Alright, I try to pick up where I left you. What does having doubts about your bisexuality have to do with a clash of two views about gender? And why do I care?
Let’s start with what I mean when I speak about doubting whether the bisexual label fits me (or I fit it). Some of my friends have raised their eyebrows and said. “What are you even asking? You’ve been with men and you’ve been with women, so you are by definition bisexual. End of story.” My doubts do, of course, not refer to whether I have been with men and with women. I do remember that part. The questions regard how it felt being with men and being with women.
There is a sense in which my relationships with men have just felt wrong. Not that they have not been exciting, not that I have not felt anything, not that I have not had fun. But there also was something about it that felt wrong. Now, is that something the social role “a guy’s girlfriend” which happens to be terrible and not what I want from my life? If so, then the solution is maybe to be found somewhere in the feminist analyses of how women are expected to behave (or even believe to be expected to behave, which is not much better) when in a relationship with a man. If that’s the problem, then one answer could be being with a very conscious man who helps me overcome the traps of gender-specific expectations. That could possibly work. But what if that something which felt wrong is being with a man at all? Then the problem is one of sexual orientation and as a consequence, the bisexual label must go. The solution, in that case, would not be to (maybe) be with another kind of man, but not to be with men at all. And there it starts.
In a world that distinguishes just heterosexuals and the good old LGB(T) label, this is not where the questions would start, but end. As a woman who is not heterosexual, the suspicion that being with men feels wrong to me would just make me a potential lesbian. But the feminist sphere as well as most LGBT spaces are over those labels. Insofar as they have been influencing me, they are almost exclusively queer spaces/movements. And a queer activist reading the above would now probably go on to ask me tons of clarification questions. Having been influenced be the queer scene, I asked them to me myself:
What do I mean by “not being with men”? Is that a physical, sex-related thing? Is it about body parts or the types of sex that one usually has when they are involved? Would it change if the same body parts were “used” in a different way? Is it about the other person’s self-understanding as a man? About the behaviour that results from it? Or is it just about features or ways of acting that I perceive as male, maybe because they usually correlate with the actor being a man? What about men without those features or ways of acting?
So this is my background story about how I got to open Pandora’s box, getting very interested and personally invested in questions about what I mean by “man” and “woman” and why. And even more pressingly: What must those words mean in order to be of significance? And does my usage correspond to what gender actually is? Maybe that will be helpful in understanding how my “feminism crisis” could become so important to me. If I ever get to the point where I formulate what it actually consists in.