….And no, I am not talking about that Girls.
Fuck Lena forever, tbh.
You ever see someone doing something they think is well-meaning and they think will do some good in’ the world, but meanwhile, you’re just looking at them like “Noooooooo. Don’t do it.” Like watching Mark Ruffalo tweet about how he was dreaming and saw a Black woman who apparently was God (okay….). Or watching certain celebrities deploy Black women as litmus tests for bigotry (I’ll pass). Or watching people who are wholly intelligent make false equivalencies between Crazy Rich Asians and Black Pantherand calling the former “The Asian Black Panther.“
And so you just sit there, cringing like a muthafucka.
This is my hell.
Well, that’s how I felt when I heard and saw the lyrics of the song “Girls.” It’s a Rita Ora song, but it features Charli XCX, Cardi B, and Bebe Rexha. Before I even jump into the backlash and all that it means, I will say that yes, Ora has stated she had good intentions. That she wanted to make a song with her friends where she complimented them and could give props to her identity.
The only issue with that is that *content* of her song doesn’t quite line up with those intentions. There are more than a few concerning lyrics in that song, but personally, I, Clarkisha Kent, first of my goddamn name, took umbrage with two in particular:
“Red wine, I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls” and “Now I could be your lipstick, just for one night (one night).“
Now, here’s the thing. Ora is free to tell her truth or whatnot via song, but she (and anyone else who okays these particular lyrics) is delusional if she thinks these lyrics are somehow not harmful to and against bisexual individuals. Bisexual femmes in particular.
I know, I know.
“What makes them harmful, Clarkisha?”
Well, I’m glad you asked, because to that I would say:
They play into bigoted stereotypes about bisexual femmes.
And here is specifically why:
1. “Red wine, I just wanna kiss girls, girls, girls” ties our sexuality to drunkenness. The idea is that we are putting on a temporary “show” of bisexuality because we are inebriated.
The idea is that ANYONE can be bisexual with the right amount of alcohol. Think college and drunken parties and bar-hopping where this kind of “sometimey” sexual behavior is encouraged.
2. “Now I could be your lipstick, just for one night (one night)” highlights how folx think we are just “in denial lesbians.” That we’re in a stubborn, but temporary, sexual phase.
I just…wow. We have enough issues with certain lesbians side-eyeing us for not having eyes for only them (gotta love when folx want us to choose just ONE gender to fuck with). We don’t need this as well.
3. The song is written by literally like six other dudebros and highlights the historic and disgusting “tradition” of cishet men treating the sexuality of women as something to be gawked atand waxed off to.
Cishet men already have overinflated ideas of self and assume that femmes were put on this planet to be their therapists, mothers, and sexual playthings. And nothing more.
And whereas they assume that their weaksauce phallic members would be enough to “turn out” a lesbian and make her forget that she is indeed a lesbian, they also assume that bisexual (and pansexual) folx only like folx of multiple genders because it is hot…to them. They assume that our sexualities only exist for their viewing and tangible pleasure.
That it is somehow the Adobo spice to their bland and saltless, raw chicken of a sex lifewhich is compounded by their mediocre stroke game. I mean, why else would I be getting so many messages about partaking in threesomes with a heterosexual couple when it is clear that this threesome is some “spicy” last-ditch effort to keep a piss poor relationship together?
I said what I said!
Of course, these points above are all woefully problematic…but are common, albeit wrong, bigoted stereotypes and bi-phobic misconceptions that most bisexual femmes have to deal with.
That said, there is one more reason I would probably punch my radio in its imaginary face if this song came on:
4. For me, it’s a reminder that experimentation with sexuality is demonized and viewed negatively when it comes to bisexual (and hell, pansexual too) folx.
This one point is perhaps my biggest issue with the entire songparticularly when I hear the “lipstick for one night” line. Now, don’t get me wrong. I believe it’s everyone’s God-given right to experiment with their sexuality and see what they like, don’t like, and could do without.
It’s the reason why, while Sex and the City was often very cringey when dealing with topics of sexuality (oh, and race!), I always agreed with Samantha’s declaration of trying anything at least once. Because why the hell not?
However, the issue with that is that only bisexual (and pansexual folx) are viewed negatively for experimenting. Even when we’ve done our soul searching and settled on our identities and the labels we want to ID as, we are still viewedas my love Sailor J would sayas flip floppity bitches who can’t make up our minds. We are apparently indecisive as fuck. And that makes us harmful and dangerous to others. And allegedly harder to love because we could wake up and decide to be someone else or love someone else tomorrow.
I AM OVER IT.
I mean. Think about it for a second. It is the same reason you’ll hear a mofo referring to someone as “bi-curious” (*cue an eternal eye-roll*), but you rarely ever hear some shit about someone being hetero-curious. Or straight-curious. Or gay-curious. Or homo-curious. Nah. The rest of that is merely called experimenting. While us “flip floppity” bitches are set apart and our sexuality is merely referred to as “curiosity” and nothing else.
It also does not help that there is a gross history of, like I said in my last piece, using bisexuality as a pit-stop before arriving at other sexualities. Granted, anyone has the freedom to change their mind, of course. But if I were to suddenly say that I was, let’s say, asexual tomorrow, you would have folx in these streets saying that my bisexuality was never a thing. And that it was all an illusion so that I had time to decide what I really wanted to be sexually and without judgment.
Even though, again, this is not the case. In fact, my sexuality is and will always be legit. And it’s as legit as these hands will be if you ever fix your mouth to say any of this bi-phobic shit to me and my lovely face.
Got it? Good!
Because, again, while I am all for Ora celebrating and relishing what her bisexuality means to hereven if it does not match my ownI gotta keep it real with you, Chief. Those lyrics were mad harmful. They were. No matter how you spin it.
And they made fresh a lot of wounds that have been dealt to bisexual folx by a community that claims to be for us, but ultimately doesn’t know what to do with us…since they can’t shove us into a box neatly.
That is gradually changing, of course, (personally, I don’t think that change is coming fast enough but what do I know), but I’ll be damned if I allow a song like “Girls” to come around and fuck up all that goodwill just because it sounds “catchy.”
Y’all can. But I shall not.