The impact of group membership on lesbians' physical appearance Article

cited authors

  • Krakauer, ID; Rose, SM

fiu authors

abstract

  • The impact of lesbian group membership upon physical appearance was examined among 81 young lesbians (ages 18-30) who participated in a questionnaire study. Most participants indicated making distinct but modest changes in their physical appearance after coming out as lesbians. These changes were in the direction of their pre-coming out conceptions of lesbians as being butch or androgynous in appearance. A majority reported cutting their hair shorter, wearing more comfortable shoes, or adopting a less traditionally feminine appearance after coming out. Participants also said they significantly less often wore dresses, used makeup, and shaved their legs and underarms. A significant decrease in body weight concern also occurred after coming out. Other changes in physical appearance are discussed. Participants believed that the changes were influenced by the opinions of other lesbians, their desire to signal prospective partners, and by becoming more comfortable with themselves. Implications of these results are discussed in terms of peer group norms, group identity, and sexual signaling. © 2002 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • January 1, 2002

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 31

end page

  • 43

volume

  • 6

issue

  • 1