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Monday 7 April 2014

AN OPEN LETTER TO JESSIE J: Saying Bisexuality is a "Phase" is Problematic

by Lauren W

Today is a sad day. Not because Jessie J has claimed she is straight - we should all be allowed to simply be who we are - but because she says she has "outgrown" her bisexuality, and it was just a "phase".

(Image Source: Digital Spy)

The British starlet took to Twitter this week, tweeting I fancy/date/love men and only men. Is that “straight to the point” enough?

Fair enough, you're straight. Good for you, Jessie.

The point for discussion here is that Jessie implicated that her bisexuality was a "phase".

The Domino singer also tweeted:
Remember the thing that you tried/did back in the day. The phase you had? That is so not YOU anymore?! And you look back and think wow how I've changed. I would never do that now. Something that you don't even talk about or want to talk about anymore. Because you've moved on? That was just part of you growing up? Discovering yourself and working out what you liked and disliked.... Remember?
(Source: Jessie J via TMI)
Here's the thing, Jessie. When parents of young people hear you comparing bisexuality to other 'phases' young people go through, it sparks the thought within them that their children are also just bisexual "for the time being".

Yes, we all went through phases. But here's the thing. Saying you're bisexual is not the same as a 14-year old going through a "grunge phase", or a "scene kid" phase. 

The thing is, Jessie, you were never bisexual and you always knew this. We understand that you may have used this idea as a publicity stunt, and you may have also claimed you were bisexual because you had brief flings with women in the past. But we all know that sleeping with a woman once does not constitute bisexuality.

There are many of us who slept with men for years before realising we only wanted to sleep with women. Does that mean we classify ourselves as once straight? Of course not. I, for example, briefly dated men when I was younger, but would I say I was straight back then? No. But I presume you will attempt to claim you were bisexual at one point in your life.

It is dangerous when young girls (and boys!) hear words such as "phase" and phrases such as "I grew out of it". This can suggest to young queer people that they too will 'grow out of it' one day. Those posters of a half-naked Katy Perry on that young girl's wall? Nah, they'll grow out of it. The young boy who has a crush on his best friend? It's an anomaly, and he'll grow out of it. This is DANGEROUS. Not only could such young people have high hopes for their sexuality to 'change' and be disappointed when they still want to bang members of the same-sex by the time they reach 18, but buzzwords such as 'phase' can lead to dire consequences. 

In the worst cases, devout young religious people will lose faith in their God, whom they have prayed to for hours on end to help them change, but to no avail. (I am not championing religion here, I am simply given different examples of how this could negatively affect our youth.) Others will slump into a deep depression; some may even contemplate suicide once they realise they cannot 'grow out of it' like you supposedly have. Is this something you intended when you explained your heterosexuality? Probably not. But you definitely did not think about what you were saying before you published your words to 6.5 million Twitter followers.

Again, it's not your announced heterosexuality that is sparking such a response from ATL, it is the way in which you phrased it. Comparing bisexuality to that phase you had when you would only listen to Status Quo is incomparable on so many levels.

Next time, stars like Jessie need to think about their choice of words (see: Laurel Hollman - click the link!) when making adjustments to the way they have previously labelled themselves.

Though they may not realise what the effects of their words may be, there are people who see celebrities today as role models. We need to ensure this does not happen again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have a different theory...

I think Jessie truly is bisexual. She's claimed that she started seeing women at 17 (way before she was famous.) She openly dated women and all of her friends and family accepted she was bisexual (her words). She even fell deeply in love with a woman and had a long-term relationship.

In 2011, at 23, she "came out" to the media. That's SIX YEARS of having same-sex relations. That doesn't sound like a phase.

She changed her tune about her sexuality after she "found God."

I think that Jesse’s complete and total dismissal of her past same-sex attractions (as well as describing same-sex love as a “choice”) could be due to her powerful new found belief in Christianity.

The fact is, the bible is very clear on sexuality and the role of women. Despite what a lot of well meaning bible-believers claim, the bible does not advocate equality. At all. God creates women for men. God instructs women to desire and obey men. The bible clearly states that homosexuality is a sin. The bible promotes hatred of gay people, misogyny, harsh physical punishment, and even slavery (Genesis is horrible). It was written by a bunch of douche bag men a very, very long time ago.

Religious people like to pick and choose what they want to take from the bible, and dismiss the stuff they don’t like. But the bad stuff is still there. Some religious people claim that being gay is acceptable under god, but the majority don’t.

Fact is, religion is the main force against the acceptance of homosexuality and gender equality, purely because what is written in the bible. Jessie now believes in the bible.

Of course, we don’t know which parts of the bible she believes in. Maybe she ignores all the references to homosexuality being an "abomination." I for one wouldn't be surprised if deep down she now considers same-sex attraction sinful, especially if she is hanging around bible thumpers who share that view (and there are many of them). She may not admit it, but it doesn't mean that’s not what she’s feeling.

I could be wrong, but it's just a thought...