It’s Saturday - the last day of Bi Visibility Week, where we reclaim the day to bi women’s issues from the original (shitty) choice of allies as daily theme.
Disclaimer: for anyone who thinks sapphobia is an inappropriate word because “Sappho wasn’t bisexual” go and read this and get out of my post kthx.
[TW: discussion of sexual violence, rape culture, slut shaming, suicidality, and other forms of oppression against bi women]
Sapphobia is a new word coined just a few months ago by bi tumblr blogger mercurialvixen describing misogyny aimed against bisexual women. A new word for an existing concept, sapphobia helps us discuss and define bi women’s particular experience of biphobia, as separate from bi people of other genders, as well as from women of other sexual identities.
Sapphobia happens when biphobia and misogyny intersect. It happens when the media presents bi women as particularly exciting sex toys, existing solely for the viewing and pleasure of cishet men. It happens when bi women are objectified and have their sexual autonomy denied because of their bisexuality. Sapphobia happens when bi women are considered as “privileged” over bi men because of their “increased visibility”, even as this objectifying, fetishizing visibility causes violence against them.
Sapphobia happens when bi women are constantly presumed as being available and willing for sex for cishet men, and it happens when cishet men feel entitled for sex with bi women. It happens when bi women are asked “Can I join?” when they display their bisexuality publicly. It happens when they get asked for threesomes whenever their bisexuality becomes known. Sapphobia happens when people don’t even bother to ask, but simply assume that it’s okay and then do it. It happens when bi women need to lie and say that they’re lesbian in order to avoid sexual violence.
Sapphobia happens when terms like “barsexual” and “party bisexual” are used to slut shame bisexual and bi-curious women. It happens when women say: “not all bisexuals are like that”. It happens when bi women who kiss each other in public are accused of causing sexual violence against other bi and queer women, rather than the men who perpetuate this violence.
Sapphobia is a reality in which almost 50% of bi women are rape survivors, and 75% are survivors of sexual assault.
Sapphobia happens when bisexual rape and sexual violence survivors are accused of their own trauma because “they had it coming”. It happens when they are silenced from speaking about their traumatic experiences or naming them as biphobic. It happens when sapphobic sexual violence is subsumed under lesbophobia but “being attracted to men” is still considered a privilege. Sapphobia happens when bi women are told there’s no difference between their experience and that of lesbians and that “lesbophobia” covers them as well, but are then shouted down for using “lesbian” terms. Sapphobia happens when bi women’s existence and contributions to queer women’s culture are erased, silenced and denied.
Sapphobia is slurs like “bihet”, “breeder”, “bislut" or "dickworshipper" and the belief that what defines bi women is their relation to cishet men. Sapphobia is the presumption that bi women are bisexual for the sake of cishet men. It’s the presumption that bi women are actually straight because apparently cishet men are so superior that no bi woman can withstand them. It’s the presumption that all bi women are even into cishet men at all.
Sapphobia is a reality in which 45% of bisexual women have considered or attempted suicide. It’s a reality in which bi women have the lowest levels of social support, and the highest rates of depression and anxiety. It’s when bisexual women suffer from poorer general health than any other sexual identity group, and are far more likely to be in poverty. (Source #1, source #2).
Sapphobia is a reality where, over a century after the word “bisexuality” was invented, no word for sapphobia existed until just a few months ago.
Now that it’s here, we can understand it better. Learn it, use it, and utilize it to break heteropatriarchy.