Purple Prose: Bisexuality in Britain by Kate Harrad
|Purple Prose: Bisexuality in Britain by Kate Harrad|
|Category: Politics and Society|
|Reviewer: Andy Heath|
|Summary: A timely, long overdue and thought-provoking insight into bisexuality in Britain today. A must read for all bisexuals, but for the general reader it highlights the misconceptions and prejudice that bisexuals have to face on a daily basis.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: September 2016|
|Publisher: Thorntree Press|
Before reading Kate Harrad's thought provoking insight into bisexuality in Britain I have to confess to being as guilty of the misconceptions surrounding the subject as everyone else. It is only when you read this collection of essays and anecdotes, you realise the prejudice they face on a daily basis. The very nature of bisexuality is widely misunderstood by the heterosexual and gay communities alike. As a result bisexuals find themselves marginalised, or, in the worst-case scenario, completely ostracised. Far from having, the best of both worlds, they are considered to be sitting on the fence, unable to come to terms with their true sexuality. Purple Prose tackles these myths and ill-informed ideas head on, and in the process shows a community that does have many issues, just not the ones that are being laid at their door.
As you read, it becomes apparent that the support available to the bisexual community can be limited. This is a strange paradox. After the discrimination that the gay community has endured, and continues to face, it would be expected that a bisexual would find some empathy within this community. However, while it is true in some cases, it is not as common as you would expect. The book makes it clear that acceptance is difficult to come by, and as a result, bisexual people have much higher rates of mental health problems.
Purple Prose also addresses another widely held misconception about bisexuality. It is that they are highly promiscuous. The perception is of a life of constant bed hopping as they move from partner to partner, and gender to gender. Reading the anecdotes of many of the contributors the issue is sexuality not sex. There is a real distinction between the two. The physical act of sex is completely separate to the issue of sexuality. Your sexuality is the way that you feel. It is whom you are drawn towards and is internal to you. It is perfectly possible to be heterosexual and celibate, and gay and celibate. In the same way, it is perfectly possible to be bisexual and celibate, just as it is possible to be bisexual and only ever had a partner of a different gender. It is about what you feel inside and not a label that is attached based on your actions. The contributors make this point very well and for anyone who is unsure about the mixed up feelings that they have this realisation will be a major step towards understanding themselves.
Purple Prose is an important book. Its publication may be a watershed moment for the bisexual community in Britain. It is ambitious in its scope, and brave in its approach, but what makes it truly important is that it is a beacon for bisexuals. It reaches out to them and says that you are important, you are an individual and your sexuality is a legitimate reflection of you as a person. Be proud of who you are, do not hide; you have a rightful place in this world. It will also give readers from the heterosexual and gay communities an understanding of just how hard it is to be a bisexual in Britain today.
It is very difficult to select any other books to read. Kate Harrad's work is unique so comparison is tricky. However if you enjoy Purple Prose: Bisexuality in Britain, you may also enjoy:
Purple Prose: Bisexuality in Britain by Kate Harrad is in the Top Ten Non-Fiction Books of 2016.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Purple Prose: Bisexuality in Britain by Kate Harrad at Amazon.com.
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