‘Femme it up or dress it down’: Appearance and bisexual women in monogamous relationships.

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Abstract

This paper reports on findings from a qualitative study into the lived
experience of bisexual women in monogamous relationships. Nineteen selfidentified
bisexual women from across the UK, who were either in a
monogamous relationship or desired to be in one, were explored.
Participants completed diaries and took part in telephone interviews. The
data was analysed using Template Analysis (King, 2004) which identified
themes from the data set. It appeared that women in different-gender
relationships choose appearance markers that could be classed as lesbian
orientated in a bid to illuminate their bisexuality. Women in same-gender
relationships were more likely to opt for feminine appearance signifiers in a
bid to avoid being identified as a lesbian based solely on their appearance.
The study suggests that the gender of participants’ partners matters with
regards to their appearance decisions. However, despite the apparent
influence of their partner’s gender, bisexual women demonstrated a degree
of flexibility and fluidity in their appearance choices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-277
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Bisexuality
Volume18
Issue number3
Early online date5 Sep 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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