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Closer to Home: Bisexuality and Feminism (Women's Studies/Gay Studies) [Paperback]

Elizabeth Reba Weise


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Book Description

27 Jan 1993 Women's Studies/Gay Studies
In this dynamic anthology of 22 essays by and about women who are bisexual, the unifying element is its focus on the crucial intersections between ideology and reality. Deeply reasoned and passionately felt, the essays speak to many who wonder where they fit in today's society and its sexual politics.

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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A veritable garden of insights. 18 Nov 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The variety of submissions which made this book possible also make it extremely accessible to the reader. The book details in depth the stories of several bisexual women, and how they deal with their dual nature. It won't douse you with theory, or entice you with too short personal accounts of discovering bisexuality. Instead, you read real stories of real women who fight a powerful fight to claim their sexuality with both hand and heart in the battle.
3.0 out of 5 stars Good framework for a book, but left me wanting more 4 April 2006
By One More Option - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The introduction lays out a great framework for a book, but the book did not achieve all that I hoped it would achieve.

From the introduction: "Bisexuality is about choice. About living out the consequences of loving and desiring people of either sex . . . There's no model, nothing to point to in our common cultural background that supports or even explains what it feels like to fall in lust or love or both with women and men . . . A bisexual-feminist perspective embraces the reality that sexuality can be a fluid and changeable part of being human . . . Our arms are unaccustomed to opening so wide. But for bisexual women that embrace is more honest. It means confronting culturally prescribed notions of duality and conflict . . . To be a bisexual-feminist woman means to live an intensely examined life . . . In these writings, and in our lives, we are rejecting the rule set out for us, the rule that says, "Choose only one." We are redefining the world and demanding to be accepted on our own terms. We are creating a place to come home to."

And Ruth Gibian's first essay is exceptional, "She thought I'd be interested to know that she's been doing work lately, artistic and personal, on healing false dichotomies. On finding connections and patterns between ideas that have been artificialy posed as opposites. On seeing nature, for example, not as separate from us, not as out there, but as inclusive - we are of it it is of us. There is no boundary. In this process, she has found in herself a part that doesn't want to exclude men as potential partners. Inclusion. Discovering oneness where we believed there was polarity. Healing false dichotomies."

There are good moments, like Dvora Zipkin's opening "A woman gets on a plane, and a man sits down next to her. They spend the entire flight talking and make an intense connection . . . The problem is, the woman identifies as a lesbian. So, when they land and the man asks if he may have her telephone number, she says, "No." He is shocked; he asks her, "Why not? . . ." And she answers, "Because you don't fit into my life. And I don't know where to put you in my life."

And I appreciated Rebecca Shuster's comment, "Identity is a set of beliefs, not the immutable contents of a person's soul."

But the vast majority of the book was not particularly insightful or novel. I wanted to like the book. I wanted the book to give the reader (bi-sexual or not) a sense that the essay writers were explaining how their choice to be bi-sexual made them feel more calm, happy, and at peace - more "Closer to Home" as the title suggested. But like too many anthologies like this one - the contributions are either too theoretical & detached from personal experience, or on the opposite extreme, when the contributions are personal, the personal accounts are not particularly inviting or artistically expressed. For most of the contributors, the choice to identify as bisexual does appear to be more true, or undeniable. I just wanted more from the book - so maybe I'll have to read more books on this topic. And maybe that is consistent with the search for identity as explained in the book. If you can't find your answer in one source or one definition, maybe it's time to read more and expose yourself to more ideas.
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