Bisexuality, Bartie and Brittana: Discuss

Brittana

Pinkies! Ok, I love Brittana pinkies.

Girl-on-girl pop culture queen, Dorothy Snarker, takes on the difficult subject of how lesbian audiences react to bisexual female characters in an article for AfterEllen. Here’s a snippet and a link.

The portrayal of bisexual and sexual fluidity (which, mind you, are not the same and not necessarily interchangeable) on the large and small screen has been a bit of a third rail in the world of gender politics. Many skirt around it, fearful of its power. Others plunge ahead, and experience the unprecedented jolt of emotions that often follows. If you think I’m kidding in any way about that, please go back and read the comments on my The Kids Are All Right review. Or review the comments about Tea on the American Skins. We really, really don’t like it when gay women sleep with men.

via  If “Glee” writers explore Brittany’s bisexuality, should we bitch? AfterEllen.com

Oh, and spoilers (well, they could be outright lies) from here on out.

Apparently, Heather Morris has said that Brittany wants Artie back, and that Brittana is off.

Brittany S. Pierce, what did you do over summer vacation? Heather Morris stops to think a moment before serving up a very Britty answer: “She went into the Matrix.” And that seems about right. Having only spied the premiere script, Morris doesn’t have much intel to share about Season 3, other than “Brittany wants Artie back” — which she sees as a good thing, since “everybody really wants them together.” Well, everybody “except Santana,” she points out. “But Brittany is real, so she’ll do what she wants to do.” Does that mean “Brittana” is finito for, like, forever? “Probably,” Morris reckons. “The writers may play with it a little bit more – but maybe not.” Regardless, the bi-curious/lesbian storyline did some good while it lasted. “Before the tour, I met some girls who told me how appreciative they were, because they were going through that themselves,” Morris shares. “It was nice to hear that we did something for them.”
via Matt’s Inside Line TVLine.com

My cards on the table: I’m not a Brittana shipper. As much as I’ve enjoyed their journey from titillating joke to feelings and especially Santana’s self-discovery, I have never been able to see the good ship Brittana as endgame. I also think Artie is often a misogynistic dipshit so I’m not much of a Bartie shipper either.

I think it’s a tricky thing to write bisexual or sexually fluid characters right now. Because no matter what you do with them, you seem to be perpetuating some kind of stereotype. If you have them in a stable relationship with an opposite sex partner, you’re seen as playing up the titillation factor, or bisexual-in-name-only. Or if you write a bisexual who actively dates both same-sex and opposite-sex partners, you’re portraying them as promiscuous. If you have them with a same-sex partner, you’re almost in danger of portraying them as gay-but-in-denial.

So really, it all comes down to being faithful to the narrative and to the character. And, well, we’re talking about Glee, so that is unlikely.

What do you want for Brittany in Season 3 and beyond?

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5 thoughts on “Bisexuality, Bartie and Brittana: Discuss

  1. I have mixed feelings about Brittana. On one hand I would really *love* them to be endgame, because I think they’re lovely and beautiful and Brittany’s incredibly good for Santana… But on the other hand I don’t think they *will* be endgame, because I’m fairly sure Britt’s not going to wait for Santana to sort out her identity problems forever (I actually think Santana will find a completely separate female love interest for at least part of the next season).

    And Bartie… Well, I used to ship it, before I shipped Brittana, and I kind of still do, just because Artie was the first guy who ever made Britt feel like she mattered (who wasn’t “the major of Gaytown”) and treated her like a human being and not a sex toy. (And then “you’re magic, Brittany”, which, OHMYGODFEEEEEEELIIINGS). Then he called her stupid and now I don’t know…

    I’m kind of open to see whatever they do with Artittana next season (how awesome is that ship name though.), I’m just hoping that all of the characters end up with someone who respects them. (At the moment, I’m shipping Quartie :D) I have full faith in their ability to be true to how the characters themselves would actually navigate it, though.

    But, yeah, the writers do seem to be caught between a rock and a hard place with Brittany. Either way they go people are going to flip their shit and complain about something or other.

    (Also I don’t trust any of what HeMo said, for the prime reason that I can’t trust anything anyone says during a hiatus because Ryan sent them all to the same Troll School…)

    /ramble

  2. I agree about the difficulties of portraying bisexuality. I think it tends to get exacerbated by the whole “endgame” mentality (which has always existed in TV but Glee fandom gave an annoying nickname to), that whole idea in fiction that there’s your one true love! And then anyone else you ever dated or loved didn’t really count. Marissa from The O.C. dated (female) Alex for about a season, but everybody knew her real love was Ryan. Angela from Bones dates a woman for a while, but everybody knew she was going to end up getting together and staying with Hodges. And according to Heather Morris, Brittany and Artie. (I do wonder who comprises that “everybody” she’s talking about. Everybody as in all the Glee characters? Everybody as in the cast and crew, minus Brad Falchuk? She can’t mean the fandom, because even the media’s way more interested in Brittany and Santana. I assume Brittany and Artie have some shippers, but I don’t actually know any. Except Heather Morris, I guess.)

    I really dislike the Brittany/Artie relationship, but not because of Artie’s male (I’m bi, so I obviously have a different perspective than lesbian viewers)–really just because Brittany is written as much more childlike with him, and because of that misogyny you mentioned. His misogyny turns into paternalism around her, and it gets creepy. If she had a different boyfriend, I wouldn’t mind. I also wouldn’t mind her just stealing everyone’s dates like she did in Prom Queen. It’s another rock and a hard place, though, in that Brittany is like the one character on Glee allowed to slut around with joyful abandon (with the exception of Artie slut-shaming her in Duets), but she’s also the only bi-whatever character, which plays into stereotypes. Especially with that “curious” at the end of “bi”–it kind of implies that when she “makes up her mind” she’ll settle down. (I can recognize bicuriosity as a useful period of experimentation for people, but ugh, it bothers me, especially since Brittany’s attraction to women and men seems so well-established.)

    But yeah, as long as her attraction to women sticks around, I’ll be okay with it. I really loved that throughout this season there were so many little moments about Brittany’s attraction to women—the almost-kiss in her Britney fantasy, her telling Bieste that she wants to touch Bieste’s boobs, her telling Lauren she looks delicious in her lemon-meringue prom dress, her dancing with a girl at prom. Prior to Sexy, Brittany really seemed like the one with the stronger attraction to women (which of course can be fanwanked with the realization that Santana is more attracted, but just more repressed and ashamed of it).

  3. Eeep, didn’t read comments before I posted and thus didn’t notice that Green used “endgame” in her comment, otherwise I wouldn’t have talked about it. Sorry about that, Green. I swear I wasn’t picking on you, it’s just become one of those words that’s way overused in fandom and has become super annoying to me.

  4. If I remember correctly, I enjoyed the article from afterellen. Writing bi character is like writing female character–anything and everything the writers does is going to be wrong to somebody somewhere, and it’s fascinating.

    Most of my feelings regarding Brittana vs Bartie are simple: I’m a lesbian with disabilities. Seeing a queer couple is as important to me as seeing a couple where both members experience disabilities. Most of the Bartie-bashing seems to assume that this isn’t a relationship I’m allowed to value, and I push back against that.

    There’s a lot of unsaid stuff involved.

  5. Based on nothing more than my own sexuality it always confuses me a little that I don’t ship Brittana like burning. I adore both characters, but I don’t think it won’t bother me if they don’t ride off into the sunset. I actually don’t expect them to.

    After a long hard think about it the conclusion I came to was a little depressing. I’m just so happy to have a lesbian and a bisexual women on t.v. who actually have a storyline, and fan followings that I’m just happy they’re at the party. I’m willing to sit back and see where this story goes as long as they keep Santana as a lesbian, and keep Brittney bi/fluid.

    I think Kevin Mchale actually pointed out in an interview once that he’s always blown away by younger fans who, when asked who they want to see together, say “Brittney and Santana!” because when he was that age he was in now way thinking about that sort of representation.

    As far as Brittney goes I know that it’s hard to portray bisexuality on t.v. for so many reasons that bleed into the lack of glbt characters on t.v. as a whole, but for all of Glee’s flailing I’m actually pretty impressed with what they’re doing with Brittney so far. Yes, she’ll sleep with anything so they’ve got that stereotype, but there are moments in the second season (I want to talk about our feelings Santana. I want you to accept all of the amazing parts of you Santana. Artie you hurt me and I need time to be good with myself. Artie and I talk about feeling when we have sex) where all I could think was “You may still believe in Santa, but I’m starting to think you’re the smartest person on this show.”

    Kate already pointed out above too that even when she’s with Artie or alone Brittney never stops pointing out attractive women, and she never denies her feelings for Santana or for Artie which is probably another reason I’m fine with them not being a full out couple. As long as these things aren’t shoved under the rug I’m fine.

    @Kate I have to agree with you here in that my problems with Arite aren’t that he’s male, but that historically some of the things he says to his girlfriends (Tina and then Brittney) make me want to punch him in the face.

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