Catwoman coming out good for bisexuality


By Lena Rawley, Staff Columnist

Last week in issue 39 of DC Comics’ “Catwoman,” Selina Kyle — alias Catwoman — kissed a girl. The iconic and sexy anti-hero had always had a flirtatious relationship with Bruce Wayne, and fans wondered if her lip-lock with another female character made her a lesbian. The series’ current author, Genevieve Valentine, asserted on her blog that Catwoman was surely not heterosexual, but she also wasn’t a lesbian — she is, in Valentine’s words, a “canon bisexual”. It is great that Catwoman came out. What is unfortunate is that she came out at a time when bisexuality gets a bad rap in society.

Bisexuality is plagued with countless misconceptions. Bisexual individuals are viewed as extremely promiscuous. It is a common and awful assumption that, because bisexual individuals are not attracted to just one gender, they must want to sleep with everyone. This assumed promiscuity in turn feeds into the belief that bisexuals can never hold down a monogamous relationship.

The stereotype that bisexuals are sexually indecisive makes it seem like bisexuality is more of a sexual phase than a legitimate sexual orientation, or that it is merely a tool used to soften the blow of coming out to a conservative audience. In 2013, research confirmed that with both homosexual and heterosexual men and women who were surveyed agreed that bisexuality was not a real, genuine sexuality. On the contrary, bisexuality is a legitimate sexual orientation, with 1.8 percent of Americans identifying as bisexual.

A big reason why these misrepresentations continue to be perpetrated has to do with the media, which does very little to correct these hackneyed ideas. Not only are only 3.3 percent of TV show regulars lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, but there is a marked lack of bisexual characters in the mainstream media. When bisexual characters are actually depicted, they are true society’s stereotypes of them: promiscuous, indecisive and incapable of monogamy. In “Orange Is The New Black,” Piper is bisexual, but her sexuality is used as a tool to paint her as having a split personality. MTV’s “A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila” was another such perpetrator, featuring Tequila, the show’s bisexual host, doing mainly promiscuous, overly sexual things with contestants. Additionally, the show itself further encouraged misconceptions when it was renewed for a second season so Tequila could find another partner. This makes her seem like her bisexuality made her unable of staying in a solid relationship.

Thanks to Catwoman, bisexuality now has a new face — one who is strong, self sufficient, independent and decisive despite her status as femme fatale. Bisexuality is a genuine sexual orientation and Catwoman embodies it. She may not be good news for Batman, but she is
for bisexuality.

Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, March 3 print edition. Email Lena Rawley at [email protected]