Saturday, 19 May 2012
Have you ever asked someone out who replied, “Sorry, I’m gay.” If you have it’s time to shake the dust off your gaydar. Research has found we guess someone’s sexuality in the first few seconds of meeting them.And more often than not we guess right.
When I read this article in The Daily Mail I was not impressed. People have been battling against sex stereotypes for years, and this kind of research can only strengthens ideas that there is a ‘gay face’ or that all lesbians ‘look like this’.
But if this research is to be believed, maybe there's a place for stereotypes if our gaydar success rate is higher than what can be put down to chance.
The research from Washington University can’t be ignored. 129 students were shown photos of male and female faces and asked whether the person in the photo was gay or straight. All the faces had no makeup or piercings and even hairstyles were cropped out. The students guessed correctly 57 percent of the time for gay men, and 65 percent for lesbians.
The researchers believe we have an instinctive feel about whether someone is gay or straight the moment we meet them. But I don’t know if I buy it. Sure there’s men and women who you could guess from a mile away are gay. But a lot of the time I wouldn’t have a clue.
And I think its great not having a clue. I’m fed up reading about the actress Amber Heard, where every headline runs along the lines of “Bisexual Amber Beard attends film premiere”. Should I give a fuck that she has sex with women? Not really. Especially as I would never be expected to give a fuck if she was straight.