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Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  670 ratings  ·  97 reviews
Depicted as duplicitous, traitorous, and promiscuous, bisexuality has long been suspected, marginalized, and rejected by both straight and gay communities alike.

Bi takes a long overdue, comprehensive look at bisexual politics—from the issues surrounding biphobia/monosexism, feminism, and transgenderism to the practice of labeling those who identify as bi as either "too bis
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Paperback, 352 pages
Published July 2nd 2013 by Seal Press (first published May 7th 2013)
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 ·  670 ratings  ·  97 reviews


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Koen Crolla
Nov 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: pol-and-soc
The take-away message of this book is this: bisexuals face all the usual homophobia from heterosexuals, and in addition to that face a distinct biphobia both from heterosexuals and from the gay community, and this needs to be addressed.†
To the extent that Eisner is defending this thesis, Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution is a pretty good book. Unfortunately, she goes off the rails more than a few times.
There are a lot of small issues that I have with the book that don't necessarily affect my w
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Thomas
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great book that delves into bisexual politics and biphobic discrimination. With passion and patience, Shiri Eisner details the various forms of biphobia experienced by the bi community - such as bi erasure and monosexism, just to name a few. She starts by explaining terms such as "genderqueer" and "hypersexualization" to familiarize readers with her radical framework. Then, she discusses the intersectional oppressions that affect bisexual individuals living in a cissexist, heteronormative whit ...more
Thea
Nov 17, 2014 rated it did not like it
entirely apolitical and obsessed with identity politics rather than materialism, the author seems to believe that bisexuals have a complete understand of gay and lesbian experience while gay men and lesbians cannot fathom theirs. They contradict themselves constantly, asserting that bisexuality is its own orientation and not 'half gay, half straight' then says that many bisexual women's experiences are identical to lesbians experience. They lump gay men and lesbians in with straight people to cr ...more
marcus pavilonis
Jun 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: queer
This book is like eating a bucket of cold, store brand oatmeal and every now and then coming across a sugary dinosaur egg that hasn't yet dissolved into the rest of the mush. It had potential, truly, but failed due to Eisner's terribly poor analysis of power dynamics.

Her analysis of "monosexism" is rooted in a very liberal definition of privilege (which is strange, considering she came off as a radical leftist), which fails to recognize that, as coherent to a radical analysis of power structures
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CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian
Are you looking for a smart, accessible introduction to bisexual academic theory, history, and activism? Are you a bisexual/pansexual/omnisexual person who needs an anti-assimilationist kick in the pants? Are you a monosexual (gay or straight) person who wants to learn more about the bisexual people in your life? Look no further than Shiri Eisner’s Bi: Notes for A Bisexual Revolution.

Although my feelings about this book are complicated, for the most part I am happy that it is out there and that
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Penny
May 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
I've been frustrated in my attempts to write my thoughts about this book, largely because it starts well and then goes wildly off the rails. The author opens with discussion of the necessity of radicalism and the ways bisexuality challenges heteropatriarchy. She moves into how women's sexuality is always reframed as being about men and always reinterpreted and reconstructed as being about men's pleasure, including lesbian sexualities. This part of the book is good.

Then she gets into bi women's i
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Rachel
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
The book is interesting. I feel like I know more about the opinions other bisexuals have, but I don't care for them. The author takes the word "ableist" to meanings far beyond the original, which should be hard because I'm disabled. She also comes across as very dogmatic and anti-science, which is frustrating. I don't mind the anarchy, nor the idea of bisexuals embracing being outcasts, but ragging on science for proving that bi men exist is too much.
Akiva
The origin of the extremely bad "monosexual privilege" discourse. Just Say No, kids.
Nina
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, lgbt, i-own
An insightful, amazing book. I've been reading this for an essay I'm writing for university about the representation of bisexual and plurisexual identities on television. I haven't added in "date read" because I have dipped in and out of this book so much, so whilst I feel like I have read it, I haven't read it from front to back so won't include it in my reading challenge.
Frances Haynes
Dec 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
I wish I'd read this book two or three years ago when I was a baby bi -- and when I hadn't read so many excerpts and ideas based on this book on tumblr! I don't agree with everything in the book by a long shot, but I think Eisner's approach is a good one. I will certainly be lending it to a lot of people, and revisiting parts of it.

Favourite Chapters:
Bisexuality, Feminism and Men
Bisexuality and the GGGG Movement

Bit I disagreed with most strongly: monosexism. Most of the arguments I have seen ag
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Caitlin
A must-read for all bisexual people. An education for all monosexual people.

Bi: frames bisexuality in the context of modern attitudes to gender and sexuality, and challenges the preconceptions and prejudice against this misunderstood sexual orientation.

Shiri Eisner writes clearly and coherently, explaining more complex terms in ways that laypeople can understand. Eisner examines in intersections of biphobia and other isms with clarity and compassion.

I wish there was a little more about the way
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Grace
Oct 02, 2013 rated it liked it
I definitely disagreed with a lot of the points made by Eisner but, WOW, was it good to get a scholarly look at bisexuality and activism.
PhebeAnn
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: queer
I really wanted to like this book. I thought I would like this book. I definitely admired some things about this book, but overall, it was a slog. And I feel awful saying that, because I do think Eisner is saying some important things here.

What I didn't like:
- The writing is SO SO dry and clunky. Yikes. It reads like several overly long undergraduate papers by a really keen Women's/Gender Studies student whose ideas haven't caught up to their writing. I know, because I've been there, both as a s
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A.J. Walkley
Jul 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I just finished Shiri Eisner’s Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution and, I must say, I am geared up and ready to make change! Looking back over the book now, I realize I have highlighted almost every single page in this non-fiction call-to-action and will have quite the challenge to synthesize my thoughts into a digestible review. Nevertheless, here we go…

First off, overall I would like to say that this is a definite must-read for not only every bisexual activist, but every bisexual, pansexual, m
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Brandon Will
Sep 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If you came here to look into this book: just read it. Trust me.
If you stumbled upon this, this book is one to seriously consider giving some time to.

It's funny--entering this book, I was preparing to be chastised and told about my privilege (even after glancing at the chapter titles)--internalized bi-phobia is that bad! I fully expected an attack, yet still paid money I can't really afford for this book full price and went into it, because I'm so starved for conversation about this.

It's more th
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Haleigh
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbtqia, girl-power
While I do not begin to agree with everything that this author talks about, I do think that they present a really interesting conversation about bisexuals as a distinct group within the LGBTQ community. It's true that bis are normally lumped in with gays and lesbians, and it is usually assumed that the discrimination that they face and the issues that are important to them are exactly the same, but the topic is actually much more nuanced and subtle than that. This book is one of the first encour ...more
A.
The first chapter or so isn't bad, but then it devolves into "everyone else are jerks (but not us)" after that, to the point where it gets really hard to read, because it's repetitive and it's all sort of the same thing, despite the attempt to make each chapter focus on a different issue. I kind of get the impression that I wouldn't be welcome in her version of the bi community because I'm not queer enough or radical enough (I'm a bi cisgender woman who is married to a man and only recently admi ...more
Danni Green
Sep 03, 2015 rated it liked it
This book started out powerfully, setting the stage to present a ground-breaking radical affirmation and call to action for bisexuals and our allies. I wish that it had accomplished this by taking the reader inside the lives of bisexual people. Instead, it takes a very abstract, theoretical approach, making it a book that is really about bisexual politics, not about bisexuality. The author makes a number of very valuable and interesting points, but those points are mostly lost in a sea of bigger ...more
Simon
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt, non-fiction
Eisner is a lot more radical than I am, but it was still an enjoyable and intelligent read.
Laura
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
I found this book a little disappointing. At first I was intrigued by the history behind the terminology.
Then it went into the ways in which openly bisexuals are stigmatized -which filled a majority of the book, and is reiterated in several following chapters.
Personally I found the material to be dry, because as a bisexual I felt that I could have written the chapter on biphobia, and how our culture fights to keep us invisible.

Overall, I can't say I got much out of this book because a lot of
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Elise
Jan 15, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2016
I was going to give this book two stars, but the more I kept going the more I hated it. While the author says some good things and has some good points, most of them get lost in a book that relies heavily on queer theory while simultaneously addressing itself to an audience unfamiliar with the terms of queer theory (for instance, defining "heteronormativity" in a sidebar). I cannot honestly tell who the audience of this book is.

Full disclosure: I'm not a huge fan of the "your sexuality as radic
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Joshua
Sep 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbtq
Eisner's work in this book is invaluable to anyone trying to understand their place in this hetro-normative cisgender monosexual world, and for her effort in bringing together this work in a field that is ridiculously sparse I have to give her my full praise and credit.

The problem lies with the slightly immature, ill-reasoned approach and deductions made in various passages throughout the book. Many passages I loved, and many I cringed at. This reads like it's a first draft, or first venture int
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Amy Layton
Being what I would consider bisexual myself, this book helped me confront my internalized biphobia. Eisner's book is described to be a radical bisexual manifesto, and I would have to agree wholeheartedly with that notion. Part of what makes this book four stars to me is due to the fact that it is between "Bisexuality 101" and "Graduate Bisexual Studies" (which are categories I literally just made up). This book incorporates a glossary and a trigger warning, both of which I appreciate, and also d ...more
Robert
Mar 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gender-studies
A thorough yet never taxing examination of how bisexuals are repressed in society. Quite an eye-opener, since I personally felt that bisexuals were relatively acknowledged in the society I live (USA and Europe), but in actuality, this 'acknowledgment' is incorrect and discriminating. What I especially like is the book's call to use bisexuality as a means to subvert patriarchy, classism and sexism.
At first I was put off by the title, as I found the term 'bisexual' outmoded: I thought the term pan
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Angélique (Angel)
I must start by saying that it’s so freeing to read a book on queer issues without having to strain myself waiting for a mention of bisexuality and praying that any mention won’t be steeped in biphobia and/or monosexism. Eisner does a phenomenal job describing the state of bisexuality in minority-world (i.e. “Western”) culture, how this affects bisexuals, how this influences the way people interact with us, and how we can use the space bisexuality inhabits in society to subvert oppression in mul ...more
Blair Stackhouse
Jun 30, 2015 rated it did not like it
I'm not finished with the book, but I'm finished reading it. While the book had a chance to be a really interesting look at an often under-researched part of the GLBT community, it doesn't quite make it there.

At best, the book goes over the basic premises too many times - as if the author thinks we cannot understand what she is saying. At worst, it's a bad example of the kind of preachy, vocabulary-heavy kind of writing you see from people who have just taken their first women and gender studie
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Marie-Therese
Jul 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
I'm too old for for Scheiße like this. DNF with prejudice.

(For a genuinely thoughtful review that lays out all the problems with this book see Koen Crolla's eloquent and thorough review of November 12, 2013 below.)
Whitney
Aug 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfic, feminism
Good read. Informative. It helped me understand my own sexuality a bit more, but I don't think I'll be starting a revolution any time soon.
Matthew
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
There is a shelf on the third floor of Central Library in downtown Portland. It contains all of the nonfiction books specifically about bring queer: books about raising your gay teenager, coming out in later life, how to support your partner who is transitioning, and about four books on bisexuality. I have never done anything in my life without reading a book about it first, so I picked out the most relevant of those four books, which was Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution.

It turns out that Bi
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Rebecca Epstein
I do think that this is a must-read for many reasons. It certainly challenged my perceptions of biphobia, how I identify in detail as bisexual, and the insidious and more blatant harm heterosexism has particularly on bisexual people.

I say heterosexism because while Eisner talks "monosexism," and that is a valid term in certain situations, her Monosexism Checklist spans rather broad. There are quite a number of qualifications that can also extend to asexual or other queer people. The risk of not
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AfterEllen.com Bo...: Bi: Introduction through Chapter Two. 3 46 May 15, 2014 03:50PM  
AfterEllen.com Bo...: Bi: Chapters Six through Eight. 1 20 Apr 07, 2014 09:43PM  
AfterEllen.com Bo...: Bi: Chapters Three through Five. 1 15 Apr 07, 2014 09:42PM  

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Shiri Eisner is a feminist bisexual and genderqueer activist, writer, and researcher. She resides in Tel Aviv, Israel, where she founded and currently heads the grassroots bisexual organization, Panorama—Bi and Pansexual Feminist Community. She is currently pursuing her MA in Gender Studies while keeping involved with various political movements, including Mizrahi, feminist, queer, disability, ani ...more

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In these strange days of quarantine and isolation, books can be a mode of transport. We may have to stay home and stay still, but through t...
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“It means understanding that different kinds of oppression are interlinked, and that one can't liberate only one group without the others. It means acknowledging kyriarchy and intersectionality - the fact that along different axes, we're all both oppressed and oppressors, privileged and disprivileged.” 10 likes
“I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge that I have in myself the potential to be attracted—romantically and/or sexually—to people of more than one sex, and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.” 5 likes
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