Examining Responses to Women’s Same-Sex Performativity: Perceptions of Sexual Orientation and Implications for Bisexual Prejudice

Flora Oswald, Jes L. Matsick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Heterosexual women’s public same-sex performativity (SSP) is thought to have significant negative impacts for queer women (e.g., Hamilton, 2007). SSP may (mis)inform observers’ assumptions about women’s same-sex sexuality more generally. In Studies 1a and 1b (N = 541), we examined how heterosexual people perceive the sexual orientation and motivations of women engaging in SSP. We expanded on conceptualizations of SSP as harmful to queer identities by experimentally examining how exposure to SSP influences heterosexual participants’ bisexual prejudice. In Study 2 (N = 222), we examined bisexual women’s perspectives on SSP and bisexual prejudice. Women who engage in SSP were often perceived as bisexual and as motivated by sexual experimentation and desire to shock onlookers. In Studies 1b and 2, we found that exposure to SSP increased endorsement of bisexual stereotypes and impacted bisexual women’s felt identity legitimacy. These findings raise concerns about the potential of SSP to inform and reinforce bisexual prejudice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-455
Number of pages39
JournalJournal of Bisexuality
Volume20
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Cultural Studies

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