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ERIC Number: EJ1080252
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Dec
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0045-6713
Neither Very Bi nor Particularly Sexual: The Essence of the Bisexual in Young Adult Literature
Kneen, Bonnie
Children's Literature in Education, v46 n4 p359-377 Dec 2015
This article examines four prominent young adult novels about bisexual protagonists: Julie Anne Peters's "It's Our Prom (So Deal With It)" (2012), Brent Hartinger's Double Feature: "Attack of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies/Bride of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies" (2007), Lili Wilkinson's "Pink" (2009), and Sara Ryan's "Empress of the World" (2001). Defining bisexuality in terms of gender-plural sexual desire, it argues that narratives about bisexuals may impose essentializing identities, which resignify and redefine bisexuality through the use of stereotypes and the evasion of the sexuality and plurality of bisexual desire. By doing this, Peters and Hartinger, who represent the ideological middle ground in such narratives, ironically sustain the invisibility of bisexuality that they ostensibly resist. Of the novels by Wilkinson and Ryan, Wilkinson's "Pink" is the most stereotypical and evasive example, while Ryan's "Empress of the World", at the other extreme, manages to avoid essentializing bisexuality, seeing it in terms of plural desires. If narratives of bisexuality are to help bisexual teenagers interpret their plural desires and fill the bisexual spaces or gaps in their worlds, it is argued that this necessitates a shift towards approaches, like Ryan's, that recognize the variety and individuality of these teenagers.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A