Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Discussion Willow's sexual orientation with self-definitions vs. the Kinsey scale

  1. #1
    Graveyard Patrol ghoststar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    331
    Thanks
    244
    Thanked 667 Times in 256 Posts

    Default Discussion Willow's sexual orientation with self-definitions vs. the Kinsey scale

    Having recently seen another dustup over Willow's sexual orientation, I think that most of the acrimony, and perhaps even most of the disagreement, over Willow's sexuality has less to do with what we believe she feels, and more to do with who has the right to claim which label. Willow appears to be capable of brief attraction to men, even after she quits dating them. (See: "Buffy vs. Dracula.") At the same time, she seems not to believe that she would feel fully satisfied in a heterosexual relationship. To different people, at different times, the word "lesbians" has meant everything from "women who are only ever attracted to other women" to "women who usually prefer female-female sexual relations" to "women who choose to only indulge their attraction to women, despite being attracted to both sexes" to "women who will resign themselves to female-female sex over celibacy when separated from men." In my own writing, I use the first, and narrowest, definition, because broad definitions worry my technical little mind; thus, I consider Willow bisexual. However, given the history of the word "lesbian," none of the preceding definitions is wrong per se, which means that none of the mainstream opinions on Willow's lesbian status is wrong-- except, of course, for the opinion that only one definition is right.

    I suspect that, were we to ask fans where Willow falls on the Kinsey scale, we'd find much more agreement than on the issue of her claimed lesbianism. While there is no standard test, the possible outcomes are:

    0 | Exclusively heterosexual

    1 | Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual

    2 | Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual

    3 | Equally heterosexual and homosexual

    4 | Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual

    5 | Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual

    6 | Exclusively homosexual

    X | No socio-sexual contacts or reactions

    (https://www.kinseyinstitute.org/rese...nsey-scale.php)

    I suppose that the numbers are themselves labels of sorts, but they're far less fraught than "lesbian" or "bisexual." We can't remove the canon label of "lesbian" from Willow, but we can try to separate its meaning for Willow from its meaning to various audience members. That requires, for starters, a different terminology for her straight-up sexual attraction than for her love life, which potentially includes such variables as seeking an egalitarian relationship in a culture with gender roles, achieving her friends' acceptance at the turn of the millennium, and recovering from a traumatic first breakup. A simple number scale seems like a good starting point.

    Personally, I'd put her at 4 or 5, and I think that her use of the term "lesbian" has a couple of possible explanation. First, she may simply be reacting to the culture of her time, in which bisexuality was less discussed than today. Second, she may have discovered that, for all that she sometimes feels attracted to men, she's more emotionally comfortable with a female partner; if she intends to focus on women, then her interest in men perhaps seems irrelevant. Where do you think Willow falls on the Kinsey scale, and why do you think she defines herself as a lesbian?

  2. The Following User Says Thank You to ghoststar For This Useful Post:

    TimeTravellingBunny (22-07-19)

  3. #2
    What? KingofCretins's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Big Honkin' Castle
    Posts
    13,718
    Thanks
    234
    Thanked 3,914 Times in 1,846 Posts

    Default

    I think 4-5 is reasonable and also that there is nothing wrong with identifying as a lesbian at that point of the old school scale.

    Banner by LRae12

  4. The Following User Says Thank You to KingofCretins For This Useful Post:

    ghoststar (22-07-19)

  5. #3
    Graveyard Patrol Willow from Buffy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    334
    Thanks
    287
    Thanked 781 Times in 295 Posts

    Default

    I don't think the Kinsley Scale is all that useful. The problem is that Willow would answer the questionnaire differently in the early season as opposed to the later ones (though maybe taking the questionnaire in high school could have caused her to ask herself some questions she had not thought or dared to consider before).

    The interesting questions are how Willow would answer the questionnaire in the later seasons and how does she feel about her heterosexual past in hindsight.

  6. #4
    Graveyard Patrol HowiMetdaSlayer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    oHIo
    Posts
    352
    Thanks
    249
    Thanked 605 Times in 305 Posts

    Default

    The problem is the writing (or lack thereof) in the later seasons. Plus TPTB wanting to have a gay character regardless of past orientation. If you're going by the first 2 seasons, Willow would be a 0 on the Kinsey scale. If you go to S3 & half of 4 it would still only be 1 on that scale. Later half of S4 would be a 2, maybe 3? S5 & 6 could be anywhere from 3-5? They didn't really go to a 6 till maybe S7. Even in the later seasons there were things that were said that made it seem like her character could be closer to the middle of the scale. As I've said many a times before, I'd take any validity of what was said or done in the later seasons (especially 6 & 7) with a grain...er pound of salt. I'm not even going to count the 'canon' comics. Personally I think that Willow would be a 3. To be fair the Kinsey scale is kinda dated.

  7. #5
    Graveyard Patrol ghoststar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    331
    Thanks
    244
    Thanked 667 Times in 256 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HowiMetdaSlayer View Post
    The problem is the writing (or lack thereof) in the later seasons. Plus TPTB wanting to have a gay character regardless of past orientation. If you're going by the first 2 seasons, Willow would be a 0 on the Kinsey scale. If you go to S3 & half of 4 it would still only be 1 on that scale. Later half of S4 would be a 2, maybe 3? S5 & 6 could be anywhere from 3-5? They didn't really go to a 6 till maybe S7. Even in the later seasons there were things that were said that made it seem like her character could be closer to the middle of the scale. As I've said many a times before, I'd take any validity of what was said or done in the later seasons (especially 6 & 7) with a grain...er pound of salt. I'm not even going to count the 'canon' comics. Personally I think that Willow would be a 3. To be fair the Kinsey scale is kinda dated.
    Kinsey's methodology is certainly dated (ignoring the fact that it was flawed even for its time), but the scale itself isn't any more dated than the terms "lesbian" or "bisexual," both of which date (in their senses of sexual orientation) to the late 19th century. (I've seen a claim that "lesbian" was used by someone in the mid-18th century; however, I haven't seen a citation of where.) I'd argue that using 19th-century words that don't have precise definitions is likelier to cause confusion than a 7-point scale with a precise description of each point.

  8. #6
    Slayer flow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    1,617
    Thanks
    3,796
    Thanked 3,805 Times in 1,591 Posts

    Default

    I have one huge difficulty with this. For all of my life I have clearly been a 0 on that scale.

    But who says it‘ll stay that way. Maybe tomorrow I‘ll engage in the first homosexual relationship of my life. And maybe the day after I decide that I am exclusively homosexual. This scale is only valid for one moment in time.

    I don’t see the use of this scale at all, to be honest.

    flow
    ................................ Banner by buffylover

  9. #7
    Slayer TriBel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Manchester, UK.
    Posts
    1,792
    Thanks
    4,763
    Thanked 4,830 Times in 2,103 Posts

    Default

    I think there's enough ambiguity in "Hello, Gay now" to cover 3 through to 6. As flow implies, it's related to time and it's open-ended.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •