the one about The Couch
Updated: Dec 21, 2022
Have You Heard? IKEA, the chaotic bisexual mecca, has released a collection of loveseats inspired by pride flags. So here's my unasked for opinion about the bisexual couch on this last day of pride month.
First, the poet whose poem inspired the message on the pillows explained his poem and his experience:
Overall, I really like the message of the pillows and the show of communal outreach, now that I know the background of it.
These loveseats probably aren't going to be installed with a printout of Brian's tweets or a recording of his performance. When you look at the loveseats all together as a group,
the bisexual couch is the only one with an explicit message. The others are perfectly bland furniture using the palettes from the flags and not much else. So when the bisexual loveseat is the only one explicitly saying that identity is invalidated (and not just in a Twitter-style "you are valid uwu" way, in a "you're statistically more likely to experience domestic violence than cis lesbians or heterosexual women if you're a cis bi woman" way), it's really jarring.
The bi loveseat is standing out from the crowd because it's the only one that reminds the people it's supposed to represent that even during pride month, they're seen as fake, as liars, as being shunned both from their community and from the larger cis-heteropatriarchal society. But there's no message about nbyphobia, transphobia, or lesbophobia on those couches. No reminder that transphobes in and out of the LGBTQ community are trying harder to strip more and more rights from trans people. No mention of pan people being told they're just trying to be a trendier version of bi and they should just stop trying too hard to be special.
Those messages shouldn't be on those loveseats. So why is that message on the bisexual loveseat? Why is the bi couch the only one that puts its audience down with a clear, unambiguous message on its ugly little pillows just to attempt to lift them back up with an abstract message of bi people coming together? The slam poetry worked because the poet shared his experience in his own words; the message wasn't abstract, it was clearly shared in the greater context of the performance. It doesn't have to be a positive message because it's not an installment created for pride; it's one artist sharing his experience (an almost universal experience, tbh) to a crowd where he can provide a whole broader look into the bi experience.
This loveseat fails spectacularly because it shits on your face and then expects a metaphor to clean it up. It took one line from the poem and presented it without context and without an equally concrete example of positive messaging or affirmation. You can't have an art installation set up in a retail space like IKEA that can set off a visceral response because it's plastered with a real-life biphobic message and a bunch of hands that have no meaning without the artist's statement or background knowledge of the poem that inspired the lines. And when none of the other couches have any kind of message beyond their being there and being attached to pride month, it's a harder slap in the face. It reduces the bisexual experience only to biphobia if you don't have the prior knowledge of what the fuck those weird little hands actually mean, and that's a wildly shitty disservice to the bisexual community when you're supposed to be curating a collection to show pride.