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Straight Expectations Paperback – 26 Jun 2014

3.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Guardian Books; Main edition (26 Jun. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1783560002
  • ISBN-13: 978-1783560004
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 451,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

In Straight Expectations, journalist and political activist Julie Bindel explores what it means to be gay in today's world.

About the Author

Julie Bindel is a freelance journalist and feminist activist. She is the co-founder of Justice for Women and tweets under@bindelj


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have mixed feelings about this book, hence just 3 stars.
The author's main targets for criticism are patriarchy, marriage and commercialism along with the disappearance of radical feminism. As a gay man I can't comment with any certainty about feminism, though I thoroughly deplore patriarchy.
Julie had a great deal to say that is worthwhile about the negative aspects of patriarchy, but criticises just about everything about modern gay life without effectively setting out the alternatives.
Julie frequently draws an obscure link between some positive development and some vaguely related lack of progress in a way that suggests the positive development is in fact holding us back and contributing to the maintenance of patriarchy.
For example, on p.151 she says, " ... how depressing it is that there are still barely any positive lesbian role models in the media and arts, yet there we are in a bank commercial."
I think it's great that lesbians and gay men are appearing in adverts and hopefully this will encourage a greater representation in the media and arts, though we are not actually doing too badly in these areas.
After complaining about the lack of positive lesbian role models, Julie then makes a contradictory statement on p.177, "Another change we have seen in recent years is the idea of gay role models, who many gay people seem to believe will magically rid us of all bigotry."
I believe that gay role models are there mainly for young people who need to know that they can be gay, happy and successful and to encourage them to defy the bullies and not be driven to despair and suicide.
Julie then proceeds on several pages to criticise various "role models" presumably because they are not her kind of role model.
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Format: Paperback
As a straight, white, middle class man, I'm probably on a hiding to nothing writing this at all, but here goes anyway. Julie Bindel is an old school political lesbian, whose definition of homosexuality goes way beyond being sexually attracted to your own gender. Really she has not got over the heady days when people like her saw themselves - and were seen by some of those they opposed most bitterly - as out to change the world by overturning patriarchy (one of the stupidest terms still used, IMHO). She is deeply saddened to see gays and lesbians accepted in society, allowed to marry and even becoming Tory voters or, worse still, Tory MPs.

I might have some sympathy, except that her definitions are wrong to begin with and her expectations were unrealistic at best. Most gays and lesbians, like most straight people, want to belong and to be left to enjoy their lives. They are not intrinsically better or worse people. The idea that this form of sexuality necessarily goes with radicalism is and always was daft. And often Bindel comes across as a nasty, bitter old trout, stripping anything down to its lowest common denominator: marriage becomes the wedding followed by the right to a weekly argument in Ikea, parenthood 'wiping childrens' arses'. Yeah, well it wasn't my favourite part of the job, Julie, but even so, there's more to it than that. And since when has being happily married stopped anyone from being politically committed who was committed before?

There is some cogent analysis here, especially where she marshals the argument against the existence of a gay gene, arguing that this actually plays into the hands of homophobic bigots. (The jury is indeed out on that one, but the trouble with Bindel is that politics will trump science no matter what.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bindel seems to enjoy glorifying the fight for gay rights by lesbians whilst tarnishing the efforts of gay men. It would have been a more appropriate read had she framed the book solely from a lesbian perspective.
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A very interesting read! I disagree with A LOT of what Bindel has to say, but I appreciate that it made me challenge my own way of thinking. The feminist perspective on things was also of great interest as that is another field of social justice in which I have an interest. Although the book did at times seem as though Bindel was being controversial for the sake of being controversial, like when suggesting women should choose to be lesbians as a middle finger to the patriarchy. That was a really silly moment in the book.
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Format: Paperback
Just heard Julie Bindel speaking about her new book at the South Bank, and, despite her characteristically controversial approach, the audience response was surprisingly enthusiastic. Many of the ideas/opinions expressed here will be new to a younger or newer generation of lesbians and gay men, and it's good for these to be aired at a time when we might be at risk of thinking that the nature/nurture debate about sexuality/sexual orientation had been closed down, or hijacked by those with an anti-feminist agenda. In particular, Julie's stance against the pursuit of a 'gay gene', in a climate of acceptance of evolutionary biology, is a warning to those who think that the success of the sensible agenda, and the increase in examples of gay acceptance/assimiliation is a triumph against sexism and homophobia. As Paul Burston said in his introduction, Julie has offended someone by the time she wakes up in the morning, and this book will doubtlesss offend many traditional allies as well as enemies - but if that engenders a debate, bring it on...
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