SIZE

NOT IN MAN'S IMAGE: LESBIANS AND THE CULTURAL OPPRESSION OF BODY IMAGE, SARI H. DWORKIN, WOMEN & THERAPY, 1989, VOL 8(1/2), P27-39.

BODY IMAGE DISSATISFACTION AND DISORDERED EATING IN LESBIAN COLLEGE STUDENTS, RUTH H. STRIEGEL-MOORE, NAOMI TUCKER, JEANETTE HSU, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EATING DISORDERS, 1990, VOL 9(5), P493-500.

Lesbian subcultures have been described to downplay the importance of physical attractiveness and to challenge culturally prescribed beauty ideals. Within this context, one might argue that lesbians should be more accepting of their bodies and less likely to engage in disordered eating, than would heterosexual women. The relationship between sexual orientation and body esteem has not been examined empirically yet. This study compared 30 lesbian undergraduates and 52 heterosexual undergraduates on measures of body esteem, self-esteem, and disordered eating. Few group differences were found. Lesbian students reported lower self-esteem, more ineffectiveness, more interpersonal distrust, and more difficulties in identifying their own emotions, than did heterosexual students. Body esteem was found to be related more closely with self-esteem in lesbians, than in heterosexual students. These group differences may reflect the lesbian experience more than distubances associated with disordered eating.

A COMPARISON OF LESBIANS, GAY MEN, AND HETEROSEXUALS ON WEIGHT AND RESTRAINED EATING, PAMELA A. BRAND, ESTHER D. ROTHBLIM, LAURA J. SOLOMON, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EATING DISORDERS, 1992, VOL 11(3), P253-259.

It is possible that lesbians are as concerned with weight and dieting as are heterosexual women in order to be socially accepted in our society, while men (both gay and heterosexual) have more flexibility in this regaRd. On the other hand, lesbians, like heterosexual men, may be less concerned with weight than are heterosexual women and gay men, since the latter gROups may strive to be disirable to men. To test these hypotheses, lesbians, gay men, and heterosexual women and men were compared on weight, dieting, preoccupation with weight, and exercise activity. heterosexual women and gay men reported lower ideal weights and tended to be more preoccupied with their weights than were lesbians or heterosexual men. However, gender was a more salient factor than sexual orientation on most variables, with both lesbians and heterosexual women reporting greater concern with weight, more body dissatisfaction, and greater frequency of dieting than did gay or heterosexual men. The results indicate that both lesbians and heterosexual women are influenced by cultural pressures to be thin, but that these pressures may be greater for heterosexual women.

SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER AS FACTORS IN SOCIOCULTURALLY ACQUIRED VULNERBILITY TO BODY DISSATISFACTION AND EATING DISORDERS, M.D. SIEVER, JOURNAL OF CONSULTING AND CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY, 1994, VOL 62(2), P252-260.

This study investigated the hypothesis that gay men and heterosexual women are dissatisfied with their bodies and vulnerable to eating disorders because of a shared emphasis on physical attrativeness and thinness that is based on a desire to attract and please men. Although men place priority on physical attractiveness in evaluating potential partners, women place greater emphasis on other factors, such as personality, status, power, and income. Therefore, lesbians and heterosexual men are less concerned with their own physical attractiveness and, consequently, less dissatisfied with their bodies and less vulnerable to eating disorders. Several instruments measuring body satisfaction, the importance of physical attractiveness, and symptoms of eating disorders were administered to 250 college students. The sample included 53 lesbians, 59 gay men, 62 heterosexual women, and 63 heterosexual men. Multivariate and univariate analyses of variance were used to examine the differences among the scores of lesbians, gay men, heterosexual women, and heterosexual men on these various constructs. The results generally confirmed the research hypothesis. The implications and ramifications these findings have for the understanding of both the psychology of lesbians nad gay men and the prevention and treatment of eating disorders are discussed.

CROSS REFERENCES

ALCOHOL

CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY AND EATING DISORDERS: ARE THEY REALLY SO DIFFERENT? STEWART E. COOPER, JOURNAL OF COUNSELING & DEVELOPMENT, 1989, VOL 68, P102-105.

A biopsychosocial perspective is developed to help counsellors integrate assessment, treatment, evaluation, and research with chemical dependency and eating disorders addictions. Although different in content and symptoms, the underlying similarities between these clinical syndromes are clearly seen through this paradigm.

THERAPY

LESBIANS PSYCHOLOGIES, EXPLORATIONS & CHALLENGES, ED BOSTED LESBIAN PSYCHOLOGIES COLLECTIVE, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS PRESS, 1987, INCLUDES:

LESBIANS, WEIGHT, AND EATING: NEW ANALYSES AND PERSPECTIVES, LAURA S. BROWN, P294-310.

 

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