Actual lesbians have answered this question, and now, despite my better judgement, so will I. Using the insightful comment of one of their number as a springboard:
The “aesthetically finding women more beautiful”-phenomenon is 100% social. Women are sexualized sooo much in the media, and men are constantly being told that “women are the only ones who should care about beauty, men can never be beautiful”. At least, this is my theory.
You know Ancient Greece? Men was seen as the aesthetically more beautiful and perfect gender.
This. And it’s salutary to spell it out:
- Individuals find people of varied genders hot, through a nebulous interaction of their innateness, their socialisation, and social constructs.
- The dominant narrative of hotness in Western society is heteronormative and male–centred. That doesn’t mean it’s bad; I don’t feel it’s horrid of me to find, I dunno, Sophia Loren attractive, because I don’t feel it’s horrid of me to be cis het male. It is a perspective, that happens to be the dominant one, but is as true as any other.
- The notion that this dominant narrative is the universal narrative, though, is pernicious to anyone who isn’t its direct beneficiary. Gay men deserve their beefcake too (and they get it). Straight women deserve it too, and a lot of them are socialised not to seek it—because blokes are unlovely. If blokes are so unlovely, why boff us at all? That gets very unhealthy very quickly.
- And I know noone should cry for the poor cis het male, but being told all your life that only chicks are attractive, and that you can only be a consumer of beauty and not a producer? That’s not healthy for blokes either. As you can see in the questions asked in the Relationships topic here.
- As for lesbians… my reaction downstream from Molly, via Melinda Gwin, was to reject the question as implying “are there lesbians because girls are hot according to heteronormative contingent cultural norms of femininity that a lot of lesbians overtly reject?” The heels-wearing, unironically femme “lesbians” of straight porn doing endless kissy-face may match the criteria of “hot” underlying the question; but they do not correspond to the life experience and predilections of all actual lesbians.
- Or so I am told.
So yes and no. Lesbians are lesbians because girls are hot. But the girls a straight man finds hot are not necessarily the girls a lesbian finds hot. Guys are hot too, despite the pernicious standard narrative. And lesbians aren’t lesbians because of a straight man’s notion of female beauty. Or because women are somehow intrinsically and objectively more attractive than men.
Now normally, there would be some banter in comments between me and Melinda about the objective facthood of feminine pulchritude, and how her current, atypically male partner violates her better judgment. But you know what? He too is lovable, including physically lovable.