"What Blokes Want Lesbians to be”: On FHM and the socialization of pro-lesbian attitudes among heterosexual-identified men

Hegarty, P. J. and Buechel, C. (2011). "What Blokes Want Lesbians to be”: On FHM and the socialization of pro-lesbian attitudes among heterosexual-identified men. Feminism & Psychology, 21(2) 240 - 247.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0959353510370184

Abstract

We develop a critique of the social psychological hypothesis that media images of women engaged in same-sex activity have a positive effect on heterosexual men’s general attitudes to lesbians. A content analysis suggests that British print media usually represent lesbians either in news stories that also include gay men, or in entertainment stories. In focus groups, both gay and straight men were presented with photographs of ‘heteroflexible’ representations from the ‘lad mag’ FHM and photographs of ‘real’ lesbians from Gay Times. Men were asked to define what made a woman a real lesbian. Straight men rejected the formulation that there was a single ‘stereotype’ of lesbians in favor of the claim that the FHM images did not represent real lesbians. Gay men came to agree that the heteroflexible women were not identified as lesbian. Our analysis suggests that both gay and straight men perform bounded sexual identities in response to heteroflexible images which are scripted to be attractive to heterosexual men.

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