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Lesbian & Bisexual Identities
     

Lesbian & Bisexual Identities

5.0 3
by Kristin Esterberg
 

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This book examines  the stories of lesbian and bisexual women in a Northeast community who share who they are, how they have come to see themselves as lesbian or bisexual, and what those identities mean to them. Drawing on social constructionist approaches to identity, Kristin G. Esterberg argues that identities are multiple and contingent. Created within the

Overview

This book examines  the stories of lesbian and bisexual women in a Northeast community who share who they are, how they have come to see themselves as lesbian or bisexual, and what those identities mean to them. Drawing on social constructionist approaches to identity, Kristin G. Esterberg argues that identities are multiple and contingent. Created within the context of specific communities and within specific relationships, lesbian and bisexual identities are ways  of sorting through experiences of desires and attractions, relationships, and politics. Their meanings change over time as women grow older and have more varied experiences, as the communities and sociopolitical worlds in which they live change, and as their life circumstances alter.

In interviews conducted over a four-year time period, women describe the lesbian community they live in; how they see its structure, its social groups, its informal rules and norms for behavior; and their places inside -- or on the margins of -- the community. Lesbian and Bisexual Identities reveals how women fall in and out of love, how they "perform" lesbian or bisexual identity through clothing, hairstyle, body language, and talk, and many other aspects typically not considered. The women present a variety of accounts. Some consider themselves "lesbian from birth"  and have constructed their lives accordingly, while others have experienced significant shifts in their identities, depending on the influences of feminism, progressive politics, the visibility of the lesbian community, and other factors.

Esterberg offers vivid accounts that defy the stereotypes so commonly offered. Lesbian and Bisexual Identities not only presents women's stories in their own words, it moves beyond storytelling to understand how these accounts resonate  with social science theories of identity and community.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
These two books are so similar as to be interchangeable; the only significant difference is that one study was done on the West Coast and the other on the East. Stein (sociology, Univ. of Oregon) interviewed 30 women in the San Francisco area, while Esterberg (sociology and director of women's studies, Univ. of Missouri, Kansas City) interviewed 43 women in an unidentified Northeast community. Focusing on the integration of feminism, antiracism, and social justice with lesbian lives, both discussions are fascinating, and their portrayal of lesbian identity as changeable and fluid is valuable. Although the word bisexual does not appear in Stein's title, her focus on bisexual women is easily as strong as Esterberg's. And Stein's discussion of separatists may be patronizing when she suggests that "separatism would give the lifelong lesbian some insurance that women she became involved with would not leave her for men." Despite these minor flaws, these are both important contributions. Recommended for academic libraries, especially those supporting lesbian, gay, and bisexual studies.Pauline Klein, DeKalb Cty. P.L., Decatur, Ga.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781439904428
Publisher:
Temple University Press
Publication date:
06/25/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
216
Sales rank:
979,619
File size:
360 KB

Meet the Author

Kristin G. Esterberg is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Director of Women's Studies at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. She is the author of numerous articles on the social construction of gay and lesbian identities.

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Lesbian & Bisexual Identities 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
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