Appropriate Behavior

Call For Writers: Bisexual Erasure and Representation


People who identify as bisexual are part of an often maligned group. Both straight and queer community members frequently express discomfort with the concept of bisexuality, feeling threatened by bisexuality’s refusal to fit cleanly into an either/or binary system of sexuality.

Directing One’s Own Life (and Sexuality) in ‘Appropriate Behavior’

Appropriate Behavior

‘Appropriate Behavior’ is thus a product and a triumph of female authorship and agency in the male-dominated film and entertainment industry. … Just as Desiree Akhavan went to lengths to ensure her agency and authorship as a filmmaker, Shirin engages with her bisexuality frankly and honestly…

The Male Gaze, LOL: How Comedies Are Changing the Way We Look


The body is no longer a Lacanian reflected ideal, it is a biological mess that often exists beyond anyone’s control. The effect of this convention is two-fold–a bait and switch of expectations but also the creation of a sense of biological sameness: man or woman, everybody poops. By placing the body in a biological space instead of a symbolic one, physical comedy is questioning the visual tendencies of subconscious desire.

In ‘Appropriate Behavior’: What Does It Take for a Woman to Author Herself?

Desiree Akhavan in Appropriate Behavior

What’s more, to understand ‘Appropriate Behavior’ as the bisexual Iranian version of someone else’s work would be to miss the point of the film entirely. While on the surface, the film is about a bisexual Iranian American coming to terms with a breakup and with the messiness of her sexuality, it’s really a film about identity, about what it means not to take the easy way out by shaving off or hiding the parts of yourself that don’t fit into a neat package. By failing, spectacularly, to fit, the film, like its main character, becomes something more than the sum of its seemingly discordant parts, something entirely of its own.