Contributing writer for The Artifice.
Junior Contributor I
The Staying Power of The Secret History
The Secret History, by Donna Tartt, became an instant classic when it was first published in 1992. Though it is primarily set in the 1980s, the story has a dreamy, timeless quality. To read it at a still impressionable young-adult age feels like a rite of passage. On the surface, it is a captivating murder mystery about a clique of Classics students at an idyllic New England college. But to stop there would be to sell the book short. Examine the potent combination of factors that have elevated The Secret History to its iconic status. In my estimation these include the introspective, romantic narration reminiscent of that of Victorian novels; the bittersweet, melancholic tone; and Tartt’s subtle sense of humor. These elements work in concert to ensure that this well-constructed, well-paced mystery leaves a lasting emotional impression.
Depictions of Bisexuality in Television/Film
Bisexual people are criminally underrepresented in mainstream media. Bisexuality is often referred to flippantly or treated as a joke, if mentioned at all. But what about the bisexual characters that do exist? How are they portrayed and how does their sexuality factor into their characterization? Examples include Frank Underwood from House of Cards and Oberyn Martell from Game of Thrones. For these two characters, bisexuality seems to be an extension of their personalities (Frank’s greed and hunger for power–he uses sexuality to control people; Oberyn’s hedonism and laissez-faire attitude–there is also the issue of racist stereotypes at work here). Other series with bisexual characters include Orange is the New Black and Pretty Little Liars.
Another concern: when are we going to call a spade a spade in reference to bisexual characters? Why do writers refuse to actually use the word "bisexual"? Only ever having characters describe themselves/others as being "fluid" sexually, or providing vague descriptions ("I like what I like," etc.) is a cop-out.
What’s at stake here? Increased (and better) representation of bisexuality in television and film is necessary. It is vital that bisexual people (especially young people) be able to see and identify with characters like themselves. Being able to see oneself in a fictional character can be comforting and empowering. Increased visibility will help bisexual people feel less marginalized and assure them that their identities are valid.