Ariana Grande had a “Monopoly” on the entertainment news cycle this week, after singing that she likes “women and men” in her new song with Victoria Monet. On April 1, the day the single dropped, Grande endorsed a fan’s tweet about how the pop star isn’t going to label herself. “I haven’t before and still don’t feel the need to now,” Grande responded.
The 25-year-old’s attitude toward sexuality mirrors that of many other Hollywood stars: They don’t feel the need to put a label on their sexuality.
Related: Nico Tortorella tells the world why he resists gender and sexual labels
Consider what Big Little Lies star Shailene Woodley told The Hollywood Reporter in 2014, when she was 22: “I fall in love with human beings based on who they are, not based on what they do or what sex they are.”
Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams, 21, quoted the Divergent actress in a 2016 interview with Nylon: “It’s like what Shailene Woodley said: ‘I fall in love with personalities and not people or genders.’ I have no problem with anyone who would want to be labeled, but I also think that it is no one’s business. Do what you want.”
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And Williams’ best friend and Game of Thrones costar, 23-year-old said Sophie Turner, unwittingly started a Twitter debate last week when users took her declaration of openness in Rolling Stone’s April cover story — “Everyone experiments. It’s part of growing up. I love a soul, not a gender,” — as a coming-out or as an alignment with a specific sexual identity.
Related: Ben Whishaw gets very candid about his sexuality in rare and revealing new interview
Pop star Bebe Rexha sang the same refrain in Nylon’s April cover story. “If I want to make out with someone, I’ll just make out with them,” the 29-year-old said. “I don’t care who you are. I’m big on energies.”
And it’s not just the young women of Hollywood who are eschewing labels. Lucas Hedges, 22-year-old star of the 2018 gay conversion drama Boy Erased, told Vulture in September that he exists on a spectrum, since he’s “not totally straight, but also not gay and not necessarily bisexual.”
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That same month, 28-year-old Tyler, the Creator — who has rapped about “kissing white boys” before — told Fantastic Man that it’s “cool” with him that his sexuality is “such a grey area.” A year earlier, One Direction star Harry Styles, 25, told The Sun he “never felt the need to” label his sexuality.
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To be fair, it’s important that queer youth have out and proud heroes. It’s important that they can see themselves reflected in Hollywood. But with only 66 percent of Generation Z identifying as “exclusively heterosexual,” it’s also important for those exploring identities or rejecting labels to have idols, too.
I’m a genderqueer, non binary, demisexual who uses the pronoun zie who doesn’t believe in labels.
lol lol lol…
But honestly though, this article plus all the talk from “young Hollywood” is the perfect definition of exhausting!!
Sex, orientation, love, relationships and identity are incredibly personal things that are uncomfortably attached to politics, sociology and consumerism. Most people who are not conventionally straight and heterosexual are within the romantic, sexual, affection, relationship spectrum as opposed to fitting neatly into a singular “label”. While refusing to embrace an identity gives people time to grow, to test the waters and to suss out all the elements of who they are and what they want. And everyone seems to have their own definition for what all these different identities mean. So, I understand and semi support the “no labels” movement. But like everything else the “no labels” stuff is a double-edged sword. It can contribute to things like shame, manipulation and denial. While the entertainment industry as a whole still supports the closet, still supports shame and very much supports people doing and saying whatever for the sake of bank accounts, careers, attention and building public personas. Ultimately, people are nuanced and these are nuanced issues that need to be treated as such.
“The heart wants what it wants” is an old ass phrase that’s kinda fallen out of fashion. But it still applies to most people. Preaching honesty, freedom, self-esteem, self-understanding, mental health and being with/loving who you truly want to be with/love have always been more important than identity. The problem is no matter where you fall in the labels vs no labels debate or what “labels” you do or don’t embrace, too many folks are still too driven by sociology, ego and identity politics and don’t really preach those more important elements.
@donston, at the end of the day I suppose the reason I find this whole no labels movement to be problematic or at the very least a turn off for me personally is for two reasons.
1 I can’t shake the feeling that I sometimes get when someone tells me they either don’t label themself or they create some new label I haven’t even heard of before, a small voice in me says there’s a chance they are just doing that to be deliberately enigmatic and “unique” just for the sake of being different.
2. I feel like this whole no label movement, while possibly creating much more freedom for experimentation and self expression and freedom from stereotypes and persecution etc, also has the effect of creating even more confusion than existed before the movement started. I can’t speak for other gay men but for myself personally I have always made it a strict guideline for myself to NEVER flirt with or hit on a man who wasn’t into other men because I refuse to add fire to that belief that all gay men are just out to “convert” or get into the pants of every male out there. The more people choose to forgo labels and descriptors the harder it makes it for someone like me to recognize who’s off limits and who’s not and who’s boundaries I should be respecting. Knowing a man I’m talking to isn’t gay right away helps me set my expectations for our dynamic as well as helping me determine how I will act towards him. The no labels movement bugs me because I can’t help feeling like if it keeps going, it’s going to reach a point where everyone you meet on the street is going to be androgynous looking so you won’t know what gender they are without asking first, and you also won’t know what gender they prefer to sleep with until you ask them flat out. Idk about other people but the idea of living in a world where I have to ask everyone I form close relationships with what their chosen gender identity is as well as what gender they prefer to sleep with so I know where I stand, doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest.
Oh, I definitely agree with a lot of this. As I mentioned, it’s a double-edged sword. There are pop culture figures and people who are “social media queers” that do look to “queer bait”. They may not be entirely heterosexual and/or feel entirely cis gender, but they’re mostly in it for the attention and/or money and/or to come off like “enigmas”. They’ll bite off anything that makes them look cool, edgy and enigmatic. “Gay” has never been and will never be “cool”. While regular, smegular straightness and heterosexuality is losing its cool factor. So, instead of keeping it real about your dimensions and your struggles and your relationship ambitions, too much of the “no labels” movement is about trying to come off as hip and open-minded as possible and about fueling everyone’s desires with the idea that you can enjoy sex with anyone, love anyone and have a satisfying relationship with anyone. And this in turn fuels that person’s ego. I do feel like a lot of hetero-leaning “bi guys” and “queer women” have actually done more harm than good. They’ve contributed to an environment that praises ambiguity and internalized homophobia rather than helping us get to a place where everyone can keep it real, everyone can love who they wish and ultimately none of it matters.
However, some of the “no labels” stuff is a reaction to the problematic aspects within the gay/lesbian/bi “communities”. You have people who want “gay” and “straight” to mean being entirely, completely homo or hetero in every possible way. That in and of itself is problematic. You have some misogyny, misandry, trans-phobia coming from certain portions of gays and lesbians (and “proud to be bi’s for that matter). While many people still refuse to accept the realities of fluidity or the realities of the romantic, sexual, affection, relationship spectrum. You have the “bi community’s complaints, which are often shallow and almost always are psychological or political. (I recently read a post on Youtube complaining about how not enough people talk about Angelina Jolie’s relationship with a woman and how people are trying to “erase” her supposed bisexuality. Angelina doesn’t talk about it. She apparently has never had a long-term relationship with a chick. And she’s been married to three dudes. It’s like, wtf you expect? Please sit down and find something more important to bitch about). While many refuse to accept that there are plenty of people who have bisexuality/dimensions/fluidity in their orientation or don’t live completely hetero or homo lifestyles but at the end of the day still see themselves as straight or gay.
I just wish in general that people were less concerned with embracing an identity or detaching from an identity and less concerned with propping up or pulling down certain identities. It should be entirely about keeping it real, fully being yourself and not being afraid to love and be with who you truly want to love and be with. The “no labels” thing in some ways helps but in other ways it’s making things worse. It hasn’t spark real conversation. Instead of depending on “labels” a lot of people are now depending on empty, cliched phrases. However, unlike you I don’t have a problem being in a society where you have to ask questions. Because no matter what identity people take on they’re still their own person and have their own thing going on.
@donston maybe it’s just a symptom of my age but the more things change the more I tend to miss how things used to be with things like “gaydar” being a thing and just feeling someone else out and having a pretty good idea after a set amount of interactions with them where they fall on the spectrum and whether or not your advances would even have a chance. I’m not a direct enough type person to want to go up to someone and ask something like “are you into men?” Or even “are you a man?” I know what I am attracted to sexually and it isn’t females and the idea that I might have to get into the habit of “asking” to see if the person I’m chatting with is a female or not distresses me (I’m sure that sounds transphobic but it’s honesty and i don’t know how else to phrase it). But I’m also the type of person that doesn’t relish the idea of constantly asking another male if he is into men because again I am not a direct or bold type person and I don’t want to run the risk of being decked onto the pavement for asking the wrong question to the wrong male whereas back then I would just use my gaydar to feel them out.
thisisnotreal, I’m comfortably married. So, hopefully I won’t have to deal with that stuff anymore. However, despite being only 32, I’m certain even “back in the day” you still had to ask questions and engage with people to truly suss all the aspects of their orientation, what type of relationship they’re looking for and how they saw their future. Yes, things are more convoluted now. We live in a “freerer” world. But also, once we started to pile up on the “labels” and once more people wanted “gay” and “straight” to mean being an entirely, completely heterosexual or homosexual in every way it made things more problematic. There are some people who want being a “gay dude” to mean that you’re a completely homosexual guy who lives a completely homo lifestyle, you’re grossed out by women and women body parts and you’ve never had any type of feelings for women and have never tried out having a relationship with a female. Therefore, you got guys out here saying they’re “not gay” because they have female friends or because they don’t hate women and silly stuff like that. And you still have dudes claiming to be not gay because they’re a “real man”. It’s made everything more difficult. “Back in the day” you could have some dimensions in your orientation or sense of gender and/or fvck around with anyone and still consider yourself “gay” or “straight” and you wouldn’t get much backlash.
There are a couple of elephants in the room. First, the “no labels” stuff is partially driven by anti-gay agendas, where some people just don’t want to deal with the burden and limitations of being seen as “gay”. There are people (including some famous people) who have flat-out said or have said in so many words that folks should avoid being seen as “gay”. Secondly, “queer women” have kinda taken over things a bit too much. A lot of these guys are coming out and forming their identity and sense of self around appealing to women and appeasing “queer women’s identity politics. Rather than it being something that’s about them. Too many men (even many gay identifying men) filter their sense of self through females and through approval from women. Even a lot of women recognize that problem.
Ultimately, the romantic, sexual, affection, relationship spectrum are real things. So, you have to get to know someone to get an understanding of where they land on the list of those things. It is what it is.
Who gives a crap about fake bisexuality for baiting when QUEERTY should be covering one of the best LGBTQ TV episodes in recent memory DOOM PATROL ep8 Danny Patrol . Matt Bomer, an actual out and proud actor gives a performance and a musical duet that will see what actual pride is about.
Young ones today go anyway the wind blows and then when they get hurt they want to cry for mommy or daddy. Spread lots of stds. Bi=I tell a lot of lies.
Where is their honesty? Could you bore me any more with the lack of any thing genuine. FAME FAME And look at me is all they are about God damn facebook wannabes Look at Me still looking for a trophy for Tee ball.
One of the problems with this article is that none of the people it highlights have ever been in a confirmed relationship with someone that’s not the opposite cis gender as them. They say one thing, but what you see in magazines and on red carpets is still mostly a promotion of traditional hetero normalcy, hetero love and hetero relationships. And I get that dimensions, fluidity, contradictions, the spectrum and “finding yourself” are real things. However, at the end of the day most people (particularly men) have preferences as far as who they want persistent affections from, who they want romantic love from and who they can have a stable and satisfying relationship with. So, while everyone is their own person, and “love is love”, everyone should be “open-minded”, and ain’t nothin’ wrong with fvcking around with whoever- let’s also not forget the realities of things. And let’s also not act like having substantial and persistent passions, affections, romantic love and relationship ambitions towards your gender is not still it’s own thing.
I think what these celebrities are saying brings an awareness to others about gay and bisexuality, but I don’t believe 75% of them. Right now it’s considered cool and trendy to be coy about being bi… which is nothing new, it started in the 70’s. David Bowie, Prince, Mick Jagger started their careers claiming they swung both ways, and then admitted later they didn’t. It’s queer baiting.
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