People Are Calling Out 'Insatiable' Over This Problematic Bisexual Quote
15 August 2018, 20:58 | Updated: 19 November 2018, 14:24
"Did Insatiable really just try to say that bisexual people don’t exist???"
The problematic, and critically panned, Netflix series Insatiable arrived on the streaming platform last Friday (Aug 10) and a lot of people have a LOT of things to say about it. Despite the scathing reviews, the internet is split; some people love it, some people loathe it, some people are realising they aren't actually offended by it after all and some people are continuing to call it out on certain issues.
One of those issues is bisexual erasure. Bi-erasure is a HUGE problem both on-screen and off where the thought or existence of bisexuality is ignored, denied and grossly misrepresented. There's a few quotes within the show that viewers have called out as biphobic - and they've pissed a LOT of people off.
Viewers have called out a scene in episode 9 ("Bad Kitty") where it's suggested by Bob Barnard, who is gay, that bisexuality is "a phase that we all go through," and that it's "just a stop on the train to Gayville." In the scene, Bob Armstrong, who is doing everything in his power to deny his true sexuality, also says, "Bisexuals are like demons or aliens. They don't exist."
Not great, huh?
cancel Insatiable and bring back Shadowhunters and Sense 8 pic.twitter.com/JUWrPzAQ6U— kaylee stark 🌨 (@starksgalaxy) August 13, 2018
Can we just talk about all the bi-phobia in #Insatiable? Literally every time Bob says he is Bi every other character shoots him down and says he is just gay, how fucking gross. It’s not satire and it’s not funny— AleriaT (@AleriaT1) August 11, 2018
did insatiable really just try to say that bisexual people don’t exist ??? pic.twitter.com/SvuEqpApGA— avery james (@ghibIihoe) August 12, 2018
Im really not a fan of the bisexual (?) representation in #Insatiable. They show bob as a completely selfish person not only personally selfish but sexually selfish as well, a stereotype that has plagued bisexual people since the very beginning.— Aimée ✨ (@jetaimeexo) August 10, 2018
Others, however, are defending the show for the portrayal and representation of bisexuality from the perspective of both male and females. (Nonnie also explores her sexuality throughout the series, with both male and female romantic interests.)
Fans of the show are also pointing out that the quotes from the episode need to be considered in the context of the character's eventual arc, because there's a reason why Bob Armstrong actually says those things.
I love that insatiable is bringing on bisexuality and showing bisexual characters thank you #Insatiable— jusneor (@dorkperalta) August 11, 2018
Insatiable has its problems, however, it’s bisexual representation isn’t one of them.— Mollie 🌿 (@mollieoconnorr) August 14, 2018
Insatiable looks bad for reasons, but a bisexual having internalized biphobia and later coming to terms with it is not one of them— A L L 🍌 S 🐟 N (@hanleia) August 14, 2018
Yes, out of context, those quotes are awful, offensive and are actually not even funny in the slightest. But when they're considered as part of Bob's entire character arc, it's somewhat understandable what the show was trying to get at.
Bob Armstrong is a married man who finds himself struggling with his sexuality. He's been with his wife Coralee for years but he's also secretly in love with Bob Barnard. After being confronted by Bob B about his sexuality following a kiss between the two, Bob A then uses denial as a defence mechanism. His own biphobia is internalised.
In the end, Bob A accepts his own sexuality (he's bisexual) and the show does (eventually) provide some sort of closure to his personal journey.
But the comments from Bob B about bisexuality being "just a stop on the train to Gayville" and claiming it's a "phase" until you're ready to admit you're actually just gay after all? Yeah, they're pretty f*cking shitty. And they don't stop after Bob A has accepted himself for who he is either - Bob B continues to invalidate him.
Bisexual erasure is still a huge issue within on-screen representation, and those quips? From a gay character, at that? Some might call it satire, others might call it incredibly irresponsible and hella offensive.