New Research Indicates Gay And Straight Men Have Different Face Shapes
A team of scientists from the Center for Theoretical Study at Charles University in Prague and the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic have released new research that suggests subtle face shape differences between some homosexual and heterosexual men.
But there's a twist.
"Gay Face" may be entirely inaccurate, according to the new scientific evidence.
The report, published by the National Institutes of Health, indicates that gay men, on average, have wider and shorter faces, smaller and shorter noses, as well as massive and well-rounded jaws. In other words, gay men, according to scientists, boast "a mosaic of both feminine and masculine features."
But don't let that fool you.
In part two of the study, anonymous volunteers were tasked with looking at simple headshots of men before guessing whether the guys in the pictures are gay or straight. Participants also had to rate whether or not the man pictured looked "masculine," without being privy to the expressed sexual orientation of the person pictured. Results indicate that the faces of homosexual men were rated more "masculine" by viewers, defying the stereotype that gay men "look feminine."
Previous studies have shown that homosexual men differ from heterosexual men in several somatic traits and lay people accurately attribute sexual orientation based on facial images. Thus, we may predict that morphological differences between faces of homosexual and heterosexual individuals can cue to sexual orientation. The main aim of this study was to test for possible differences in facial shape between heterosexual and homosexual men. Further, we tested whether self-reported sexual orientation correlated with sexual orientation and masculinity-femininity attributed from facial images by independent raters. In Study 1, we used geometric morphometrics to test for differences in facial shape between homosexual and heterosexual men. The analysis revealed significant shape differences in faces of heterosexual and homosexual men. Homosexual men showed relatively wider and shorter faces, smaller and shorter noses, and rather massive and more rounded jaws, resulting in a mosaic of both feminine and masculine features. In Study 2, we tested the accuracy of sexual orientation judgment from standardized facial photos which were assessed by 80 independent raters. Binary logistic regression showed no effect of attributed sexual orientation on self-reported sexual orientation. However, homosexual men were rated as more masculine than heterosexual men, which may explain the misjudgment of sexual orientation. Thus, our results showed that differences in facial morphology of homosexual and heterosexual men do not simply mirror variation in femininity, and the stereotypic association of feminine looking men as homosexual may confound judgments of sexual orientation.