Well, inquisitive hypothetical reader, there’s a second interesting tidbit in all that “lesbians are more likely to be fat” business. As it turns out, queer girls (lesbians AND bisexuals) are ALSO more likely to NOT THINK they’re fat, even when their BMI puts them in one of the “overweight” categories. On the flip side, straight girls are more likely to think of themselves as fat even when they’re not. That’s right, “overweight” queer ladies tend to be less critical of their bodies than straight women.
Researchers want to call this a problem of self-perception, but I have a different theory. It could be, perhaps, that queer girl culture doesn’t suffer the incessant, unreasonable pressure of the male gaze in the same way that straight girl culture does. After all, if you don’t have to concern yourself with attracting men as romantic partners, it’s considerable more reasonable to not give a fuck about their photoshopped-magazine-and-mainstream-pornography-fueled beauty standards, and you might be less likely to internalize that garbage. A dig through some psychology journals show that I’m not making this up. One study showed that lesbians tended to rate the attractiveness of bigger women higher than straight women did. A later study showed that women who felt a strong connection to the lesbian community scored better in personal body image and had fewer indications of depression.
So, we’ve got an NIH study about fat lesbians, a problematic cultural fixation on weight and weight-loss, and a rejection of heterosexual beauty standard by queer ladies. What’s the takeaway here? It’s that we should be concerned when science and medicine make such considerable efforts to pathologize aspects of queer culture that conflict with mainstream straight culture, especially when those aspects of straight culture are hideously broken, like the fat-hate and weight obsession.
Right? “I won’t be youthful and desirable, wah, woe is me.”
And it’s like