The Anthropology of Girls Kissing Girls

Leila Rupp’s book, Sapphistries, has been getting an awful lot of attention online, even showing up at the livejournal of an “Evil Librarian.” But by far the biggest debate has been stirred by an article by Rupp and colleague Verta Taylor in Contexts, “Straight Girls Kissing.” The article sparked a report on the phenomenon in Time Magazine:

Sociology professor Verta Taylor, of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and her colleague, Leila J. Rupp of the school’s feminist studies department, examined the trend in an article for the American Anthropological Association magazine Contexts. In one national survey, they report, fewer than 2% of women called themselves lesbian or bisexual, but fully 8% reported either feeling same-sex desire or engaging in some kind of same-sex act. The absolute numbers seem low — no surprise in a study that relies on self-reporting about so personal a matter — but what’s more important is the 4-to-1 ratio between label and behavior, and that, the authors say, reveals a lot.

And Vanity Fair felt compelled to respond.

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