The B Word

The B Word

Bisexuality in Contemporary Film and Television
Maria San Filippo
Distribution: World
Publication date: 04/12/2013
Format: Paperback 26 b&w screen grabs
ISBN: 978-0-253-00885-5
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2013 Slant Magazine Top Ten Books, Film Studies Winner 2014 Lambda Book Awards, bisexual nonfiction

Often disguised in public discourse by terms like "gay," "homoerotic," "homosocial," or "queer," bisexuality is strangely absent from queer studies and virtually untreated in film and media criticism. Maria San Filippo aims to explore the central role bisexuality plays in contemporary screen culture, establishing its importance in representation, marketing, and spectatorship. By examining a variety of media genres including art cinema, sexploitation cinema and vampire films, "bromances," and series television, San Filippo discovers "missed moments" where bisexual readings of these texts reveal a more malleable notion of subjectivity and eroticism. San Filippo's work moves beyond the subject of heteronormativity and responds to "compulsory monosexuality," where it's not necessarily a couple's gender that is at issue, but rather that an individual chooses one or the other. The B Word transcends dominant relational formation (gay, straight, or otherwise) and brings a discursive voice to the field of queer and film studies.

Author Bio

Maria San Filippo has taught film and television studies, and gender and sexuality studies, at MIT, Harvard University, UCLA, and Wellesley College. Her work has appeared in the journals CineAction, Cineaste, English Language Notes, Film History, In Media Res, Journal of Bisexuality, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, and Senses of Cinema and the anthologies Global Art Cinema and Millennial Masculinity: Men in Contemporary American Cinema.


“Charting representations of bisexuality--ever present, hardly discussed--in films from Pandora’s Box to Persona to Brokeback Mountain and television’s True Blood, Maria San Filippo proves that there is plenty of room left in that celluloid closet. Her knowledge is comprehensive; her writing is astute and witty (she points out that Brokeback Mountain is not about gay cowboys, but bisexual shepherds), and her love of film comes through on every page. The B Word is essentially for film scholars, everyone interested in queer studies, and anyone who just likes movies. ”
 — Michael Bronski, author of A Queer History of the United States

“Maria San Filippo argues convincingly that bisexuality should not be entirely subsumed under the heading of queer studies, but deserves to be as legitimate an object of scholarly attention as gay and lesbian studies. Her argument is provocative and thoughtful.”
 — Tania Modleski, author of Loving with a Vengeance: Mass Produced Fantasies for Women

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Table of Contents

Prologue: Chasing Amy and Bisexual (In)visibility
Introduction: Binary Trouble and Compulsory Monosexuality
1. Unthinking Monosexuality: Bisexual Representability in Art Cinema
2. Power Play/s: Bisexuality as Privilege and Pathology in Sexploitation Cinema
3. Of Cowboys and Cocksmen: Bisexuality and the Contemporary Hollywood Bromance
4. Bisexuality on the Boob Tube
Conclusion: Queer/ing Bisexuality

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