Liam Payne accused of reinforcing harmful stereotypes about bisexual women on song ‘Both Ways’
Former One Direction singer Liam Payne has been accused of reinforcing stereotypes about bisexual women on his new album.
Payne’s album LP1 came out on Friday, November 6, and the song ‘Both Ways’ was immediately criticised online.
The lyrics see Payne singing: “My girl, she like it both ways. She like the way it all taste / Couple more, we’ll call it foreplay / No, no, I don’t discriminate.”
Meg Murphy from campaign group Bi-Pride UK told BBC News the lyrics play into harmful ideas about bisexual people.
“As a woman who exists on dating apps you get pretty tired very quickly of people asking things about threesomes, and his lyrics very much reinforce those stereotypes,” she said.
She added that bisexual women are only seen as valid “when they’re performing for the male gaze or when men can join in with threesomes”.
“The song shames bi women for being sexual while simultaneously condoning such sexual expression when it’s carried out to the straight male gaze,” the 24-year-old said.
Bisexual women have significantly worse mental health than straight or lesbian women.
I’m sorry but Liam Payne’s new song makes me cringe and feel so uncomfortable as a bisexual person. I can’t even imagine how bisexual women feel about his song Both Ways 🤢😷 pic.twitter.com/OXP2iT4IuP
— Luke Waltham (@lukewaltham) December 7, 2019
According to Stonewall, 72 per cent of bisexual women have experienced anxiety in the last year – compared with 60 per cent of lesbians, 56 per cent of bisexual men and 53 per cent of gay men.
Bi women are twice as likely as lesbians to have self-harmed in the last year, and one in two bisexual women has felt life is not worth living in the past year.
i just heard 'both ways' by @liampayne for the first time and all i can say is what on earth was he doing, thinking this was remotely okay??? fetishising people for their sexuality is grossssss
— dani pls (@liamsluke) December 9, 2019
Over the weekend, the hashtag #LiamPayneIsOverParty began trending on Twitter, with LGBT+ people and allies – particularly bisexual women – taking to the internet to share their feelings about Liam Payne and ‘Both Ways’.
“Stop making bisexuality into a fetish and stereotyping it for a way to have threesomes,” one user wrote.
Another added: “He’s over. Forever cancelled.”
Former Payne fans also began comparing his actions to those of Harry Styles, Payne’s former bandmate, who is widely considered to be a staunch ally to the LGBT+ community.
sorry not sorry i’m still disgusted by both ways by liam payne. i still cant believe and sang and released it. it’s absolutely disgusting. imagine idolizing someone for YEARS and then them FETISHIZING your sexuality. harry could and would NEVER. #liampayneisoverparty
— sheila 🙂 (@sheilaisidk) December 7, 2019
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“I now stan Harry styles purely because I hate Liam Payne. Never thought my life would come to this but as a bisexual woman I just can’t even comprehend what the f**k made Liam think ‘Both Ways’ was an OK thing to release,” said a Twitter user.
#liampayneisoverparty we knew this one was coming for YEARS. knew it right after he backlashed Harry for dressing the way he does and being who he wants. the lgbqt+ community is NOT for your fetish. to see young women, men, or ANYONE being sexualized like that is disgusting.
— 𝐆𝐞𝐨𝐫𝐠𝐢𝐚 (@adoregeorgia) December 6, 2019
Reaction to Payne’s new album has been broadly negative.
The Guardian’s deputy music editor, Laura Snapes, summed it up: “LP1 is a terrible pop album, but very effective contraception.”