While watching Real World San Diego 2 last Wednesday, there was a preview for this coming Wednesday’s episode, which is at the 40:40 mark for reference:


I. can’t. wait. Anyways, Frank defines himself as bisexual, which both straight dudes Dave and Zach find strange and baffling. In the two episodes that have aired, Dave and Zach have been as quiet and politically correct about it as they can, but in this week’s episode when Frank’s bisexuality becomes “real” and he brings home a guy from the bars, Dave freaks out. When he goes to the confessional room to chat with the camera he says, “Don’t do it when I’m around”, referring to Frank hooking up with a guy.

That night Dave is talking to Zach about his uneasiness of the situation, saying,  “I can’t live with a dude that does dudes.” Zach responds with,”What if it’s a girl, though?”

Dave:”Then that’s okay. it’s a double standard–”

Dave's face when he finds out Frank is about to hook up with a guy in their house.

Zach interrupts by saying,”It’s an absolute double standard.” Even though Zach is standing up for Frank at this point in time, in episode two, he makes fun of Frank for crying and says, “There are few reasons why a man should cry, and this is not one of them,” and later says Frank is “moody” and “on his period”.

In Butler’s definition of the heterosexual matrix, clearly Frank is someone who does not fit in the process of it. Dave and Zach, however, are two examples of heterosexual males that firmly believe in the heterosexual matrix, or “intelligible genders” as Butler puts it (Butler 23).

Butler writes, “‘Intelligible’ genders are those which in some sense institute and maintain relations of coherence and continuity among sex, gender, sexual practice, and desire. In other words, the spectres of discontinuity and incoherence, themselves thinkable only in relation to existing norms of continuity and coherence, are constantly prohibited and produced by the very laws that seek to establish casual or expressive lines of connection among biological sex, culturally constituted genders, and the ‘expression’ or ‘effect’ of both in the manifestation of sexual desire through sexual practice” (Butler 23).

By Dave saying, “I can’t live with a dude that does dudes” is reinforcing the heterosexual matrix as the natural order of things, making someone like Frank be a violation to that order, or the “incoherence” and “discontinuity” of it. Bisexuality is something that is rejected entirely by the norms defined by a heterosexual lifestyle.

Butler writes that gender constructs sex, which applies to Dave and Zach defining what a man or a “dude” should do and with this definition, who these dudes should be doing. To these two “manly men”, men should rarely cry or reveal any type of feelings/emotions to others. By Zach referring to Frank’s crying moment as moody and on his period, he is consciously making a decision to assign Frank to having “girly” traits, or hegemonically feminine ideals. It is with these beliefs of “culturally constituted genders” that all other beliefs stem from Dave and Zach.


-Bailey Cook