This is something that has stuck in my head for a while, but it took an article on the BBC web site to bring it home:
Male students at St Andrews University were asked to rate female faces for attractiveness and health. The study found that girls with an average weight and build were ranked as being the most attractive and healthy.
We all know that there are a certain number of women out there who starve themselves, binge and purge, whatever, just to fit in that teeny-tiny dress. But here’s the thing: they’re not doing it for guys.
Look in Playboy. The women there have rounded hips, bubble butts, and of course, bodacious hooters.
Now look in Cosmo. These are the women in the size zero dresses. Watch a New York or Paris fashion show. Look at the stars women follow in the Star and InStyle. With a few exceptions (which actually prove the rule: see how many times the Kardashian sisters are referred to as “full-figured”) they’re consistently thinner than the average Playboy model.
Women are starving themselves to be accepted by each other, not by us.
Whether subconsciously or consciously, we men want our women to have curves — it’s what defines them as healthy women. There may be no overweight women in Playboy either, but that’s for the same reason: basic biology tells us to seek the women who look the healthiest.
So when I see something like this:
Professor David Perrett, who supervised the project, said: “In our study, people in the normal weight range were judged healthier and more attractive than under or overweight individuals.
“This sends a strong message to all the girls out there who believe you have to be underweight to be attractive.”
I shake my head, because the study misses the point. No message will be sent by men to these women, because we aren’t why they’re doing it.