15 movies with bi characters or themes

In bisexual communities, we often talk about the lack of bisexual representations in books, TV and movies. While there’s much to say about bisexual erasure from culture and the media, I think there’s also a lot of value to reading texts bisexually – finding a glimpse or an aspect to embrace, a loose thread that we can pull and unwind, and perhaps creating our own yarn, our own story. Maybe the characters and the stories we read were not intended to be bisexual, perhaps they were but were represented negatively, perhaps bisexuality isn’t even a part of the plot but can still be detected underneath, in the subtext.

Whichever way we look at it, finding these texts and thinking about them can be amazingly helpful for us. We can choose to see our own reflections there, and see that we are not truly isolated or eradicated (as so many of us feel). We can feel validated, we can see that we exist, and we can use these stories and characters to say things about ourselves – to reclaim our erased existence, to critique representations, and to create yet another way to speak about our experiences using our own words.

Between the years 2008-2011 I ran a bisexual film club by the name of B-Movies. Each meeting we showed a film with a bisexual theme, or a character that could be read as bisexual. Before the movie, we would have a 20-minute lecture attempting to expose the bisexual story, to put a bisexual lens to the text.

Here is a list of some of the movies we showed in the club (in no particular order). I hope they could be a useful resource for anyone looking for movies with bisexual themes, or that allow bisexual readings. Click the images for IMDB.

IMPORTANT: Please be aware that most of these movies are politically problematic in some ways, and that some might contain triggering content. Please read the IMDB information before watching, and make sure you only watch triggering content if you feel you are able to handle it, and in a time and place where you feel safe.

Shortbus // John Cameron Mitchell // 2006

shortbus_ver3_xlg Continue reading

A brief history of the term “monosexuality”

(I’ve been asked this elsewhere and thought others might find it helpful.)

This post on tumblr

The modern use of the word “monosexual” was invented along with “bisexual” by European scientists in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Back then, “bisexual” meant having a combination of male and female anatomical features, or a lack of sexual differentiation between male and female anatomy. “Monosexual” meant clear differentiation between male and female anatomical traits. Later, when bisexuality came to mean “having masculine and feminine psychological traits” (which is how Freud used it), “monosexuality” meant having the psychological traits of one “sex”. Under that framework, bisexuality also came to be understood as a form of attraction: it was presumed that people who had the anatomical sexual traits of “both sexes” also had “male and female” psychological traits, which meant that they also were attracted to “both sexes”. It was assumed that their “male side” desired females, while their “female side” desired males. Under this definition, “monosexual” meant someone with clear anatomical and psychological “male” or “female” traits, who is attracted to one “sex”. Note that they didn’t at all differentiate between sex, gender and sexuality. These were all considered as one and the same.They also used gender-binary language. Continue reading

Thoughts about the goal of the bisexual movement

(Written in a discussion on the Bi Tumblr group on facebook. I wanted to post it here because people might find it helpful).

I think acceptance and tolerance are important, and I also support the idea of addressing material oppression of bis. However, I also differ somewhat in my views, since I like thinking about bisexual politics in the most expanse way that I can.

When asked, I always define the goal of the bi movement (that I want/promote) on three levels:

The first level is the one you all addressed here (from a different perspective, though) – liberation of bi people (I use “bi” here as an umbrella term). By this I don’t mean acceptance and tolerance – these terms imply that we are asking to be accepted and tolerated (presumably by straight people), which is problematic because it seems to be deferring to an existing power rather than challenging it. So when I say “liberation of bi people”, I mean attacking all of the structures that help maintain the oppression of bis – challenging and tearing down monosexism as part of a struggle to free ourselves of biphobic/monosexist oppression. Continue reading

What my new book is about

So, I know a lot of people have been curious about my new book (which isn’t officially out yet, but is on pre-sale!). Since it still doesn’t have a “look inside” feature, I figured I could put chapter summaries here, so that you could have more of an idea of what the book is actually about.

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Introduction

The introduction gives background about the book, about me and my reasons for writing. It also includes important background material for reading the book, such as the difference between liberal and radical, the relation I see between theory and activism, an explanation about trigger warning, and other things you should keep in mind while reading. Continue reading

The difference between monosexism and biphobia

X-posted from tumblr, because I think people might find this helpful.

Re: monosexism and biphobia. Do you use these words interchangeably? I notice more and more people are treating the two as synonymous and it doesn’t really sit right with me.

 

Personally, I don’t.

But before I answer, I have to clarify something first, because a lot of people seem to think I invented the word “monosexism”: So, while this is incredibly flattering, the fact is I didn’t. This word has been in use in bisexual movements from the 1990s or even earlier. I’m willing to take credit for popularizing it on tumblr, though :p

Now to my answer: Continue reading

One huge clarification – monosexual privilege, gays and lesbians

X-posted from Tumblr.

(What is this about?)

This is really upsetting. It appears that the idea that biphobia originates from gay and lesbian communities is so deeply ingrained in bisexual* communities many people are incapable of thinking outside it.

To make myself clear: THE IDEA OF MONOSEXISM MEANS THAT IT’S A WIDESPREAD STRUCTURE. IT MEANS IT DOES NOT ORIGINATE IN GAY AND LESBIAN COMMUNITIES. GAYS AND LESBIANS ARE NOT OUR OPPRESSORS (though they may well cooperate with this structure).

Here’s a snippet from my book to help explain. It is part of a much longer criticism of this idea (some parts bolded for emphasis):

The stance that bisexuals are only oppressed as a result of homophobia and lesbophobia erases the need for a unique bisexual liberation struggle and places bisexuals as mere “halfway” appendages to the gay and lesbian movement.

[. . .]

Considering the fact that the overwhelming majority of biphobia and monosexism originates not from gay and lesbian communities, but from heterosexual structures, it seems like the bisexual movement, as a whole, is all-too-focused on the wrong aspect. This overwhelming focus on gay and lesbian biphobia creates a false impression that, as a commentator recently put on my blog, “[bisexuals are] perfectly justified saying we get worse treatment in the gay community [than in straight ones]”. In turn, this notion contributes to the belief that bisexuals do not, in fact, experience (as much?) oppression by the heterosexual society, as well as sprouting the belief that our “real problem” lies with not within heteropatriarchy, but within gay and lesbian communities (that is, scapegoating).

My book is now available for pre-order on Amazon!

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Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution

Book Description

Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Depicted as duplicitous, traitorous, and promiscuous, bisexuality has long been suspected, marginalized, and rejected by both straight and gay communities alike.

Bi takes a long overdue, comprehensive look at bisexual politics—from the issues surrounding biphobia/monosexism, feminism, and transgenderism to the practice of labeling those who identify as bi as either “too bisexual” (promiscuous and incapable of fidelity) or “not bisexual enough” (not actively engaging romantically or sexually with people of at least two different genders). In this forward-thinking and eye-opening book, feminist bisexual and genderqueer activist Shiri Eisner takes readers on a journey through the many aspects of the meanings and politics of bisexuality, specifically highlighting how bisexuality can open up new and exciting ways of challenging social convention.

Informed by feminist, transgender, and queer theory, as well as politics and activism, Bi is a radical manifesto for a group that has been too frequently silenced, erased, and denied—and a starting point from which to launch a bisexual revolution.