“Researchers want to call this a problem of self-perception, but I have a different theory. It could be, perhaps, that queer girl culture doesn’t suffer the incessant, unreasonable pressure of the male gaze in the same way that straight girl culture does. After all, if you don’t have to concern yourself with attracting men as romantic partners, it’s considerable more reasonable to not give a fuck about their photoshopped-magazine-and-mainstream-pornography-fueled beauty standards, and you might be less likely to internalize that garbage. A dig through some psychology journals show that I’m not making this up. One study showed that lesbians tended to rate the attractiveness of bigger women higher than straight women did. A later study showed that women who felt a strong connection to the lesbian community scored better in personal body image and had fewer indications of depression.

So, we’ve got an NIH study about fat lesbians, a problematic cultural fixation on weight and weight-loss, and a rejection of heterosexual beauty standard by queer ladies. What’s the takeaway here? It’s that we should be concerned when science and medicine make such considerable efforts to pathologize aspects of queer culture that conflict with mainstream straight culture, especially when those aspects of straight culture are hideously broken, like the fat-hate and weight obsession. The fact of the matter is, the study from Brigham and Women’s operates on a unpleasant, and perhaps unfounded, base assumption — that there must be something wrong with queer women because they tend to be larger than straight women. Given the lengthy history of the medical establishments need to assign diagnoses to members of the LGBT community for violating cisgender and heterosexual cultural norms, I think we ought to take a critical eye to research like this, especially when it’s founded on as something as inaccurate and useless as BMI. Loving each other at all shapes and sizes is perhaps one of the best things about queer lady culture. Let’s not let some shaky science wreck that up.”


Using World War II Records to Conduct Naval History Research

Jacob Haywood of the National Archives will discuss how to use World War II naval records in the National Archives at College Park for genealogical research.

Tuesday, September 23, at 11 a.m. in Room G-25, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance).

Thursday, September 25, at 11 a.m. Repeated at the National Archives at College Park, MD, Lecture Room B.

Image: National Archives Identifier: 195567.