Objectification Or Liberation? Bisexual and Lesbian Women's Experiences with Physical Appearance
Participants discussed their experiences with the internalization of appearance standards within both mainstream and lesbian subculture and how this related to their sexual identity and body image. Both lesbian and bisexual women repeatedly discussed two conflicting concepts: (1) having freedom from and resistance to traditional and oppressive norms of appearance (e.g., celebration of all kinds of women, body sizes, beauty in curvaceousness, non-traditional gender norms); and (2) pressure to conform to strict standards within lesbian communities (e.g., dress code, butch/femme identities). The latter serves primarily as a "survival" tool or a way through which they can signify their membership in the lesbian community.
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