Slate Advice Columnist Dear Prudence In Hot Water After Advising Bisexual Reader To Stay Closeted
I read Dear Prudence, Slate's token advice column answered by Emily Yoffe, semi-regularly. Sage advice is dispensed most of the time, even when it comes to issues concerning gay men and lesbians. Regarding bisexuality, however, Yoffe seems to have disgracefully dropped the ball.
In Tuesday morning's edition of the popular Slate column, Yoffe was asked for advice from a woman who's bisexual but currently happily married to a man. Yoffe's response compared bisexuality "plushophilia" (an erotic interest in stuffed animals), getting "turned on by being a dominatrix," and to "not [being] by nature monogamous" before advising the reader to keep her bisexuality closeted.
Let’s say you discovered a late breaking interest in plushophilia, or you now realized you were turned on by being a dominatrix. This would not be news you’d be required to announce at the next Thanksgiving gathering. The rapidity with which society has accepted, even embraced, gay sexual orientation is a glorious phenomenon. But you are confusing your personal sexual exploration with a social imperative. It would be one thing if you left your marriage because you were pursuing relationships with women. That would be worth talking about—if you wanted to—as a way of explaining the dissolution of your marriage. But you say you are planning to not only stay with your husband but remain monogamous. I agree with your husband that making a public announcement about something so private will not be illuminating but discomfiting.
Yoffe continues to invalidate bisexuality through the rest of the chat (titled "Private Bi"), failing the reader, her audience and her reputation as one worthy of disbursing wisdom.
While there should be no shame in how one expresses one's desires such as those Yoffe names, to equate such expressions with bisexuality is to fetishize, and therefore attempt to belittle or invalidate, bisexuality as an identity. She continues to ignore bisexuality's validity as an identity when she refers to the woman's realization as "personal sexual exploration," despite the fact that the woman made it clear that she is not interested in "exploring" anything, but rather has begun the journey of being open about who she is with the people she loves. The bi community is often hyper-sexualized in the media, when the reality is that bi people, like all people express their sexualities in a myriad of ways. To quote GLAAD's Media Reference Guide, bisexual does not mean promiscuous
What do you think of Yoffe's advice?