The "Lavender Lens?" A Cross-Cohort Comparison of Variations in Weight Perception by Sexual Orientation

Kyler Sherman-Wilkins, Pennsylvania State University

Several studies have suggested that heterosexual and lesbian women differ in their view of their bodies. It may be the case that lesbian women are less aware of being overweight due to their subculture’s acceptance with heavier bodies. The present study uses data from the Multi-Site Women’s Health Study to assess differences in weight perception between heterosexual and lesbian women and whether these differences exist for women who come of age before versus after 1969. Preliminary results indicate that, for women who came of age after 1969, heterosexual women are more likely to perceive themselves as overweight when they are not relative to lesbian women. Results also indicate that lesbian women are no less likely to perceive themselves as overweight when they are indeed overweight relative to heterosexual women. This exploratory study will be supplemented by NHANES, which is a nationally representative dataset.

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Presented in Poster Session 3: Health of Women, Children, and Families