The Unicorn Scale

By Talia Squires

March 01, 2017

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Photo credit: Bigstock/New Africa

In March of 2017, the first Unicorn Scale was published here at bi.org. It was about the very bi Starz show Black Sails (2014-2017). I created "The Unicorn Scale" because I wanted to talk about bi representation in old and new media.

The fact of the matter is that there are some great movies with terrible bi representation and some less great movies with great representation. I wanted to be able to talk about bisexuality without getting bogged down by talking about lighting or sound design. 

Here's how I broke down my Unicorn Rating:

One Unicorn — All the bis are evil and/or dead. Mostly you know they’re evil because they are bi. Also, they’re probably obsessed with sex and incapable of true love. Or maybe they realize the error of their ways and are “cured,” discovering that it was just a phase and they really are gay or straight. In other words, atrocious and harmful misrepresentation of bisexuality.

Two Unicorns — There are bi characters, and (shock and awe) they aren’t all evil or dead! Nor are they really fleshed out representations of bisexuality, though. Often they are simply used to make a storyline juicier, but aren’t treated like real people.

Three Unicorns — Good job, you have one or more decent bi characters, but their portrayal fails to reflect the greater world of bisexuality. Maybe they are just a token character, only represent bisexuality as non-monogamous, only acknowledge female bisexuality, or fail to actually use the word “bisexual” describing themselves despite their obvious bisexuality.

Four Unicorns — Yay, you did it! You’ve portrayed one or more well rounded bi characters who accurately reflect the diverse ways that people can be bi. Please give us more!

*** This description of "The Unicorn Scale" was updated 6/4/2019

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