Friday, March 14, 2008

A spectrum of sexuality (by Suzie)


       Eliot Spitzer isn’t the only one whose sex life has been splashed across the pages of the New York Times. The Times also revealed Buffy the Vampire Slayer in bed with another woman last week.
       The Buffy comic book continues the television show created by feminist Joss Whedon. Maybe the latest issue “won’t change the world,” to quote a well-known song by Jill Sobule, but it has sparked much conversation, at least among geeks, um, I mean, people who read comics. Whedon says:  
    "It’s not a huge life change for Buffy. She’s not gay. Sexuality is a spectrum. Many of us have experimented in our youth – that’s what youths are for.”
       After all, Buffy has had romantic relationships with two vampires. Whedon says he didn’t propose this plot for the publicity, and the comic doesn’t depict any exploitive slayer-on-slayer action.
       In Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women's Love and Desire, Lisa M. Diamond suggests female sexuality may have more to do with context than gender. For example, you’re surrounded by hundreds of female slayers who adore you, and only a couple of men.
Lisa Diamond argues that for some women, love and desire are not rigidly heterosexual or homosexual but fluid, changing as women move through the stages of life, various social groups, and, most important, different love relationships. This perspective clashes with traditional views of sexual orientation as a stable and fixed trait. But that view is based on research conducted almost entirely on men. Diamond is the first to study a large group of women over time. She has tracked one hundred women for more than ten years as they have emerged from adolescence into adulthood.

         What is that sound? Is that Echidne sharpening her knives to slice and dice this research? All I can say is: I look forward to the day when the gender of our partners no longer matters to others.