Answers to the most frequently asked questions
regarding bisociality

 

Q:

What is bisociality?

A:

Bisociality is the potential for behaviors associated with more than one social interaction paradigm. A bisocial person may not be equally cool and dorky, and the degree may vary over a lifetime.

 

Q:

How do I know if I am bisocial?

A:

There is no test or criteria to determine whether one is bisocial or not. Self-perception is the key to a bisocial identity. Research has indicated that approximately 40% of all people have been social with more than one behavioral style, while many more recognize this potential within them.

 

Q:

Isn't bisociality a phase or transition?
I know of dorks and nerds who said they were bi when they first "came out."

A:

While identifying as bisocial might be a phase or a transition for some people, this does not mean that other people can not alternate between being cool and being a dork, or even embrace both social orientations simultaneously. Sometimes people who initially identify as nerds or dorks later change to identifying as bisocial.

 

Q:

Aren't bisocials just confused? Don't they just need to make up their minds about whether they are cool or complete dorks?

A:

It is well recognized in psychological circles that bisociality is a genuine orientation in-and-of itself. Our society sets up everything in terms of "either/or" scenarios, so bisocials are often thought to be confused because others don't understand dual ("both/and") orientations.

 

Q:

Don't people call themselves bi because they are afraid of the dork or nerd label?

A:

Mainstream society often makes no distinction between dorks, nerds, geeks and bisocials, and lumps them all into one large "dork" category, so trying to gain larger acceptance with a bi label is not, in reality, very effective. Also, identifying as bi can be controversial in dork and nerd circles, rather than an asset. People who identify as bisocial are being honest in refusing to bow to pressure to identify as either cool or dork.

 

Q:

Do bisocials have to be a dork and cool at the same time in order to be satisfied?

A:

No. Some bisocials switch between being cool and being a dork relatively infrequently while others alternate rapidly between the two, but some do exhibit both cool and dorky behaviors simultaneously.

 

Q:

Aren't bisocials hiding behind "heterosocial privilege"?

A:

Nerds and dorks can, and some do, take advantage of heterosocial privilege. However, it is never a privilege to be in a closet, denying part of oneself. Bisocials are vulnerable to the same prejudice as dorks and nerds when pursuing dork activities like role-playing games or recompiling a modified Linux kernel. When they are out having an active social life, bi's are vulnerable to prejudice from the nerd and dork communities. Where is the advantage, the "privilege" here?

 

Q:

Why this DNGB mouthful? Doesn't the simple "dork" label cover everyone?

A:

No. "Dork" refers to a specific type of homosocial. Just as nerds justly fought for an identity that addresses their issues better, bi's are doing the same. While being a proud segment of the larger dork community and sharing many of the larger issues and concerns, bisocials also have issues and concerns unique to bisociality.

 

Q:

Why aren't bisocials more visible?

A:

In this society, it is very easy to miss them. If you see someone hacking on their laptop or hear them discussing a new spell acquired by their 19th level alchemist you might not realize that the same person will be out at a trendy dance club later in the evening. The same is true for a person in a black leather jacket downing a latte at the coffee shop, most people don't consider they just might be mentally reviewing Klingon verb conjugations or planning modifications to their uruk-hai costume for the opening of LOTR:ROTK. As long as people think in terms of "either/or," bisocial invisibility will remain an issue.

 

Q:

So, where's the bisocial community? Where is the bi movement?

A:

You're reading a part of it online right now. While bisocials have always been in society, the bisocial movement is young, but it is growing rapidly. The dork pride movement has helped dorks understand and embrace themselves and their own unique culture, even as dorks have gained greater acceptance and understanding in a larger social context. The same process is now underway for bisocials.

 

Q:

Are there any celebrity bisocials out and about?

 

 

A:

While in general it's not appropriate to 'out' someone who is bisocial but prefers to keep their social interaction paradigm to themselves, it's hard to resist a little kibbitzing about public and historical personas.

Wil Wheaton claims to be "just a geek" but some WWdNers think that he "protests too much" in a show of support for the dork pride movement. Alyson Hannigan, or at least her BtVS alter-ego Willow, heads the A-list of women bisocials. John Lennon has been nominated as "one of the most famous bisocials ever;" John Lennon & Yoko Ono lead the way for bisocial pairs. Other might-be or wanna-be bisocial celebrities include Jeff Goldblum, Elvis Costello, Laurie Anderson, Stephen Hawking, Kalpana Chawla, Bill Joy, Dian Fossey, Neal Gaiman, Rosalind Franklin, Jason McMahon, Peter Jackson, Socrates, Ursula LeGuin, Marcel Duchamp, Richard Feynman, Gertrude Stein and Joss Whedon.

 

show your bi pride!
download these images
and print them back-to-back to express both sides of your social persona

click for larger image

 

credits

Find out about bisexuality by reading the original FAQ from Bi Definition, "a Milwaukee based social, support and activist organization for bisexuals, people questioning their sexual orientation, and their partners, families and friends" which I hope has a sense of humor. Global changes of 'sexual -- social,' 'gay -- dork,' 'lesbian -- nerd,' and 'straight -- cool' with some minor edits resulted in this document.

The original "I am a dork" graphic came from http://spacefem.com/, via my instant friend lizzie.

Jason McMahon,, one of the coolest dorks I know, came up with the term bisocial. Jason also moonlights as a nerd when school is in session.

Feedback for the author or nominations for the list of bisocial celebrities can be sent via this form.