Is skinny the ideal?

Posted on October 24, 2011 by


From an old The Age article:

According to the figures, the jury is in: men will choose a Rubenesque size 14 over a stick-figure size 8 when it comes to their ideal woman.

Admittedly, the science could be seen as somewhat superficial.

It is based on an online survey — not the most accurate means of obtaining information — of 60,000 men conducted by laddish men’s magazine FHM. The relevant issue is published tomorrow. The mag found that when shown pictures of three bikini-clad models, four out of five men said they were more attracted to the size 12 and size 14 models than the model who was a slimmer size 8.

The majority of votes went to the size 12 woman, with 41% saying that she had the body shape of their “ideal girlfriend”. Almost as many men voted for the Nigella Lawson-esque size 14 model.

“A piddling 20% of readers selected our size eight model pictured as their ideal girl-physique,” wrote FHM editor Ben Smithurst.

“Which proves one thing, ladies: crack a beer, hoe into a hamburger and we’ll love you just as much.” Or maybe even more.

Body image experts take a less superficial view of the so-called research, but admit that it carries some, well, weight.

Professor Marika Tiggemann from Flinders University said that the results supported academic research on the topic. “We find women want to be thinner than what men find attractive,” she said. “Men’s idea of what is ‘thin’ is larger than that of women. Unfortunately, a lot of people think being thin demonstrates being in control or being disciplined, while being fat is a sign you’re weak.”

The editor of women’s magazine Cleo, Nedahl Stelio, said that most women did not diet for men but for other women.

“Most men I know would go for more boob over thinner thighs, but women, by nature, are competitive with other women,” Stelio said.

“And if the society and celebrity ideal is thin, that’s what she’s going to aspire to, just to get one up on other women.”

Posted in: Relationships