Different For Girls

“Lesbians have been found to be far less concerned about financial status than straight women. Studies have also found that lesbians have far more flexible ideas about physical attractiveness, you only need to listen to Beth Ditto to know that. When compared with straight women in a study, lesbians were less concerned with weight, dieting and body image. Another study concluded that both lesbians and bisexual women preferred relatively heavier partners than straight women. A possible reason for this is because one study observed that lesbians were on average heavier than straight women and found most attractive those who resembled themselves. But saying that all lesbians are fat is controversial, to say the least: one study found that a more likely explanation was that their preferences reflected a rejection of the contemporary fixation on being thin.”

The Psychology of Physical Attraction by Viren Swami and Adrian Furnham

Extracts of which are printed in today’s Independent and which, from these examples somehow both explodes and reinforces stereotypes at the same time.

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3 thoughts on “Different For Girls

  1. Our society does have a passion for dividing everything into categories, all of whose members supposedly share a set of characteristics. Yet, unless we are talking about Coca-Cola bottles, each member of the category will have traits distinguishing it/her/him from all other members, making the whole concept dubious.

    Personally, I am not keen on categories and find they hide information as much as revealing it. This is especially true of people. People are individuals. Well, some are, at least 🙂 You definitely are, I am pleased to say.

  2. I am always a great sceptic of studies like this – fascinating though they are. I immediately wonder how they collected their data, what questions were actually asked, whether they simply asked women about their preferences or whether they looked at actual choices they had made, how large their sample sizes were, whether they made sure that they had representation from all social and economic groups in each of the subsections. I would love to see the data itself – that would be interesting.

    You can so easily draw incorrect/unsafe conclusions. In the summer, I was persuaded to accompany a friend on a “Dyke Hike”. I was not keen, not being one either for “groups” or for hiking. When I got there I was flabberghasted (and for once rendered almost speechless!) by the fact that all these women looked exactly the same. They looked like “typical lesbians”. They were all a little stocky, all had short hair, were somewhat masculine looking, wearing manly clothes and were not in my opinion in the slightest bit attractive. But of course I had jumped to the wrong conclusion. For these women were not stereotypical lesbians at all, rather stereotypical hikers. The women in the mixed gender walking groups we passed, looked much the same! I guess I just don’t fancy hikers!

  3. SilverTiger-I suppose stereotypes perform a function but then we all have to fit them. I guess too many of us like to put people in boxes and assume “Oh I know your type, I’ve met people like you before”.Hurray for exceptions to the rule.

    Reluctant Blogger – Lol -hiking is not the ideal pursuit for the fashion conscious. My experience of psychology theory taught me that on the whole people start out with an assumption and then undertake their research in a way that then largely fits that assumption and when it comes to sexuality you’ll generally find the heterosexual majority applies some quite old fashioned prejudices too sometimes towards the gay community (you’ll find psychotherapy has some quite odd ideas still).
    I have observed that there can be (again generalising- very bad-slapped wrists all round) a different dynamic (or emphasis) to gay and lesbian relationships sometimes when compared to the mainstream (the beige variety) of heterosexual relationships but we’re all different and want different things from relationships and the hets are probably under more pressure to ‘conform’ to relationship ‘norms’ (sex, work, status ,children, schooling etc) than other relationship alternatives who may be less in the mainstream spotlight even though they also have their own crass and less informed stereotypes to live up to.

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