Bisexual Representation in TV Shows: A Rant

Today I’m here with a topic that is a little bit different but has grown very dear to me. I know it has already been discussed but I still wanted to give my opinion on things that I, as a bisexual person, find good or offensive or anything in between.

This is me, being offended and trying not to be offensive.

Before you go any further, I just wanted to let you know that I am going to discuss four different shows: Friends, Outlander, The 100 and Orange is the New Back, so in case you want to avoid spoilers on any of those, you might want to stop reading. Now you have been warned.

In a world where we need more diverse representation, it’s even harder to get the good kind of representation. There’s also the question of whether it’s better to have bad rep than no rep at all which is also quite problematic but I’m not going to discuss that question because I’m just here to talk about the problematic stuff I may have encountered. TV shows have often been blamed for killing off their gay characters (as well as people of colour) for schock value, and while it is a big problem, it’s far for being the only one when it comes to representation. While shows tend to include more gay characters (though let’s not get too excited about that, because we’re not quite there yet) there is something else that fails to be as common – at least in my opinion – and that is good bisexual representation.

The first show I wanted to discuss is Friends because I absolutely love this show, and I am currently rewatching season one. As much as I love it, I also recognize it has many flaws, the lack of diversity definitely being one of them. And there is one that particularly bothers me, and that is Carol, Ross’s ex wife, who left him for another woman. The thing is, this whole situation includes a lot of amazing elements. I absolutely love Carol and Susanne, and I love the fact that they get married and raise a kid together. All the more so considering Friends started some twenty years ago. There is however something that is overlooked: the fact that Carol is most likely bisexual. Like, come on, she clearly used to love Ross, and they have been together for eight years. They got married. She tells him at some point when she is pregnant that she did love him, but moved on. And it’s not even implied that she might be bisexual or pansexual? Ross keeps saying stuff like “Carol has become a lesbian” which I find incredibly offensive. First of all, you don’t “become a lesbian” like you become, say, a teacher for example. (There is also this episode when the Geller parents are saying that he should have guessed long ago that she was a lesbian or something… I call bullshit. She did love him. But love doesn’t always last forever.) And second of all, tell me if I’m wrong, but the sheer possibility of Carol being bisexual or pansexul isn’t even mentioned in the show, while she clearly is? Sexuality is fluid, it can change, it just happens. But “becoming a lesbian” is a very, very bad formulation. Carol loves men and women. She is most likely bisexual, or pansexual, and it’s a pity it’s not mentioned in the show.

When you are bisexual, or pansexual, and you fall in love with someone, you don’t choose a gender, you choose a person. You don’t stop loving women because you’re dating a man, and vice versa. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

The second show I wanted to discuss is Outlander. I have watched the first season and I do not plan on continuing any further because so many things about it make me uncomfortable. I am also reading the first book, but I’m not sure I will even finish it. I absolutely love the concept of the story and the whole time-travel thing but it has so many things that make me uncomfortable, I just can’t anymore. Of course Claire’s situation is intense and complicated and I’m not going to discuss that. But the show includes romanticized rape and I have no time to deal with that. It is just disturbing. And then there is the matter of Captain Randall, the arch-villain of the story, who SPOILERS rapes or attempts to rape (I don’t even know anymore at this point) both Claire and Jaime, which again is disturbing. So yeah, the guy really seems to like sex. And is a super villain. And is really into raping people apparently. There is too much disturbing things when it comes to him though I thought he might at least partly be misunderstood (though this doesn’t excuse any of his deeds. Again, I only base myself on season one.)

Anyway. What I wanted to discuss is the fact that Captain Randall, the (presumably) bisexual character of the show, is the villain. He is the bad person who wants it all and who wants to have sex with both men and women. (Just like Carol is the bad woman who broke Ross’s heart.) And we fall into this trope again, where bisexual are villains, are most likely to cheat, and just want to have sex. This is because of representations like this one that there are so many prejudice about bisexual people (admitedly when people accept that we exist). And it’s a pity.

The next show I wanted to discuss is Orange is the New Black which is, again, a show that I have not finished yet, but unlike Outlander, I haven’t given up on it so far, I just didn’t get the time to carry on. I am honestly bothered by several things that come up in Piper’s portrayal when it comes to her sexuality: on the one hand, there is Alex saying “I shouldn’t have fallen for a straight girl” and on the other hand we have Larry saying “I didn’t know you used to be a lesbian”. And again, sexuality is fluid, and you don’t necessarily have it all figured out, and it’s not a bad thing, and it doesn’t make what you feel invalid. (If you have it all figured out then kudos, you’re doing amazing sweetie!) It is so obvious that Piper is bisexual (or pansexual obviously) and yet it hasn’t really been mentioned, and there are so many clichés, it’s frustrating. Now I know I haven’t seen everything yet, and I’m planning on doing so, meanwhile hoping it gets better.

And finally, one more show I wanted to discuss is The 100. It has been called out for killing off POC and gay characters as well as a bunch of clichés which definitely are present, and I won’t deny no matter how much I love this show (sometimes I’m not even sure why I like it to be honest but anyway). One good thing about The 100 is that it has an openly bisexual lead character, and while it has never been officially stated in the show that she is bisexual, she has been romantically and sexually involved with both male and female characters on screen without her sexuality being questioned (like Carol or Piper) and this is something I greatly appreciate. I know this show can have many problematic aspects but at least it is doing okay when it comes to bisexual rep as far as I’m concerned, and it feels good to have a character I can identify with, at least to some extent.

And that’s about it for what I wanted to discuss today. It has been a bit longer than I expected at first but I got a bit carried away and I hope you enjoyed anyway. Maybe this article was offensive (I hope not), but I am offended and I feel like this needed to be discussed. I just wanted to add a little perspective on all of this. These shows overall contain a lot of great stuff, but there is still the matter of the bisexual representation that bothered me and I wanted to let it out. Please feel free to comment if you want. Let me know if you know of any show with good bisexual representation that I should watch! And that being said, I hope you have a wondeful day ♥

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Passenger: My Review

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For some reason I was in the mood for time-travel adventure reads in the summer, and along with The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig (which I reviewed here) I also read Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. I had heard a lot about this book on Bookstagram and in the bookish community in general, so it raised high expectations for me, and I was slightly worried it would be overhyped, but I absolutely loved the story.

Title: Passenger
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publication: January 2016
Genre: YA, Time-travel, Historical fiction
My rating: ★★★★☆

The story:

Etta Spencer lives for her violin and puts it before everything else until one night she is thrust away from everything and everyone she cares about, only to discover that not only is she away from them through both time and space, but also that this was something her mother knew was going to happen.

Nicholas Carter has been trying to avoid the Ironwood family for most of his life, and dreams of living his independant life at sea with the help of the man who raised him. But again and again, the time-traveling family crosses his paths and destroys things he cares about. When his path crosses Etta, he is once again forced onto the path of time-traveling, in an adventure that could change the way the entire world functions.

My opinion:

Let me start by saying I absolutely loved this book. It was fantastic. It was a book that had been on my TBR for quite some time (ever since it was released I believe) and I am so glad I finally read it because it most certainly did not disappoint.

I’m a sucker for time-travel novels even if I often find the concept of time-traveling a bit confusing, and I absolutely loved the way it was executed here: it was rather well-depicted, and the fact that it could have heavy consequences was also made clear, which perfectly makes sense, and was well-inserted into the story. Kudos to Alexandra Bracken for creating such an amazing, well-crafted universe.

I really loved both main characters. Etta is a 21st century young violin prodigy, and Nicholas is an 18th century captain who also happense to be the illegitimate son of a slave (something that obviously has a major impact on his life, but I also believe it was quite well-depicted in the book. Let me know if you think I am wrong, I may have missed something).

A lot of people said the book was slow-paced and that it took some time for the pace to pick up. I honestly wasn’t bothered by it. I just really liked that the setting and the concept were well-described. One thing that I regretted though was the development of the relationship between Etta and Nicholas. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE them together. I think they really match and that it’s beautiful they managed to find each other through space and time. However, I do think that the relationship was a bit rushed and honestly happened way too fast. It seemed to much of an insta-love, while it could have been much more slow-paced. On the one hand, this is something that I often see in YA and even if I don’t like it, I can understand that it is for the purpose of the story. And on the other hand, this book was not your typical YA, so I guess that makes up for it. (And honestly, Etta and Nicholas are a match made in heaven, and they have so much to learn from each other, it’s beautiful).

As I just said, this book was not your typical YA novel, and I think it’s one of the things that made me fall in love with it. If you love time-travel, pirates and adventures, then this is something I can only recommend to you. Feel free to share your opinion if you also read (and loved!) this book ♥

Similar recommendations:
The Girl from everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Inherited by Freedom Matthews (review)

The Girl From Everywhere: My Review

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I haven’t written a book review (or a blog article for that matter) in a while so I figured it was really time I fixed that. I read The Girl from Everywhere back in August, not really knowing what the story would be about, only that it was about pirates and time travel – something I am always up for.

Title: The Girl From Everywhere
Author: Heidi Heilig
Publication: February 2016
Genre: YA, Adventure
My rating: ★★★★☆

The story:

Nix has been raised on a pirate ship, traveling through time on an impossible quest to help her father save her own mother from death, an event that could alter her timeline and prevent her own birth. The Captain is obsessed with finding a 1686 map of Honolulu to achieve his goal, and to succeed, Nix and her shipmates have to go through time and space, both real and fictional. But does she really want to proceed with something that could make everything she knows disappears?

MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

(You have been warned, carry on at your own risk!)

My opinion:

I was definitely attracted by the premise of this book because it contained time-travel and as I said, I’m always up for that, and it didn’t disappoint, especially considering the ship could access pretty much anywhere as long as they had the proper map, which means they could also go to fictional places, something I didn’t expect and absolutely loved. Honestly it was really hard to put this book down. It has great twists and goes to great places, both story-wise and in ther characters’ journey. The only thing I didn’t like was the love triangle aspect of it, which is something I couldn’t honestly do without (especially because I would rather concentrate on all the adventures at hand).

That being said, I really like the main character Nix. She is facing a pretty hard dilemma but still helps her father even though she knows it might affect her entire life. The Captain is also a pretty complex and extremely well-made character which I really appreciated. The ship has a few other shipmates who are all unique and coming from different places. My personal favourite, of course, is the ever-charming Kash, but I also really liked Bee.

Another absolutely amazing aspect of this book is the fact that Nix has a mixed-race heritage, (her mother was Chinese and living in Honolulu, and her father is American) which is something she can suffer from, but was also (in my opinion) very well included into the story. The other members of the crew also come from various places around the globe, which makes it a very realistic pirate ship, and also manages to include rep that is very rare in fiction, again something I loved. For example Kashmir comes from Persia and also speaks a bunch of foreign language including French which was the direct way to my heart. When I’m reading, I love to see different things, and this book is the perfect example of that. I live for it and I can’t wait to pick up the sequel.

Before you ask, I didn’t really like Blake to be honest. His (sort of?) relationship with Nix felt forced. I liked however how cultured he was and all the things we got to learn through him. And I loved that this book mentioned historical and cultural elements I didn’t really know about, that was super interesting.

I feel a bit rusty writing this review, but I hope you enjoyed it anyway. If you have read the book as well, I would love to hear your opinion on it. If you haven’t, I definitely recommend it. And if you love time-travel, then what are you waiting for?

Finally A Reading Update

I haven’t uploaded anything on my channel for a month or so, and I finally took the time to film something and here we go! I talk about the books I read in August and since the beginning of September (aka since my last reading wrap up for the month of July).

Ratings:

Geekerella by Ashley Poston ★★★★★ (review)
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken ★★★★☆
The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig ★★★★☆
Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali ★★★★★
Homecoming (The 100 #3) by Kass Morgan ★★★★☆ (review)
The Up Side of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli ★★★★★
School of Deaths by Christopher Mannino ★★★☆☆
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates ★★★★★

Currently reading (among others):

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
The Lonely City by Olivia Laing

Hope you all have an amazing day ♥

Don’t go on Erasmus… It will change your life!

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Going on Erasmus and living abroad has always been a great dream of mine, and now that I am back in my hometown, I can tell you it exceeded all my expectations, and honestly changed me for the best. I have spent all my life hearing people ask me what I wanted to do with my life without really knowing what to say, but now I can finally say I have found my answer to this question: I am completing my degree (hopefully I will get it in June) and trying out some part-time jobs to save as much money as I can, and I am moving back to Berlin with two amazing girls I met there. And there, I will find a job in a bookstore or a café or something similar. And even if it will obviously not going to be easy – what is, really? – I can finally say that I have a plan.

I found a place where I belong.

Living abroad for a year has changed me in so many ways, and yes it sucks to be back in France, but I wouldn’t change any thing that happened this past year, because it has made me who I am now. I learnt how to care less. I learnt how to keep the people who matter in my life, and just forget about those who don’t. I learnt how to live in a foreign country. I definitely got better at administrative stuff. I realised that I didn’t miss France one bit. I came back at the end of July and have already been back in Berlin once. I grew addicted to coffein and I don’t regret it one bit. I became a vegetarian in the most vegan-friendly place I know. I met the best people in the world, and I can’t wait to see them again. I got a tattoo. But more importantly, I got so many amazing memories to cherish. And that’s forever.

I found a place where I belong, in the last possible place I expected to belong, to be honest. And I can’t wait to be back there. In this place that feels like home.

I used to hear people say that going on Erasmus was an amazing experience and everything, and I would gently chuckle, thinking they were exaggerating. Well let me tell you. They were right. Sometimes, I even think that I have become an adult.  It’s a study in people, in places, and in life in general. It is the best experience you could possibly dream of. At least it was for me.

And I can only recommend and encourage you to do the same. It’s an opportunity you might only get once in a  life time but I promise, if you catch it, you won’t regret it. And it will help you and change you in every possible way.

Warning: don’t go on Erasmus if you don’t want your life to change, because I can guarantee you it will! 😉

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Feel free to share some Erasmus or abroad experiences in the comments!

Homecoming: My Review (The 100 #3)

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I finally read The 100: Homecoming and I absolutely loved it. There’s a lot of romance but I think this series is very well made even though quite different from the show!

Title: Homecoming (The 100 #3)
Author: Kass Morgan
Genre: Science Fiction, YA, Romance
Publication: 2015
My rating: ★★★★☆

Warning: Possible spoilers for book 1 and 2, and for the TV show!

You can check my review of Day 21 (book 2) here if you want!

The story:

In book 3, the rest of the Colony – including Glass – is flying to the ground while the 100 settle a peace with a group of Earthborns – there is a group of peaceful ones and a group of dangerous ones. But as the adults reach the ground, things are about to change for Bellamy and the rest of the delinquents, as well as the fragile peace they have built up with the Earthborns. Meanwhile, Clarke tries to contact her parents, and Wells develops his relationship with Sasha, the daughter of the Earthborn commander.

My opinion:

This book does include a lot of romance, much more than in the TV show. Actually, the only thing they have in common by this point is the universe, and the name of some of the characters. That’s pretty much all, honestly, but I don’t mind. The world building is really great, and even though it’s going pretty slow, I like seeing how the relationships with Sky People and Earthborns is developing. This book also includes a few great twists which are very welcome. And of course, I couln’t go around this without saying that I absolutely love the fact that the relationship between Bellamy and Clarke is canon in the books.

I believe the romance relationships in this book are depicted quite acurately. There are fights, and ups and downs, and it seems pretty realistic which is something I appreciate. So yeah, we get to see a lot of romance, but it overall seems to be well made, so that’s great.

We also got some major character death in this volume which hadn’t really happened in a while and totally broke me because I really didn’t expect it. But then again, it could have been predictable, it’s an interesting plot device (even if a cruel one) and it does make sense in such a universe.

The rest of the Colony (or at least part of it) brings up a new dynamic in the story (just like it did on the show) and as much as I expected it, it also had its interesting surprises, and it was well made in my opinion. What I really like about this series is the fact that the books are rather short, captivating and easy to read. I think I managed to read each of them in one or two days, and I always appreciate that.

Overall, I quite enjoyed this one as well as the two previous ones, and it was actually a pleasant surprise. Don’t come into this with overhigh expectations, but if you’re into space and post-apocalyptic stories, then this is definitely something I would recommend!

Geekerella: My Review

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In case you didn’t know, I’m writing a paper about Cinderella retellings, and although this one is not officially included, it was one of my most anticipated releases for the year, because it got me really curious… And I wasn’t disappointed!

Author: Ashley Poston
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance, Retelling
Release: April 2017
My rating: ★★★★★

The story:

Ever since her father’s death, Elle has been living with her step-mother and twin step-sisters who make her life hell both at home and at school. She’s working in a food truck and dreaming of the day she can escape. On of her only solaces is her blog, where she talks about Starfield, her favourite movies – and a passion she used to share with her dad. However disappointed she is with the new pick to play her favourite hero Prince Carmindor, she decides to attend the new ExcelsiCon – an event created by her father – and participate in the cosplay contest which might allow her to meet with Darien Freeman, the new actor.

Darien used to love attending cons when he was younger, but now that he is on the other side of the pannel, he would rather avoid them. Cast as his hero Prince Carmindor, he is afraid to disappoint the true Starfield fans, especially when a dedicated blogger starts criticizing the choices of the director. But he finds himself exchanging texts with a mysterious girl who gives him hope in himself and his future.

My opinion:

To be honest, I don’t know where to start, because this book had so many things that I love.

First, the main character is very well written and extremely relatable. She is your typical Cinderella with the mean step mother and the unsufferable sisters. But she also has her very particular qualities such as the fact that she works at a vegan food truck, and of course, the fact that she is a nerd and writes a blog on a regular basis, which I absolutely loved. It’s not always easy to write a contemporary Cinderella story because it can very quickly become a cliché, however I believe it was not the case here. The romance was quite well made and if I have to be honest, it was impossible to put the book down.

Darien is also a very interesting characters, especially in his conflicted relationship with his father. I absolutely loved the chapters from his point of view. He is this famous actor who is not sure how he ended up there, and seems to end up either doing things he dislikes or being misunderstood by the public. But he is also trying to stand for what he thinks is right and has a very interesting development through the story. To be honest, I just wanted to give him a big hug and tell him everything was going to be okay.

I really liked the retelling aspect of the story. I kept tracking down the elements directly coming from the original fairytale, and I absolutely loved how they were executed in the book. Some things were predictable, but it also has some nice twists: just the perfect amount of each. And of course, I absolutely loved that both characters, each in their own way, were absolute nerds.

Finally, I have a soft spot for this kind of romance, where the characters fall in love by exchanging letters at first, without knowing each other’s true identity – and they probably never would have gotten closer had they known it. I don’t know, it just really works for me, and it was amazingly executed here, so if this is something you enjoy reading, then I definitely recommend you to go and pick up this book.

Overall, this book was nicely written and absolutely adorable. I sometimes felt like the romance came a little too quickly but it is something I am beginning to notice in all of the books I have read recently so it is probably more due to the fact that I am bitter and disabused than something coming from the book itself (do let me know if you also think so though, I would love to not be the only one who thought so).

I know this book was not perfect but I loved it so much, and it is exactly my type of book, the kind that makes me smile and swoon when I think of it, so I couldn’t not give it five stars. If you are looking for some nice cute and easy read then I can only recommend Geekerella to you. And if you have read it, I would love to hear your opinion as well!

Similar recommendations:

P.S. I like you by Kasie West for the letter exchange aspect of the story, and Cinder by Marissa Meyer for the retelling aspect of the story of course.