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The Weeknd's 'Lost in the Fire' Feeds Into Violence Against Bi Women

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Fans of the Weeknd have used his association with Halsey as evidence that he's not misogynistic or biphobic, but his lyrics tell another story.
 

Several women took to Twitter to call out the misogyny, homophobia, and biphobia in the Weeknd's new song "Lost in the Fire" (a collaboration with Gesaffelstein) when it dropped last week. In just a few lines of lyrics he describes invoking a three-way with a girlfriend who's discovering she's sexually attracted to women and then proclaiming he could "fuck" her straight.

The problematic lyrics that are allegedly a diss at Drake feed into the stereotypes that women are only with one another to please a man while also unintentionally calling attention to the very real violence perpetrated on bisexual women. Now fans of the Weeknd have come to his defense, accusing the women who were outraged at the hateful lyrics of "overreacting." One fan went so far as to tweet a series of photos of him leaving a club with bisexual pop star Halsey, who is also holding hands with his on-again, off-again girlfriend Bella Hadid, as proof that the dangerous ideas in his lyrics are no cause for alarm. In "Lost in the Fire" the Weeknd sings:

"You said you might be into girls (into girls)
You said you're going through a phase (through a phase)
Keepin' your heart safe (keepin' your heart safe, oh)
Well, baby, you can bring a friend (bring a friend)
She can ride on top your face (top your face)
While I fuck you straight (while I fuck you straight, yeah)"

What's also troubling is that the Weeknd seems to be outing Hadid as bisexual, therefore denying her agency regarding who gets to discuss her sexuality.

Responding to actress Laura Zak (Her Story), who tweeted, "Dudes thinking they're gonna somehow score 2 queer women when they can't even get 1," a fan of the Weeknd tweeted a series of photos of him hand in hand with Hadid and Halsey, as if proximity to them is proof positive that queer women are just waiting for a man to jump in.

While offering up the Weeknd's association with Halsey and Hadid is troublesome in that it plays into the stereotype of queer women needing a man, it also drags a queer woman (Halsey) into the conversation about his dangerous lyrics and places the onus on her to answer for why she has yet to excoriate him for his misogyny and biphobia, rather than make him answer for it.

Even worse. though, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2010 determined that bisexual women face an "increased risk of intimate partner violence."

The Weeknd cavalierly says, "She can ride your face while I fuck you straight." But the frightening truth for bisexual women is that they have a 61.1 percent lifetime prevalence of "rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner" as opposed to 43.8 percent for lesbians, 26 percent for gay men, 37.3 percent for bisexual men, 35 percent for heterosexual women, and 29 percent for heterosexual men.

"We know that violence affects everyone, regardless of sexual orientation," CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said when the report was released. "This report suggests that lesbians, gay men and bisexuals in this country suffer a heavy toll of sexual violence and stalking committed by an intimate partner."

Here's what women (and some men) had to say about the Weeknd's new song:

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Tracy E. Gilchrist

Tracy E. Gilchrist is the VP, Executive Producer of Entertainment for the Advocate Channel. A media veteran, she writes about the intersections of LGBTQ+ equality and pop culture. Previously, she was the editor-in-chief of The Advocate and the first feminism editor for the 55-year-old brand. In 2017, she launched the company's first podcast, The Advocates. She is an experienced broadcast interviewer, panel moderator, and public speaker who has delivered her talk, "Pandora's Box to Pose: Game-changing Visibility in Film and TV," at universities throughout the country.
Tracy E. Gilchrist is the VP, Executive Producer of Entertainment for the Advocate Channel. A media veteran, she writes about the intersections of LGBTQ+ equality and pop culture. Previously, she was the editor-in-chief of The Advocate and the first feminism editor for the 55-year-old brand. In 2017, she launched the company's first podcast, The Advocates. She is an experienced broadcast interviewer, panel moderator, and public speaker who has delivered her talk, "Pandora's Box to Pose: Game-changing Visibility in Film and TV," at universities throughout the country.