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Tila Tequila's Shot at Fame is No Exercise in Bisexual Education

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Tila Tequila's reality dating show on MTV is a fun, fluffy, guilty pleasure type of show. Tila is a hottie and a flirt, and so are many of the contestants. She wowed every single one of the boys and girls and she is undoubtedly beautiful, sexy, charming, poised, spontaneous and entertaining. She doubles as star and host, and is obviously in control. She also has a great speaking voice that is deeper than what you'd expect from her little girl looks and tiny frame.

Because there has been such a dearth of bi people and characters on TV, and because this show has a bisexual star, some people expect this series to show them what bisexual people are all about. It doesn't. Some journalists and talk show hosts have implied that Tila Tequila represents all bisexual people. She doesn't. This show is not an exercise in education about bisexuality, so don't expect to learn much about us from watching it.

As a bisexual woman, I enjoy seeing anything bisexual on TV. But I know who I am and don't need a show to explain it. I have met hundreds of bisexual people and know they run the gamut of professions, colors, religions, ethnic backgrounds, relationship status, financial levels, countries of origin, levels of education, disabilities, numbers of children or child free, fashion sensibilities, interests, hobbies and political opinions.

The only thing about bisexuality this show demonstrates so far, is Tila's ability to find both women and men attractive. Many non-bisexual people (aka "monosexuals") have difficulty understanding how a bisexual person could be attracted to people of more than one gender, because they themselves can't. So they doubt bisexual people exist and think of us as similar to unicorns...a myth. Tila certainly shows that we exist, but what impression of bisexual people does this show give off?

She flirts with almost every boy and girl on the show in the first episode. There were 16 straight guys and 16 lesbians...you do the math. She socialized with each gender separately, so the guys didn't know about the female contestants and the girls never saw the guys. By her own admission, Tila lied to all of them before the show even started taping. The straight guys were led to believe she is straight and the lesbians were told she is gay. Next week, in episode two, they are told the truth and discover they are not only competing against each other but against a whole other gender.

We applaud MTV for being the first to star a bisexual woman on a dating show, and an Asian-American woman at that. Of course we are in favor of having an openly bisexual person on a TV show, but that openness was undercut by lying to participants about Tila's bisexual orientation. Of course, this is the stuff of reality dating shows and more and more often there have been deceptive twists on similar shows. But hearing Tila say she lied to everyone to get them on the show, made me cringe.

The bi community spends much of its time fighting stereotypes and myths that don't accurately reflect who we are. People tend to associate us solely with our sexuality and forget that, like everyone else, we have other aspects to our lives. We fear that this show is more likely to add fuel to the fire of bisexual stereotypes, than to put them out.

I hope that journalists will present this show as what it is: an entertaining, MTV reality dating show that happens to have a bisexual star. Tila Tequila is a shrewd self-promoter. But she is promoting herself, not the bisexual community.

Of course, if anyone gets the impression from watching the show that all bisexual people are hotter and more desirable than everyone else...that part is accurate!

Read more here.