I was watching Scott Pilgrim vs. The World for what has to be the billionth time recently and found myself reflecting a little more on the relationship between Roxy and Ramona. Not long ago I introduced this movie to some of my friends, one of whom is bisexual, and despite not being a geek, she seemed to be really enjoying it until the fight with Roxy came up. In the scene, Scott Pilgrim is shocked to find out that the girl he’s interested in, Ramona, “had a sexy phase”—meaning she dated a woman. Ramona explains that she was just going through a bi-curious phase and didn’t even think her relationship with Roxy would count. This, of course, enraged my friend for a variety of reasons.
Having characters who are “just going through a phase” isn’t good queer representation. It makes being queer seem like something someone can just opt into and then get over. This becomes even more problematic with how almost every character who is “just going through a phase” tends to be a woman. One reason for this is that female sexuality is seen as much more fluid than male sexuality. It’s an attitude that is offensive to both queer men and woman because it is built on the belief that women can’t really live without heterosexual sex (even if they do dabble in homosexual sex). For men, it’s assumed that the only way a man could stand homosexual sex was if he was a hundred percent gay—if he was attracted to women why would he ever sleep with a guy? It’s absurd, biphobic, and sexist.
It has been a while since we talked about getting into comic books, so let’s get started by looking at my first recommendation:
1. Watch the Movies and TV Shows
Chances are this is one thing pretty much all of you have already done, so congratulations! You are officially one step closer to being a regular comic book reader. For those of you that haven’t, I suggest you check some of them out.
“But wait,” you say, “I have heard many comic book fans criticizing the movies and TV shows. How do I know which will enhance my comic book knowledge and which will turn me off comics forever, or worse yet, make me stick out like an obvious comic book noob?”
Excellent question! I personally believe that all comic book knowledge is good knowledge. Even the worst movie will introduce you to the basics. Who’s the hero? Who is the villain? Are there any love interests? What’s the hero’s back story? Etc. It will also introduce you to what most hardcore comic fans hate and why they hate it. Most Batman fans hate the movie Batman and Robin and/or think that the Adam West Batman TV series was ridiculous, but you will still hear comic book fans talking about them and even quoting them. Sometimes you have to understand the bad things to understand the culture.