The B Word: Bisexuality in Contemporary Film and Television

Author(s): Maria San Filippo

Non-Fiction | Art | Performing Arts

The B Word explores the ways bisexual fantasy opens a space for "bi-curious" engagement, creating a fluid range of identifications and pleasures. In films as diverse as Brokeback Mountain, The Wedding Crashers, Persona, Chasing Amy, and Mulholland Drive, Maria San Filippo finds that bisexual tropes reveal the workings of our culture's logic of desire.


Viewing these and other films through a bisexual lens, which views subjectivity and eroticism as malleable, The B Word transforms understandings of films previously read exclusively as either homosexual or heterosexual. As San Filippo's analysis of the promotion and popular reception of these films reveals, the entertainment industry both exploits and effaces bisexuality in its appeal to diverse audiences.

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"Maria San Filippo shirks the trouble that often plagues survey-driven monographs by finding precise and acute similarities between the most seemingly disparate films and TV shows, even discussing Louise Brooks and Tila Tequila in the same sentence! Her deft pen is not merely quick, however, as the case studies contained here are long on theory and narrative comprehension (especially a chapter on Wedding Crashers which ranks with my favorite critical case studies of the year). If the book lacks discussion of formal traits within its given objects of study, those shortcomings are easily dismissed with the high level of textual analysis on display." - Clayton Dillard, Slant Magazine

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.

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 Notes; Bibliography; Index

General Fields

  • : 9780253008855
  • : Indiana University Press
  • : Indiana University Press
  • : May 2013
  • : United States
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Paperback
  • : 791.436538
  • : 294
  • : 26 b&w screen grabs
  • : Maria San Filippo