cover image Look Both Ways: Bisexual Politics

Look Both Ways: Bisexual Politics

Jennifer Baumgardner, . . Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $24 (244pp) ISBN 978-0-374-19004-0

Sometimes confused but ultimately insightful, this cultural study pries open that ambiguous can of worms called "sexual choice" and looks at it with eyes wide open. Baumgardner, coauthor of the "third wave feminist" Manifesta , discovered her own bisexuality shortly after graduating from college, when she unexpectedly fell in love with a "girlie girl" co-worker at Ms. magazine, which was, significantly, the first place she "truly saw women without men as being successes, not failures." Her story of how she explored her "urge toward bisexuality as a means to figuring out how to have a satisfying, truly equal and truly intimate relationship" weaves a personal thread through the book. In between, she evokes the heady days of second-wave feminism, lauds Ani DiFranco as the quintessential bisexual of her generation and analyzes the TV heroine Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a powerful, vulnerable, tragic, feminist superhero. Baumgardner controversially argues that bisexuality, especially in younger women, is more widespread than we think, and that recognizing this "could harness the multiplicity of attraction that Kinsey described" and "lead to better relationships, both political and sexual, between men and women." Her insistence that bisexuality has the potential to further the goals of feminism and gay rights challenges the limitations of "gay" and "straight." (Feb.)