about "Disgusting bisexuals."

    We do seem to cause much consternation. The biography point is interesting: I remember when the Cole Porter biopic came out, there was some snarling in the gay community about how he had been made 'straight' for a mainstream audience, and how too much emphasis was put on his relationship with his wife. God forbid should any man be bisexual, or anyone show signs of sexual complexity.

    Since Aug 2009 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    It's like the way right-handed people never notice all the little things about the way the world is set up that make life difficult for left-handed people.

    Tell me about it. It sluts me off, the way company logos are always upside down on pens.

    talk about boys and girls

    or maybe "talk about boys and talk about girls." You might think it's clumsy, but perhaps that's only because you're not used to it.

    Seriously though, as with the above example, I think the solution may be to be more literal. If colloqial language can't handle what you need to say, it's its problem, not yours.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    ”If you're girly I'll make you braid my hair and listen to me talk about X, which believe me I can do for a really long time.”

    Where X =
    "people I like"
    "people I fancy" (or a much better word than fancy)
    "cute boys and girls"

    Basically I think you need a verb or adjective and you're away laughing

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Um, what's wrong with :

    If you're girly I'll make you braid my hair and listen to me talk about boys and girls, which believe me I can do for a really long time.

    It sounds like a playground. Skipping, knucklebones, bullrush... And if you change it to 'men and women', it sounds... philosophical.

    I mean, connotation changes in language all the time. But as it drifts, you still have to be able to communicate your meaning to other people, and in writing you have to do it without tone of voice or facial expression.

    isn't Inara bisexual?

    I find Inara deeply problematic as a bisexual - in that she appears to be bisexual for one episode, like Angela in Bones. But it's complicated by her being a Companion as well - she takes female clients, does that make her bisexual?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    And yes, getting very literal does fix it. What annoys me is that colloquial language simply doesn't. And by 'annoys' I also mean 'fascinates'.

    how too much emphasis was put on his relationship with his wife.

    Yeah, men with wives and children AND male lovers are all gay. It's knowledge. bro.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    And if you change it to 'men and women', it sounds... philosophical.

    What about "ladies and fellows" or some other less scientific and more human sounding terms for adult males and females?

    Or throw in an adjective or two to soften the noun.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    What about hotties which, from a bi perspective, can cover either gender?
    It's non gender-specific and still conveys the lustful connotations.

    Te Ika A Maui - Whakatane… • Since Oct 2008 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Stevenson,

    I find Inara deeply problematic as a bisexual - in that she appears to be bisexual for one episode, like Angela in Bones. But it's complicated by her being a Companion as well - she takes female clients, does that make her bisexual?

    There was also the interaction with Saffron in Our Mrs Reynolds...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • octopusgrrl,

    I was just about reply when Stewart stole my idea ;) I'm a big fan of "hotties".

    Dunedin • Since May 2009 • 33 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    "Stole"? I never stole nuffink, squire. It was just lying around and I borrowed it for a moment, to offer it to Emma.

    (Great minds & all that, my tentacled friend.)

    Te Ika A Maui - Whakatane… • Since Oct 2008 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    What about hotties which, from a bi perspective, can cover either gender?

    Heh, I actually tried this once. Hilarious misunderstandings ensued. Especially if you're taking hotties to bed.

    What about "ladies and fellows"

    Now this... do Americans have that 'adding laydeez makes anything sound really sleazy' thing? (This is an extra dimension of problem with colloquial language: the group I write closely with is a Canadian, two Brits, a Californian and a couple of Redneck Women from Oklahoma.)

    And I really shouldn't whine because we have writers (and of course real actual people) trying to make language work for hermaphrodite and intersex characters and people.

    One of my fellow writers (the one who writes Ghet's current husband) has just emailed me to say:

    I guess, until popular culture as a whole grabs a brain, we will simply have to be more literal. In Ghet's case in particular, though, it is difficult -- because her speech pattern is never clunky. She has a gift for a turn of phrase that just rolls off the tongue.

    There was also the interaction with Saffron in Our Mrs Reynolds...

    Oh, don't get me wrong (also, Christina Hendricks, nom) I don't think she isn't bisexual, it just seems to come on and fall off - possibly dependent on which writer is writing which episode, and how much emphasis is being put on the Mal-Inara relationship.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    talk about honeys?
    talk about spunks?
    talk about crushes?
    talk about flames?
    talk about hotties?
    talk about babes? (I hear of men referred to that way but yes it does seem odd)
    talk about dreamboats?

    ...all depends just how much you want to convey in 'talk about boys'. Hetero girls 'talking about boys' can be talking about the ones they like, or what they hate, the connotation matters a lot.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I think you're old enough to make up your own words now, though. If the language doesn't give you a tool, forge one.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Knowledge Bro,

    Yeah, men with wives and children AND male lovers are all gay. It's knowledge. bro.

    Hi Honey, I'm homo.
    ;-)

    Behind the fridge • Since Mar 2009 • 58 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    Crumpet?

    [why yes, I'd love some, thanks for asking]

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1040 posts Report Reply

  • Knowledge Bro,

    Or was that pomo?

    Behind the fridge • Since Mar 2009 • 58 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    What about adding a verb? I talk about the boys and girls that make me (adjective or verb)?

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Knowledge Bro,

    What about adding a verb? I talk about the boys and girls that make me

    Breakfast?

    Behind the fridge • Since Mar 2009 • 58 posts Report Reply

  • joff,

    "13" from House is another example of an openly bisexual character on TV... and it seems to be treated in a (relatively) normal manner..

    Melbourne, Aus • Since Oct 2008 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    and it seems to be treated in a (relatively) normal manner..

    Yes, hence the name 13 eh?

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    "13" from House is another example of an openly bisexual character on TV... and it seems to be treated in a (relatively) normal manner..

    And there's a quote from House at the top of that No bisexuals page, which at least acknowledges that she's not a lesbian. Sort of. In a way I'd smack somebody for.

    But she, Angela from Bones and Inara from Firefly also all appear on the Bi The Way page as good examples of bisexuals.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Sayana,

    What about adding a verb? I talk about the boys and girls that make me

    Squeeee?

    Since Sep 2008 • 50 posts Report Reply

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