Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Is gaydar real

  1. May 16, 2012 #1
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/9269298/Women-really-do-have-a-gaydar.html

    My question: what photos were shown, and do they demonstrate a confirmation bias in selecting only masculine looking women as the lesbian examples?

    A couple weeks ago I was going through my pictures trying to put together an album of the lesbians I have photographed in preparation for a possible show of these pics at a coffeehouse in a neighborhood known for its larger gay population. I found I had to avoid selecting shots that happened to enhance more masculine aspects of them. That is, I started off unconsciously selecting the most masculine looking shots.

    If I put together an album of those masculine looking shots and then added a bunch of random, very feminine looking shots of women I know not to be lesbians, I could easily stack the deck such that almost anyone would be able to pick out the lesbians. Is this what happened in this study?

    My own "gaydar" is highly dependent on hearing how someone talks, how they dress and their hair, and how they move. It's only about 50% accurate, too, in that some people make a point of telegraphing their sexuality and others completely avoid it. Unless they "stacked the deck" as I suggested, I very much doubt it's possible to tell if someone's gay from the shape of their face alone and in a still photograph.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 16, 2012 #2
    Re: Gaydar?

    I agree with you. Outside of the stereotypical nuances one associates, I don't think there is any possible way to determine the preference of a person. What was the sample size of this study? They said that the percent correct was way to high to be mere coincidence, but I wouldn't believe that unless I saw the numbers myself. I mean come on, what makes a face "gay"?


    Furthermore, I would like to see your photo album :wink:
     
  4. May 16, 2012 #3
    Re: Gaydar?

    You mean this? :
    Here's one I posted a couple years back. Just for fun, there's one gay guy and one lesbian in this group. You pick 'em out.

    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=306587
     
  5. May 16, 2012 #4

    Ryan_m_b

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Gaydar?

    Seems like this study was very poorly done. Firstly why just two sexualities? Why not use one of the many sexuality scales like the Kinsey scale? Whilst there is an argument to be put forth that there are fashions in queer culture that are distinct it is a pretty week one considering all the diversity of fashion inherent within society. The fact that gaydar doesn't exist is monumentally unsurprising.
     
  6. May 16, 2012 #5
    Re: Gaydar?

    Gaydar exists. About 50% of the time I can tell if someone is gay without them directly telling me. This is because they deliberately 'telegraph' the fact, because, I think, they want to be recognizable to other gay people.

    Some people do not pay attention and never make the connection between deliberately telegraphed indicators and another's sexuality. They have no "gaydar".

    Some people, though, simply do not 'telegraph' any information about their sexuality.
     
  7. May 17, 2012 #6
    Re: Gaydar?

    gaydar is like radar

    a dude pings out a signal, and he interprets that signal

    I don't think it would work too well with just a picture of a face. But if you sit down and chit chat with someone for a while, then it *may* become apparent, even if it's not explicit. But ofc, I don't think I could figure if a person from another culture was gay or not, because it's all very much determined by the social norms that I'm aware of.
     
  8. May 17, 2012 #7

    lisab

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: Gaydar?

    When I was (very) young, I knew I had excellent gaydar.

    Then I learned not every gay person fits the stereotype.

    Then I further learned, *most* gays don't fit the stereotype.

    Now I know my gaydar sucks.
     
  9. May 17, 2012 #8

    Ryan_m_b

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Gaydar?

    Very true. And conversely not every heterosexual person fits a stereotype. Metrosexuality as it's called it's pervasive in many fashion groups.
     
  10. May 17, 2012 #9
    Re: Gaydar?

    I know what you mean, but I would say it's straightdar that most often is unreliable. The assumption that, in the absence of gay signals someone must be straight is where most people err. Some people just don't telegraph anything about their sexual preference, and the assumption they are all straight is the one most likely to be wrong.
     
  11. May 19, 2012 #10
    Re: Gaydar?

    I'm pretty good at this! I can spot one out in a minute, well.... ok some are harder than others, but most of them just have that vibe.
     
  12. May 24, 2012 #11
    Re: Gaydar?

    Leaving apart the people who fit into / adopt the stereotype, its not very reliable to predict someone's sexuality.

    Also its true that some continuous variation between gay and straight exists (someone mentioned the Kinsey scale). Often the subject oneself is confused or even unaware of ones' own fluctuations...

    I myself am always missed out of other people's dars :p
     
  13. May 24, 2012 #12

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Attached Files:

  14. May 24, 2012 #13

    Borg

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

  15. May 24, 2012 #14
    Re: Gaydar?

    People consciously misreport themselves a lot, too, probably for simplicity's sake. To be accurate most people who characterize themselves as "gay" probably should be saying "bi".

    In any event, the notion you can tell anything definite from a photograph strikes me as hard to believe.
     
  16. May 24, 2012 #15
    Last edited: May 24, 2012
  17. May 24, 2012 #16
    Re: Gaydar?

    I do not think the conclusion of the study has any merit in its attempt to describe what the general population possesses in terms of gaydar.
    Its conclusion should have been that a small young (?) university volunteer group of mostly female members was able to discern, from altered (clipped) facial photographs selected from Facebook by another group of unknown individuals ( whose demographics and preferences are unknown), the sexual preference of the individual depicted in said photograph correctly by a factor somewhat just greater than by chance.
    And that further study on the general population should be done to confirm or deny the premise obtained.

    Personnally I do not think the study adds anything more to the scientific pool of information since it was so limited.

    As humans tend to label and categorize everything around them why should that not be surprising that gay/not gay is a category to try to fit someone else into. If someone has gaydar than that would mean they would have to rely on vague clues from previous experience and certainly that is not foolproof. Rumour had it at one time that John Wayne was gay.
     
  18. May 24, 2012 #17

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Re: Gaydar?

    When I got settled in to college over 40 years ago, the hottest-looking woman on campus was the president of the Wilde-Stein Club (gay social organization) and her lover was arguably the second-hottest (though close). One day, I was killing some time in the student union lounge with my Gibson 12-string, playing and singing, and they both sat in the love-seat facing mine. They stayed quite a long time, and as my flamboyantly gay friend from my area of Maine entered the lounge, the ladies started hugging and sharing passionate kisses. My friend told me that I was "another victim" or something similar, suggesting an ambush. I had no idea. My friend told me who they were, and he was laughing at my expense. I didn't have any gaydar then.

    I had no idea of their sexual orientation or club affiliation, and my friend was laughing his butt off.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2012
  19. May 24, 2012 #18
    Re: Gaydar?

    It's an acquired skill, for sure. Two of the coffee houses where I hang out are owned by gay men and also project a counter-culture image, which attracts a large gay clientele to them. I happened to meet one lesbian girl who was an art student in one of them. For a year and a half, she regarded me with suspicion, but finally sat down and drew with me one day. We became best pals, in fact, and I ended up meeting all her lesbian pals. Other lesbians who saw me sitting with lesbians started approaching me cold. Now I know billions of lesbians. Without making any conscious effort to do so, I started picking up on tell-tales, and now I believe my lesbian gaydar is better than most.

    As I said earlier, I think people fail when they think they have straightdar: the ability to tell someone is straight or "not-gay". That picture Evo posted looks like a straight woman to me. A lot of lesbians are "Lipstick Lesbians". They present as really pretty, girly, straight women. I can't tell a Lipstick Lesbian from a straight girl at all: they telegraph no clues whatever that I can perceive.
     
  20. May 24, 2012 #19

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Re: Gaydar?

    I'm not out much in public anymore (even in open-air places), but when I was playing in local taverns, there was a lesbian who loved my custom Harley. She had a sport-bike, and every time she showed up for shows, she had the cutest huggers on the back... She was a little on the stocky side (not fat) and had short hair, so we were on the same wave-length pretty quickly. She used to try to buy me drinks, even though the bar-maids kept me well-supplied. Sweet lady. I don't know how she smuggled those huggers into the taverns - most looked under-aged.
     
  21. May 24, 2012 #20
    Re: Gaydar?


    I have excellent straightdar. It's over 95% accurate!
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Is gaydar real
  1. Real or not (Replies: 17)

  2. Real (Replies: 21)

  3. Is this real? (Replies: 1)

  4. Is this real? (Replies: 7)

  5. Is this for real? (Replies: 22)

Loading...