saintthecla asked: Explain why calling Anne Frank bi is so very wrong
So many reasons, so little brain.
If we flip through the notes on that post we’ll find people appropriating Anne Frank’s murder as an example of homophobia (or God forbid, biphobia) and not anti-Semitism. And I’m not denying that there were many people murdered in the Holocaust for reasons besides being Jewish, but Anne Frank and her family aren’t one of those cases. (And I’ve tended to feel that people who focus on those other murders do so less because they want to bring attention to the full depth of Nazi hatred and evil and more because in their heart of hearts they can’t empathize with the genocide of the Jews.) If Anne Frank would have grown up to put a name to herself as bisexual or lesbian or heterosexual, that would be one thing; the point is she didn’t get to do that because she was forced to spend her early teens hiding behind a wall before ultimately being murdered because she was Jewish.
Then there’s the problem of her diary’s text itself (which unfortunately I do not have with me but I kind of memorized big parts of both versions so go with me here.) Her father ‘cleaned’ the entire text; not only did he take out the parts where Anne expressed same-sex interests, he also heavily censored her writing about her relationship with Peter. Otto Frank worked to emphasize a budding romance between Anne and Peter in the manuscript he had published. In the full text, Anne is a lot more ambivalent about the whole thing and even writes about how she is feeling pressured, by general social expectations and her own particular circumstances to feel and act a certain way towards Peter. And Peter’s actually really intimidating in the full text; he’s whiny and a bit spoiled, but he uses his power of masculinity against Anne to manipulate her and her family. Seriously, I have as much of a problem of people trying to cast Anne and Peter as a couple as I do with anything else in this situation: why the fuck do people want to romanticize years of overcrowding, no privacy, and terror?
And while Anne’s feeling about Peter are contradictory at best, her feelings about the girl friends she left behind are not. She longs for them and misses them. I’m not going to try to make an argument that Anne Frank was a lesbian, that’s not fair either, but if we’re going to look for textual evidence in her writing then it’s pretty clear she didn’t view men and women in the same way.
I guess the final point I would want to make here is that by casting Anne as bisexual and insisting that her diary shows bisexuality is that it ignores what is actually a very big part of most adolescent’s girls lives: the appreciation for, and love of, other girls and women, both their bodies and their selves, before we are taught to hate feminity. While this can be a part of forming a lesbian identity, most women go through this, even those who are heterosexual. While I do want to fight to bring lesbian representation in to the writing for and about young women, we also have to remember that love between women isn’t always a sexual thing and that by insisting on doing that we’re not only erasing lesbians but female existence as a whole. It’s not okay to sexualize every aspect of women’s live, especially the lives of young women; Anne Frank was a teenager and a very young girl.
Okay, I guess one more point: the people in the notes of that post who are saying things like ‘HOT’ are disgusting and need to be hit upside the head, hard and repeatedly.
Look, you said here you’re not bisexual or Jewish and as a Bisexual Jewish person, I kind of take issue with how you’re talking about this.
You can look at my blog to see why I think how people are acting about this is fucked up on several levels, but some of the stuff you’re saying is wrong and fucked up too.
I agree that people emphasizing her bisexuality over her Jewishness (and especialyl the “hot” comments) need to stop, but for one thing, you act like people saying Anne Frank is bisexual is ‘sexualizing” her and the holocaust which is NOT true. To talk about someone’s sexual orientation is NOT sexualizing them. I had a sexual orientation as a child, that does not mean, if someone talked about that, that it would be”sexualizing” me. I’m surprised that you, a lesbian would say that, but I kind of wonder if you’d say if people were saying she was a lesbian and not bi.
Also your comment about people emphasizing other (non-Jewish) murders ignores the erasure of Romani people which my people (jews) have profited from, ok? Like we have profited from and participated in the erasure of the genocide of Romani people during the Holocaust. It is true people will act like the focus wasn’t Jews, which it was, and becomes clear when you look at the Nazi rhetoric, but actually a larger percent of the Romani population was killed, the population was smaller than the Jews, but still—this fact is ignored. And the continued anti-romani sentiments throughout Europe are ignored.
The fact you’re not Jewish bothers me a lot because you’re sure speaking with a LOT of authority on this and it makes me very uncomfortable the way you are writing in this ask answers and elsewhere, you don’t acknowledge here that you are not Jewish and instead talk as if you can speak for us, when I would argue there’s problems with how you’re representing this issue. I also think it’s nonsense to act like Anne Frank’s feelings and relationships can be written off as some neutered feminine love. Teenage girls can be sexual anyway, Anne Frank is expressing her sexuality. While we don’t know how Anne Frank would have labeled herself, plenty of people talk about figures in history who were likely gay, few do about people who were likely bi. Also your line about her feelings for guys being different as if that’s a point against her being bi kind of shows you don’t know much about the bi experience because MANY bi people feel differently toward different genders that doesn’t make them any less bi.
I also fail to see how presuming Anne Frank bi “romanticizes” her relationship with an abusive man (which, BY THE WAY, would not disprove her biness), especially since many bi women experience assault and rape at the hands of their male partners. That’s so much messed up shit you say about bi people in this ask answer.
So since you are NEITHER bi nor Jewish I wonder why you presume to speak for us and erase us. It is incredibly troubling to me. Your voice should take a second wheel to ours. You can call out people, but it would be nice if you reblogged what Jews had to say, especially bi Jewish women - plenty of us have been posting on this topic, you don’t need to speak for us.
One more bi Jewish woman seconding that.
Also, I have to say:
While I basically I agree with some of the OP’s critique, I find it suspicious that it received so much popularity (far more than that of the original post!). I also find it highly suspicious that these sort of critiques are only raised when someone is called “bisexual” but not when they’re called “lesbian” or “gay”. I have reason to believe that both these things are driven by biphobia and the covert desire to eliminate bisexual existence*.
In fact, I have never seen anyone, ever in my life (online and IRL) saying “please let’s not call this person gay because they didn’t use the term and that would be reductive”. Never.
So, while the OP’s critique makes several good points, I also reserve the right to call bullshit.
* If my having said this bothers you, note that I say “desire” and not “intention”, and check yourself.
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