Home Gender & Sexuality Sexual Self-labels Significantly Influence Appearance Behaviours in Chinese Lesbian and Bisexual Women

Sexual Self-labels Significantly Influence Appearance Behaviours in Chinese Lesbian and Bisexual Women

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Recent research delves into the nuanced world of self-objectification and appearance behaviours within the Chinese lesbian and bisexual female community, revealing significant influences of sexual self-label identities. 

The research, involving 637 Chinese lesbian and bisexual women, used online questionnaires to assess variables like self-objectification, measured through the Objectified Body Consciousness Scale, and self-sexualizing appearance behaviours. The study’s innovative approach lies in its focus on the Chinese context, which has been underexplored in existing literature predominantly centred on Western experiences.

The findings were published in the Journal of Homosexuality.

Self-objectification, a concept rooted in how individuals view their bodies as objects based on external standards, is known to influence appearance behaviours. The study found that femme-identified females exhibited higher levels of body surveillance, a key aspect of self-objectification, compared to their butch and androgynous counterparts. These findings align with the hypothesis that stronger identification with traditional femininity might heighten self-objectification.

Distinct differences emerged in self-sexualising behaviours based on sexual self-label identification. Femme-identified participants reported more feminine appearance behaviours like wearing makeup and skirts, while butch-identified participants were inclined towards masculine behaviours such as short haircuts and binding breasts. These behavioural patterns underscore the diversity and complexity of gender expressions within the lesbian and bisexual community in China.

The study’s groundbreaking contribution lies in highlighting the moderating effect of sexual self-label identity. Specifically, for femme and androgynous individuals, body surveillance is significantly correlated with feminine self-sexualising behaviours. This connection was notably absent in butch-identified participants, suggesting that self-objectification’s impact on appearance behaviours varies considerably across different sexual self-labels.

The study’s findings offer fresh insights into the interplay of self-objectification, sexual self-label identification, and appearance behaviours, particularly in a non-Western context. It highlights the diversity within the Chinese lesbian and bisexual community and underscores the need for more culturally nuanced understandings in psychological research. The research has implications for mental health professionals and researchers in developing more inclusive and representative theories and practices.

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