Two studies were conducted using the Internet with 209 and 141 women respectively who reported themselves as being lesbian or bisexual, but not heterosexual. Women were presented with 8 figures in which weight (slender or heavy), waist-to-hip ratio (0.7 or 1.0), and breast size (small or large) were varied independently. Participants rated figures on a 20-point scale for attractiveness, healthiness, femininity, kindness, and desirability for both short-term and long-term relationships. These ratings were summed to give a total preference score as a factor analysis showed that all ratings loaded positively on one factor. In the second study, women were also asked to rate themselves on the degree to which they were gender-conforming or gender-nonconforming. In both studies, participants preferred the heavy figure with the 0.7 waist-to-hip ratio and large breasts. The same figure with small breasts was the next most preferred. In the second study, there was no difference between gender-conforming and gender-nonconforming women in preference scores. We believe that a preference on the part of nonheterosexual women for heavy figures may reflect more comfort with heavier body weight as well as a rejection of what may be seen as an inappropriate societal fixation on excessive thinness.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Gender Studies
- Sociology and Political Science
- History and Philosophy of Science