Sociation Today (Oct 2012)

A Public Presentations of Gendered Bodies: A Look at Gay and Lesbian Online Dating Profiles

  • Andrew Latinsky

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 10, no. 2


Read online

This paper examines how stereotypes and media presentations related to gender norms influence public presentations of gay men and lesbian women. Using online profiles from the online dating website, this paper examines the body types daters use to describe themselves, their ideal date, and if the poster has a photograph of themselves on their profile. These profiles are used as a method of observing public presentations that are in a unique situation to be tailored towards notions of publically displayed social desirability. Findings indicate that gay men present their online bodies as stereotypically masculine and athletic, while lesbian women are willing to display a slightly broader range of body types. In addition, regardless of gender, both gay men and lesbian women present their ideal dates as stereotypically attractive, with gay men having a particular affinity for dating athletic men. Regression analysis suggests that intersectional variables such as race and age influence a person’s willingness to display a profile picture in the public arena. Overall, this study concludes that heteronormative standards of masculinity combined with structural influences from both the media and peer groups likely have an impact on gay men’s ideal gendered body, while the comparative exclusion of lesbian women from these media influences allow other experiences of gender norms slightly more freedom.