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Barbenheimer: The Great Bisexual Reckoning

Margot Robbie as barbie

Margot Robbie as Barbie in Barbie (Warner Bros.)

I may be biased, but pink, purple, and blue bring me so much joy. I saw significantly more bi flags at Pride this year than I ever have, which warmed my heart more than I could say. Bisexual+ (including pansexual, omnisexual, folks) have a unique experience under the LGBTQ+ umbrella that sometimes results in our exclusion or our being read as straight, even in spaces like Pride events. But this Pride, we had Barbie and Oppenheimer— also known as Barbenheimer — to anticipate.

I was, passionately, a Barbie girl. I would cling to one of two Britney Spears dolls when I obsessively watched the “Baby, One More Time” music videos on VHS. There still exists some grainy footage of me, in flared pants and plastic jelly shoes, mirroring my first crush’s dance moves on the TV. Barbie and her friends were my friends, too. It never occurred to me that she was someone I should become, but somebody I could be inspired by. The earliest stories I ever wrote were the ones I would recite in the comforting pink glow of the dollhouse. Barbie let me explore what I liked, what I didn’t like, what life could be. She also taught me that I liked girls.

Fast-forward a decade or so. Batman Begins did something to me that I hadn’t felt since watching Amanda Bynes drag it up in She’s the Man back in fourth grade. It isn’t a Hinge first date with anyone of any gender if I haven’t mentioned the fact that Cillian Murphy’s cheekbones could cut glass, and isn’t that kind of hot? Not to mention the nerdy evil genius vibes of his Dr. Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow – impeccable. Something about a lanky dude in glasses crumbles my inhibition (I blame Cascada’s “Everytime We Touch” music video for this). Christian Bale and Channing Tatum were great, but they gave off energy that seemed more like they’d be fun to catch frogs with, and that was it. Cillian had me smitten.

Christopher Nolan must have had me in mind when he kept casting Cillian Murphy in all the films I enjoyed (or maybe I liked them because of Cillian), because he cast Florence Pugh in a main role in Oppenheimer. As in, my ultimate type Florence Pugh. As in, the unbelievably talented actress who carries the story regardless of genre Florence Pugh. When I first saw her in Greta Gerwig’s Little Women, the transformation and life she gave to Amy (previously my least favorite character in the book) was astounding. Like I did with Cillian Murphy, I searched all of the streaming services I was willing to pay for to watch her in anything I could. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her and how seamlessly she wove herself into the roles of period pieces, horror movies, and thrillers.

I am ready for Florence to once again claim the screen. With Oppenheimer rated R for nudity and sexual content (the history major part of my brain is confused by this), my poor little bisexual heart might not be able to take the dual sexiness of both her and Cillian at once, but destiny calls. I am making the case for the Barbie/Oppenheimer dual release date to be the new Bisexual Visibility Day. July 21 is clearly a joint effort by Greta Gerwig and Christopher Nolan to destroy my soul, and honestly? Pass the popcorn, I’m ready for it.



Bailey DeSimone, writer for Tagg
Bailey DeSimone
Bailey DeSimone (she/her) is a visual artist, librarian, and writer based in Washington, DC. She loves all things LGBTQ+ history and is interested in the intersection of queer media and social justice worldwide. Her past publications on queer media can be found in the Pride and Less Prejudice blog. You can usually find her in a cafe catching up on her to-read list or on a hike trying to become one with nature. When she makes it out to As You Are or ALOHO, she loves a gin cocktail and her sapphic community. Follow her spiciest takes on Twitter at @librar_bee.