To celebrate the release of our new Pulp issue, I dredged up a handful of pulpy 1960s bottom-of-the-barrel paperbacks from a Portland vintage store. I'll be bringing three of these long-forgotten titles back to light this week.
Today's title: The Bisexual Revolution (subtitle: Sex with man or woman... it's all the same to these broad-minded insatiables!)
This tepid installation of the longest-running movie franchise in history still peddles woman's bodies as disposable, continues the tradition of white-valued imperialism, and features a mark of homophobia. Shocked? You shouldn't be.
It has been a privilege and pleasure to write for Bitch for the last eight weeks. Thanks to Kelsey and Kjerstin for all of their support, and thank you to everyone who read, commented on, and shared my posts. As a long-time Bitch fan, I've felt honored to share this space with you and participate in much-needed conversations about the state of bisexual visibility in the media.
When I was 11, I saw the trailer for Chasing Amy. I don't remember why it caught my attention—I didn't recognize the actors, and I don't think I consciously knew what it was about. It certainly wasn't targeted toward 11-year-olds, so I'm not even sure where I saw the ad. But something in my gut told me that this was a movie I needed to see. It was the first time I experienced such a strong, immediate response to a movie, let alone a trailer.
I've spent the majority of this series discussing bisexual visibility (and lack thereof) in film and television. This isn't an accident—I'm a filmmaker and cinephile, so my passions and cultural points of reference tend to fall within the realm of audio-visual media. But these types of media have some significant flaws, the biggest one being that they tend to create isolating viewing experiences. Unless you're a media producer yourself (which usually involves some degree of economic, racial, or cultural privilege), it's entirely possible that you will rarely see images which reflect your experiences. If you're watching something on the big or small screen, you have to accept the reality being presented to you, even if such a reality is counter to what you know to be true. It's also difficult to interact with this kind of media—if a TV show makes you angry, yelling at the set or throwing popcorn may feel cathartic, but it doesn't usually result in concrete change.
But this is where newer forms of media, like social media, come in.
Straight women: would you ever date a bisexual man? Do you think that bisexual men are more likely to spread STDs than straight men? Do you think that bisexual men are more feminine than straight men? These questions have preoccupied writer and filmmaker Arielle Loren's work for the last few years. After falling in love with a bisexual man, Loren developed The Bi-deology Project, a two-part web series exploring straight women's perceptions of bisexual men, particularly in the context of romantic relationships. The series has since inspired a feature-length documentary, Bideology, which will be premiering at film festivals this spring.
One of the best parts of writing for Bitch has been hearing from folks who read the series, particularly when they recommend media I've never seen before. Such is the case with Rose By Any Other Name, a web series that recently finished its second season. Produced by Kyle Schickner of FenceSitter Films, the series follows Rose, a woman coming to terms with her bisexuality after falling in love with a man, Anthony (played by Schickner). The episodes chronicle Rose's relationship with Anthony as she struggles to find a way to talk about her identity with her lesbian friends, the new acquaintances she's met in a bisexual support group, and Anthony himself. The show is incredibly funny and emotional, but most importantly, it's honest.
In the comments of Wednesday's post, Anita pointed out that Queer As Folk is not the only Showtime program that struggles in its depiction of bisexuality. When discussing depictions of biphobia in the gay community, one can't avoid The L Word. The difference between the shows as I see it, however, is that if Queer As Folk suffers from bi invisibility, The L Word suffers from straight-up bi loathing. Rather than giving you a play-by-play of every epic bi fail (if you're interested in that, After Ellen has a comprehensive list), I want to focus on one particular episode—one that deals with bisexuality and straight privilege.