Look Both Ways
Bisexual Politics

By Jennifer Baumgardner

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007

“A provocative heads-up.”
–Annie Wagner, The Stranger

In a society supposedly grown more open and accepting in the wake of Stonewall, women’s liberation, and AIDS activism, what can it mean that bisexuality continues to be marginalized by both gay and straight cultures and dismissed as either a phase or, worse, a cop-out? With intimacy and humor, the acclaimed author and activist Jennifer Baumgardner discusses her own experience as a bisexual and the struggle she has undergone to reconcile the privilege she has garnered as a women who is perceived as straight with the empowerment and satisfaction she’s derived from her relationships with women. Part memoir, part pop-culture study, part feminist theory, Look Both Ways is a compelling and current examination of bisexual lives lived secretly and openly and an exploration of the lessons learned by writers, artists, an activists who have refused the either/or paradigm defended by both the gay and straight communities.


Praise for Look Both Ways

“Educational and juicy.”—Beth Greenfield, Time Out New York

“A necessary read for those looking to expand their understanding of both bisexuality and the contributions of Third Wave feminism.”–Rebecca Walker, Bookforum

“Revealing, smart, titillating...Look Both Ways [cuts] straight to the heart of many young women’s fraught relationship to both feminism and their own femininity.”–Jessica Clark, In These Times

“Warm, unpretentious and funny...[Baumgardner’s] arguments for sexual complexity and openness are compelling, as are her claims that bisexual experiences can supply a kind of stereoscopic vision.”–Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow, Salon

“Deserves a spot on every tuned-in woman’s bookshelf.”–Cathi Hanauer, author of Sweet Ruin and editor of The Bitch in the House

“Feminista supreme Jennifer Baumgardner traces the roots of her bisexuality and explores the ways in which it has informed her perspective on politics, activism, writing, feminism, and the world at large. . . Look Both Ways is a sharp, entertaining read. . . It makes for a compelling analysis of what it means to be a women who is neither straight nor gay, neither here nor there, but both.”

–Laura Barcella, Bust

“Lively...A valentine to...the benefits of bisexuality for today’s young women . . . At its dizzying best, it’s an absorbing tale of how discovering her own bisexuality, at 23, changed Baumgardner’s life.”–Susan Comminos, San Francisco Chronicle

“There is no question about it, Look Both Ways...is going to spark the smoldering bisexual debate in the queer and straight communities, launching a new generation of ‘bifeminist’ activists into a call of mobility and visibility.”–Florella Valdesolo, Nylon

“Baumgardners voice remains as compelling as ever, not only because she writes with the candor of your closest friend, but because she herself appears to be learning and questioning along with the reader.”

–Cathi Hanauer, author of Sweet Ruin and editor of The Bitch in the House

“Baumgardner is generally thoughtful and honest, with a refreshing sense of humor about herself and her politics.”–Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow, Salon

“Bisexuality...is not about sexual behavior; it’s about engaging with the world in an inclusive, open way. Baumgardner shines at the center of this book as a titillating, thoughtful, and refreshingly earnest model of that kind of engagement.”–Courtney Martin, Bitch

“Baumgardner does a wise and witty job of figuring out the hidden messages and reading them to us in her deliciously cool and contemporary voice: the one that gives us hope for the feminist future.”–Vivian Gornick

“Reinventing the personal is the political narrative that’s been the staple of feminist writing since the 1960s, [Baumgardner] documents an emerging sexual consciousness that builds on the feminist dream of a better world.”–Tikkun

“Employing telling details from her own and others’ experiences, Baumgardner consistently emphasizes the need for listening to women’s stories rather than focusing on the gender of their sex partners...This significant contribution to sociosexual and gender studies helps build bridges from feminism to the gay rights movement.”–Whitney Scott, Booklist

“Baumgardner...makes plenty of astute observations about the intersection of bisexuality and feminism, particularly how bi women bring ‘gay expectations’ of equality, respect, and sexual fulfillment to their relationships with men." - Ann Friedman, Mother Jones