The influence of societal norms on body dissatisfaction is a well-known and researched concept in women. What is lesser known, however, is if these societal norms affect a lesbian woman’s body image similarly to heterosexual women. In the current study, we explored the relationship between the awareness and internalization of the thin ideal and the relationship between the internalization of the thin ideal and body dissatisfaction among Australian heterosexual and lesbian women. We tested if the internalization of the thin ideal mediated the relationship between the awareness of the thin ideal and body dissatisfaction, and we also tested a moderated mediation model to determine if sexual orientation moderated those pathways. Participants were 87 lesbian and 167 heterosexual women who completed an online survey. The results supported the mediational model. Moreover, sexual orientation was a statistically significant moderator of the pathway between internalization of the thin ideal and body dissatisfaction, but the nature of the moderation was not as predicted. On average, lesbian and heterosexual women reported equivalent levels of awareness and internalization of societal norms relating to attractiveness, and lesbian women reported less body dissatisfaction. However, at high levels of internalization, lesbian women reported no less body dissatisfaction than heterosexual women.
|Number of pages
|Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity
|E-pub ahead of print - 2023