Having it Both Ways: Bisexualities/bi-textualities and Contemporary Crossover Cinema

Having it Both Ways: Bisexualities/bi-textualities and Contemporary Crossover Cinema

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This dissertation argues that bisexual erotics and subjectivities play key roles in film form, spectatorship, and media industry practices. Surveying the past five decades of Hollywood cinema (Basic Instinct, Black Widow, Single White Female), independent films (Chasing Amy, Foxfire, Girl, Interrupted), art cinema (Les Biches, Mulholland Drive, Holy Smoke, Persona, Vagabond), and sexploitation films (The Craft, female vampire films, Wild Things ), I identify a set of archetypes embodying cultural beliefs and anxieties about female bisexuality. The rich bitch analogizes socioeconomic and so-called bisexual privilege. The hippie chick explores bisexuality as an alternative value/lifestyle by associating it with the bohemian counter-culture. The (un)committed woman confronts the stereotype of bisexual promiscuity through the metaphor of mental pathology. And the dreamgirl negotiates the fantasy/nightmare of bisexual subjectivity by adopting personae that allow for gendered and ethnoracial passing. My concept of bi-textuality describes how these archetypes are articulated through analogous transgressions of social norms around class, race/ethnicity, mental health, and gender roles. I also explore bisexuality's intersections with feminist and race theories and with alternative identity formations (transgender, BDSM, disability). As the first steps in constructing a corresponding taxonomy of male bisexual imagery, I conclude with a foray into contemporary Hollywood buddy films ( Broke back Mountain, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Wedding Crashers), positing that the recent revitalization of this most homosocial of narrative structures reflects cultural renegotiations of heteromasculinity and family values in the wake of public debates over same-sex marriage. I also show how film production and marketing strategies use bisexuality to appeal to mainstream and marginal(ized) audiences, and how we as spectators and social subjects respond in fluid and unpredictable ways. Revealing how cinematic processes of identification, fantasy, and visual pleasure indicate our engagement with a bisexual logic of subjectivity and desire, my research suggests that we can and already do transcend what I term compulsory monosexuality (on the model of the queer theoretical concept qcompulsory heterosexualityq).choice was made to cast Joey Lauren Adams, a petite blonde with a Minnie Mouse voice and decidedly femme stylings. Chasing Amya#39;s creators may thus be accused of complicity in dominant cinemaa#39;s reliance on safely gender-conforming depictions of queer women, but Alyssaa#39;s ... from the fairly vague hints given in the filma#39;s trailer (aquot;She just needs the right guyaquot;) and tagline (aquot;Ita#39;s not who you love.

Title:Having it Both Ways: Bisexualities/bi-textualities and Contemporary Crossover Cinema
Author:Maria San Filippo
Publisher:ProQuest - 2007


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