It’s an ongoing issue in business, “raised until the strides of women in business match the gaits of their male counterparts…they still contribute less than 4% of all public and private business revenues — about the same share as in 1997” (Inverso). The concern was addressed on Fortune.com recently, too: “I oversee the team that puts together the Fortune 40 Under 40 list,” writes Leigh Gallagher. “And for as long as we’ve been doing it, the topic of the number of women on the list—specifically, the lack thereof—has been an issue” (Gallagher). Even when women do make the cut, many of us can’t help but notice they’re still mostly surrounded by men.
These discussions concentrate on Nin’s diaries to such an extent, except for a few dedications, that scholarly mention of her erotica is often brief or limited. In the article “Discourse and Intercourse, Design and Desire in the Erotica of Anaïs Nin,” Kamboureli claims that “the differences between erotica and pornography, as Nin is implicitly aware, make Delta of Venus and Little Birds more pornographic than erotic… In this respect, Erotica…is a misleading index of their contents” (144). Kamboureli goes on to state that “Nin feels that by writing pornography her reputation as a literary writer is at stake,” and by composing the “Preface” she “exonerates herself socially” (146). However, this interpretation of Nin’s intent is narrow. Nin’s erotic gaze carries much more meaning in the realm of modernist aesthetics than has been previously considered by scholars . To fully understand this, it is necessary to establish what makes Nin’s work erotica rather than pornography. In A Hypersexual Society: Sexual Discourse, Erotica, and Pornography in America, Kenneth C. W. Kammeyer asserts “it has not been possible for us to escape the conclusion that both pornography and erotica are—like beauty—in the eye of the beholder. This leads to the conclusion that whenever sexual materials are viewed positively (for whatever reason) they are labeled as erotica, whereas sexual materials that are viewed negatively (again, for whatever reason) are labeled as pornography (14). Kammeyer’s stance is appropriate for this article, as it will show how Nin’s aesthetic gaze transforms the most explicit material into something more than pornography.
Clearly, Hamilton’s inclusion of bisexuality in her series is hardly radical. It plays a significant role, however, in character relations throughout the series, as well as in the development of sexuality in the larger scope of vampire literature. Its sizeable presence calls for a close academic examination, which is precisely what this article will do. In Vice Versa: Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life, Marjorie Garber evaluates nearly all elements of the bisexual lifestyle, culture, politics, science, and the erotic. She states that bisexuality is a “fluid identity,” that to many “connotes promiscuity, immaturity, or wishy-washiness” (40). In research and examination of the term Ronald C. Fox claims, “The designation bisexual has been used as a descriptive term to refer to individuals with heterosexual and homosexual attractions or relationships, just as the designations gay and lesbian have referred to individuals with homosexual attractions or relationships” (86). Some view individuals that claim “bisexuality” as those simply choosing not to label themselves. Either way, the term “bisexual” indicates an individual who is sexually attracted to, and has the ability to become romantically involved or fall in love with both men and women. Bisexuality is the source of much confusion, and personal and social strife, for many individuals on both ends of the hetero and homosexual spectrum. As Fox states, “One misconception is that bisexuality is only a transition on the way to either exclusive homosexuality or heterosexuality. Another is that bisexuals are in denial…The impact of these stereotypes has been that many bisexual men and women feel marginal to both the heterosexual and homosexual communities (94). Hamilton’s vampire fiction offers excellent and intriguing portrayals of this confusion.
Copyright © 2016 by Erin Dunbar
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