A number of feminist scholars have argued that dress and appearance can be used to critique the dominant culture and explore alternative subjectivities. Research on non-heterosexual visual identities has explored the role that appearance and clothing practices can play in the construction of individual identities and collective communities. However, bisexual women are largely invisible in these discussions. The minimal existing research suggests that bisexual women are unable to communicate their sexuality through their clothing and appearance. This study explored how bisexual women manage their bodies and appearance in relation to their bisexuality. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 20 self-identified bisexual women and the data were analysed using thematic analysis. The participants reported particular visual aesthetics associated with an embodied lesbian identity; however, they reported no visual image of bisexual women. Nonetheless, despite their lack of access to a distinct visual identity, the women negotiated ways in which to incorporate their bisexual identity into their dress and appearance, and considered their bisexuality an important aspect of their identity, which they would like to be recognised and acknowledged.
Hayfield, N., Clarke, V., Halliwell, E., & Malson, H. (2013). Visible lesbians and invisible bisexuals: Appearance and visual identities among bisexual women. Women's Studies International Forum, 40, 172-182