Writers of “Big Mouth” misrepresent sexual orientations

By Sophia Heilman Oct 11, 2019

Netflix’s animated series, Big Mouth has recently come under fire due to a particular scene in episode eight of the newest third season of the show. 

In this scene, a new girl comes to school, named Ali, and tells her class she is pansexual. 

The controversy comes in when Ali incorrectly defines what pansexuality is and tries to explain the difference from bisexuality. 

Ali calls bisexuality “so binary” and says pansexuality is about being attracted to both cis (those who identify with the gender they were born with) and transgender (those who do not identify with the gender they were born with) people. 

Whereas, Ali believes bisexual people are only attracted to cisgender people. 

These definitions are extremely transphobic, and frankly, just plain incorrect. 

Pansexuality is where one is attracted to all genders equally, not experiencing a preference for any gender.

Bisexuality is about experiencing a difference in levels of attraction depending on gender. 

In such a popular show, spreading incorrect information about sexualities can be extremely harmful to members of the LGBTQ+ community and can cause controversy within the community. 

Co-creator, Andrew Goldberg went to Twitter, taking accountability “We missed the mark here with this definition of bisexuality vs. pansexuality, and my fellow creators and I sincerely apologize for making people feel misrepresented. 

Any time we try to define something as complex as human sexuality, it’s super challenging, and this time we could’ve done better.” Goldberg said.

The rest of the episode is well written in the ways it addresses the other aspects of being pansexual/bisexual, it looks at the inequality of coming out and the double standards for queer men and women. 

A rumor goes around the school that Ali left her old school because of something that happened with a nun there. 

Ali later explains the truth that she came out and confessed a crush to her best friend.

 “In such a popular show, spreading incorrect information about sexualities can be extremely harmful to members of the LGBTQ+,”

Ali’s friend turned the entire school against her through spreading rumors forcing Ali to leave. 

Jay, a boy who is bisexual, talks to Ali about the double standards of being queer for men and women. 

No one believes Jay when he finally comes out, assuming he must be joking, and Jay becomes jealous of Ali for how she is believed.

Ali, explains to Jay, that while yes his situation is unfair, hers isn’t much better as all the boys at school are sexualizing her for her sexuality, only liking her because she’s pansexual.

The show made a mistake, a big one, with the definitions of bisexuality and pansexuality, they did make efforts to address issues that most media skimps over.

Big Mouth addressed that they have done wrong and plan to do better in the future.

It is the responsibility of the viewers to hold the creators responsible.

Related Post