Sexual Orientation Stereotypes

Stereotype Application at the Intersection of Body Shape, Gender/Sex, and Sexual Orientation - Flora Oswald, Amanda Champion, Devinder Khera, Madeline Young, & Cory L. Pedersen

 

Though much work has examined how sexual orientation and body shape are jointly constituted, less has examined the joint perception of body shape, gender/sex, and sexuality. We draw upon multifarious person perception approaches to examine how personality and sexuality-related traits are attributed to bodies of varying shape (skinny, average, fat) when presented with differing social identities along the axes of gender/sex (male, female) and sexual orientation (heterosexual, lesbian/gay). In a sample of 991 participants, we found robust evidence that trait application varied by both body shape and sexual orientation. Further, supporting our hypotheses, we found that gay male bodies were perceived as more feminine than heterosexual male bodies, and skinny male bodies were perceived as more feminine than other body shapes. Supporting additional hypothesizing, lesbian female bodies were perceived as more masculine than heterosexual female bodies, and fat female bodies were perceived as the most masculine across sexual orientations. Partially supporting our hypotheses, we found that average bodies were perceived as the most typical for all identities; further, bodies perceived as less typical of their social identity category were perceived as experiencing heightened prejudice on the basis of body shape.

Article published in the Journal of Sex Research, https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2022.2026286