Here is a harrowing stat for your Monday morning – 29% of men think about their appearance at least 5 times a day. Clearly physical appearance is priority in this day and age for both men and women, but what is the ‘ideal body’?
Tim Olds of the University of South Australia measured the bodies of models, shop mannequins, porn stars and other ‘traditionally desirable’ (and rather unrealistic) body shapes and here’s what he found.
Apparently, the hyper-ideal female body is not only thin, but shapely. Quite the predicament when thin women tend to be less shapely, and shapely women aren’t usually stick thin.
The study mentions ‘hip-to-waist’ ratio as a consistent index of how attractive a woman’s body is. Men lust after women with ratios of about 0.6-0.7, featured on the likes of Kim Kardashian, Angelina Jolie and Scar-Jo.
As for facial beauty, another study that asked poeple to rate the atractiveness of female faces found that facial symmetry is key for both sexes. Men with symmetrical faces report more sexual partners, and symmetrical couples report more orgasms.
Facial symmetry is said to subconsciously reflect an ability to resist infection and injury, and is hence an ‘honest advertisememt’ of good genetic material.
It’s not all about the hyper-ideal female body, either. Male attractiveness is apparently related to a triangular body shape: broad chest, narrow hips, high chest-to-waist ratio. Muscularity is also prime – did you know that the size of GI Joe’s biceps more than doubled between 1965 and 1995?
Cultural theorists argue that ‘beauty’ is socially constructed (like most things these days) while sociobiologists, on the other hand, argue that thinness, shapeliness, and symmetry are markers of readiness of women to bear children, and the virility and strength of men.
Whether we’re programmed to find these traits attractive by nature, or nuture, we recommend always remembering beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
[via The Coversation]