1st Edition

Lesbians, Levis, and Lipstick The Meaning of Beauty in Our Lives

By Joanie Erickson, Jeanine Cogan Copyright 1999

    What is lesbian beauty?

    Lesbians, Levis, and Lipstick: The Meaning of Beauty in Our Lives explores the many definitions of beauty among lesbians by discussing the norms they create and follow. In addition, it questions how these standards are influenced by heterosexual concepts of beauty. Here you’ll find essays, poems, and research papers from women who describe some of the freeing and restrictive aspects of lesbian beauty.

    Lesbians, Levis, and Lipstick: The Meaning of Beauty in Our Lives examines the way lesbians define and explore the notion of beauty. Through moving, personal stories and well-represented research, this book leads the reader on a path of exploration about beauty norms and the way they liberate and confine lesbians.

    This sometimes humorous book is an in-depth and insightful examination of beauty practices and how lesbians use them as an expression of style and image and as a means of identifying one another. Compelling topics include:

    • lesbians’diverse expressions and understandings of beauty
    • the gender of a bisexual woman’s partner and how it impacts her beauty routines and self-image
    • beauty standards of older lesbians and how their views on the qualities of potential partners and on their own partners change as they age
    • the beauty standards of lesbian and bisexual women of color
    • pressures on lesbians to be thin and how this affects their feelings about their bodies and themselves
    • feminism and its potential role in protecting women from eating disorders and negative body image

      Personal, intelligent, and informative, Lesbians, Levis, and Lipstick gives you insight into the meanings of lesbian beauty. Emphasizing strength, confidence, and self-acceptance as attractive qualities, this uplifting book will help you realize your own beauty and give you a new freedom to experiment with fresh expressions of it.

    Contents Introduction
    • Part I: In the Eye of the Beholder: Identifying and Defining Lesbian Beauty Norms
    • Yeah, You
    • Beauty Mandates and the Appearance Obsession: Are Lesbian and Bisexual Women Better Off?
    • Bisexual Women and Beauty Norms: A Qualitative Examination
    • Lesbians Discuss Beauty and Aging
    • Beauty on the Borderland: On Being Black Lesbian and Beautiful (no commas in TOC)
    • Doing Beauty: Negotiating Lesbian Looks in Everyday Life
    • Listen to the Roars and Whispers of Water
    •  Part II: Freedoms and Constraints of Lesbian Beauty Norms
    • Confessions of a Butch Straight Woman
    • Invisible Womon
    • Lesbians Walk the Tightrope of Beauty: Thin Is In but Femme Is Out
    • The Myth of the Short-Haired Lesbian
    • Even My Hair Won’t Grow Straight
    • Beauty and the Butch
    •  Part III: Compulsory Thinness: Are Lesbians Immune from the Barbie Mandate?
    • Secret Torrent
    • Lesbians and the Internalization of Societal Standards of Weight and Appearance
    • Body Image, Compulsory Heterosexuality, and Internalized Homophobia
    • Does Feminism Serve a Protective Function Against Eating Disorders?
    •  Index
    • Reference Notes Included


    Joanie Erickson, Jeanine Cogan