If you've ever been told that short haircuts look manly or that women should always wear makeup, you know that the pressure to conform to gender stereotypes can be very real. And according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics, that "must-fit-in" feeling is causing some young women to turn to laxatives as a diet tool.
In a six-year study of 13,683 men and women between ages 13 to 25, researchers asked subjects self report how frequently they'd used laxatives to either lose weight or prevent weight gain. Sadly, by age 23, one in five “sexual minority” women (defined as anyone who doesn't identify as straight) reported using laxatives. They turned to this unhealthy weight-loss technique at more than twice the rate that straight women did.
Regardless of sexual orientation, the researchers also found that women who reported feeling more pressure to conform to gender stereotypes (especially the endless list of those surrounding appearance) were 50 percent more likely to take laxatives than women who didn't report feeling pressure to conform.
Consider this yet another reason why we should flush gender stereotypes down the toilet for good.