I tend to focus this blog a lot on books/comics and gluten-free food as of late but, sometimes, important matters need to have attention raised for it as well. Today’s topic is sort of related to books. More so the book community.
So, lately, a lot of reviewers in the book community have been getting upset at other reviewers for pointing out bimisia in books. So much so that some of these reviewers have quit calling out bimisia in books because of how much nasty attention that this got. I just want to address that bisexuals in the LGBT+ community already feel like they don’t belong, and further pushing them away by dismissing their hurt as invalid and not important enough to bring up in a book review is…unnecessary.
Some examples of bimisia (casual and otherwise) in books can be:
- Bisexuals cheat, or are more likely to cheat
- Bisexuals are confused
- Bisexuals are sexually promiscuous
- When love interests or other state that having a bisexual partner increases paranoia due to having “twice as much to worry about”
- That bisexuals are only attracted to women and men
- That bisexuals can only be attracted to two genders
- Bisexuality doesn’t exist
- If you are a woman, than you are only bisexual to attract male attention
- That if you are a bisexual woman, you are really straight
- If you are a bisexual man, you are really gay
- Bisexuals will pick one gender (which ties into “Bisexuals are confused”)
- Bisexuals have it easier than others on the LGBT+ spectrum
These stereotypes are harmful to bisexuals for plenty of reasons. It can make it harder to come by suitable potential partners, who believe bisexuals are sexually promiscuous or cheat (and some are poly and sexually outgoing, but this is down to the person and not the identity). It makes it harder for people to take our identities seriously, and we then become erased – and many of our struggles are already being erased, but being on the LGBT+ spectrum isn’t the Oppression Olympics. Etc, etc.
So, sometimes, these and other stereotypes will come up in books and when you point this out in ARC reviews, it allows the publishers/author to find the review and edit this as they may be unaware that this can be harmful to the bisexual community. In the case of reviews for any edition, it warns readers. Warnings act like yellow lights to protect the reader from being hurt, rather than jumping right into it without expecting it.
I also think people forget what reviewing is for. It’s to tell your audience what you think of a book, for those who have both read it and for those who haven’t. You address what you like and what you didn’t. Bimisia would fall into the “things I didn’t like”. If you have trouble accepting that someone might not agree with everything in your favourite book (excluding marginalized people talking about books with their marginalizations) then maybe you should give reviews of them, even 4 star reviews, a miss.
To summarize – as a bisexual person and a reviewer/blogger of books, I have a responsibility to tell my readers information about the book that may cause them harm. I also feel like I should be honest with people who choose to read what I write/follow me. I don’t want to lie to them and tell them that a book contains no problematic content, and what exactly the problematic content was. It’s really rude and not very nice if you are one of those people who puts other reviewers down for providing a service. If you don’t like those kind of reviews (and even when books are problematic, they can still have 3 or 4 star ratings, and don’t harm the book at all) you should avoid them and read reviews that you do like.
I feel like this is something that needs to be addressed. It’s so sad to see fellow bisexuals being attacked for calling things out that need to be called out. Bisexual feelings matter, too. Bimisia is very real and very harmful. Please don’t erase that.
A mutual of mine on Twitter, Ann, has done several bisexual related blog posts over on her blog if you want to read more on bimisia and bisexuality.
Until next time,
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