Six Times I Saw Myself in Pop Culture
- Angelina Jolie: Addy sat on my lap during afterschool. We chatted away about our middle school drama and what homework was due and which boys we liked. Josie wore makeup, there was history homework, and Addy liked Hayden. We hung out with a group of boys sometimes in afterschool. Upon seeing the way we were sitting, they laughed at us and said, “what are you guys, lesbians?” Addy never sat on my lap again.
- Snooki: On a whim, I cut my long hair into a blunt pixie cut. When I came back to school, I got some comments of admiration, some of confusion. My best friend sat next to me in math class and when Tyler, my long-term crush came over to see us, she grabbed each of our hands and said, “have you seen Maya’s haircut, isn’t it cute?” He looked at me and, without hesitation, responded, “it’s weird.” Then I thought maybe I didn’t look pretty enough. Now I think maybe I looked too gay.
- Kristen Stewart: The night after my eighth-grade graduation (which practically made me an adult), I curled my sister’s hair for a dance. As I wrapped each hot strand around my finger, she asked me, “who do you think’s gonna end up being gay?” I didn’t answer for a while and, thinking I didn’t hear her, she clarified, “you know, from Falk? Who’s gonna be gay?” When I told her I didn’t think it mattered, she got defensive. “I was just wondering, god.”
- Demi Lovato: I called my best friend the night before I started high school. She had moved to D.C. right after graduation and the only way I could come out to her was through FaceTime. She picked up and we went through all our hello’s and I miss you’s. “So what did you want to tell me?” I went through my spiel, telling her I wasn’t going to change and she shouldn’t see me any differently. I told her I was bisexual. She was silent for a moment, then said, “Oh, that’s okay. Is that why you cut your hair short?”
- Drew Barrymore: Andrew was the first person to actually take an interest in me. He told me I was unbelievably cute and, being naïve, I believed him. In our two-and-a-half-year relationship, I attempted to bring up my bisexuality with him plenty of times, only to be shut down every time. On a weekend in November when we had decided to hang out at his place and take a nap and I knew our relationship would be coming to an end soon, I asked him if he even knew I was bisexual. He said he guessed he did and, although I never asked him, I wondered why he never acknowledged it. We broke up two months later over what he called, “ideological differences”.
- Marlon Brando: After a couple years of refusing to do so, I came out to my dad while we were driving home from school one day. He said he was somewhat taken aback by it because “that didn’t really happen” in his day.
Maya Frizzell is a senior literary artist at Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12, a magnet arts high school.