In honor of Bisexual Awareness Week and Bi Visibility Day, today I would like to talk about my favorite canon bi characters. Unfortunately, bi characters are so difficult to find, and even when you do, most of them fall under the same harmful stereotypes, not to mention that the word bisexual isn’t even used in the vast majority of cases, making it harder for people find and identify or identify with the characters. So, with that in mind, I also want to share some of my dreams for better bi representation.
The Flash’s second season is only three episodes in, and already it’s just about everything I’ve hoped it would be. The Arrowverse is something I’ve most definitely grown to adore. Not only is it expansive, it provides us with some much needed representation. And now, it’s getting yet another spin off show, Legends of Tomorrow, and well, take a look:
Be still my heart, I think I may be in love.
A few weeks ago I wrote about raised female warriors and their fight for autonomy. Since then I’ve been thinking on whether male characters are ever given a similar kind of tragic backstory where they‘re kidnapped, as children or even as adults, and their agency is taken away and they are forced to learn to fight and kill on the orders of their captors. I managed to find a few that could fit this trope—Matt Murdock (Netflix‘s Daredevil), Oliver Queen (Arrow), Bucky Barnes/the Winter Soldier (MCU), and D‘Avin Jaqobi (Killjoys). All these characters have their freedom and autonomy taken away (to differing extents) and, as such, they present a lot of opportunities for nontraditional portrayals of masculinity.
Spoilers for Arrow, Killjoys, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier below.
A while ago we had a post discussing female protagonists who are being watched over/controlled by men/patriarchal organizations. Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Orphan Black were primary examples. Today, I would like to expand on the ideas of that post and talk about a subset of this type of female characters—female characters who are not only overseen by men/organizations (often patriarchal, though perhaps not always) but are also raised to be killers and assassins against their will. I’m a bit torn when it comes to this type of character. On one hand, these women are complex and their tragic backstories allow for character development and growth. But on the other hand, the misogynistic undertones in their arcs are troubling.
Lately, I’ve grown so tired of watching male “chosen ones” and “jerks with the heart of gold” save the day and get the girl. Representation matters, and girls want to be chosen ones too, and not just princesses in distress. Women are allowed to hate the world and be brilliant while reluctantly saving the day. And we should be able to see ourselves, our stories, and our fantasies reflected on screen too. I’m always on the lookout for female characters subverting generally male character tropes, and today I would like to tell you about some of them and why they matter.
Though it is in fact a Sexualized Saturday, imagine with me for a moment that it is Transformation Tuesday. The delicate wallflower blossoms into a stunning beauty just in time for her senior prom, the second-string nerd transcends his former self to become the leading man he was always meant to be—all with the simple removal of a little apparatus: eyeglasses. Glasses form the basis of tons of tropes, though perhaps none as infamous as “The Glasses Gotta Go”. From Princess Diaries and the quintessential Magical Makeover in She’s All That, to Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man transformation, pop culture has been helping nerds achieve their sexy potential by liberating them from their bespectacled prisons. Join me as I delve a little deeper into the intersection of sexual capital and corrective lenses, and the problematic territory we find there.
Arrow’s treatment of Sara’s death has been one of my bigger criticisms for the show this season. I didn’t like the ableist way Laurel handled it by refusing to tell Quentin—though that’s at least changed these past few episodes—but the bigger issue that a lot of people have pointed out is that Sara was an established bisexual character. She was complex and intriguing, and good bisexual representation is really hard to come by in our media.
Her lover, Nyssa al Ghul, swears revenge on Sara’s killer. Unfortunately for Nyssa, Oliver Queen decides to take the blame for what happened. To Deliver Grief is a oneshot that takes place after Oliver’s duel with Ra’s. Nyssa, knowing Felicity’s feelings for Oliver, and feeling a bit of kinship with her because of both their losses, decides to go back to Starling City to tell Felicity the truth about what happened to Oliver.