Ever since the start of Kim Kardashian’s career, she has been turning heads with her curvy figure.
In fact, her famous looks have changed the standards of beauty, with millions of girls trying to emulate her iconic “slim-thick” body shape. Over recent years, we have seen hashtags such as #thicc, #slimthick, and #thick being posted millions of times on Instagram and TikTok.
The “slim-thick” female body shape consists of a tiny waist, flat stomach, wide hips, a large bum, and voluptuous breasts. It’s generally described as “curvy” and a “fuller body type.”
The Slim-Thick Study
A March 2022 study, conducted at York University in Toronto, revealed that the “slim-thick” body shape causes more body dissatisfaction than the ‘90s supermodel "ultra-thin" body shape.
Researchers Sarah McComb and Jennifer Mills surveyed 402 women between the ages of 18 and 25, a demographic that plays a significant role in usage of the photo sharing app, Instagram. The participants viewed 13 photos of influencers with a variety of body shapes: slim-thick, thin, and fit.
The results? Participants who compared themselves to the slim-thick influencers “experienced significantly more weight and appearance dissatisfaction, and less body satisfaction” than women who compared themselves to the thin-ideal imagery.
McComb told Yahoo Canada: “Even though the slim-thick body type touts a larger frame, it is not a healthier alternative to the thin-ideal for media consumers – it was actually more threatening to women’s body image.”
The slim-thick body type is favored by a larger number of women across ethnic backgrounds, while past research has revealed that the thin-ideal has appealed mainly to white women.
The study also said that to attain the slim-thick body figure, it would likely require plastic surgery or strategic exercises that increase muscle mass on targeted body parts to achieve the unique look.
Going from Anorexia to Plastic Surgery
This revelation may not be as shocking as it seems, considering that body shape has been a long-standing source of unhappiness for American women. Approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to achieve their ideal body shape. Unfortunately, only 5% of women naturally possess the body type often portrayed by American media.
As Kim Kardashian’s influence grew across the world, so did the popularity of her unique body shape. Over the last few years, the “slim-thick” body figure was heavily hyped up by her cult following and the mainstream media, collectively celebrating the acceptance of “curves.”
Could you blame them? It seemed to be a major shift away from the standard “stick skinny” body type, which emerged in the ‘90s and quickly became the ideal trend among the mainstream monoculture – from television to magazines to popular films for decades.
However, this ultra-thin ideal, also formerly known as “size zero” or “heroin chic,” has also been the cause of severe damage to women’s physical and mental health for decades in the Western world. For example, back in 2010, the BBC published an article titled “Is our obsession with size zero damaging health?”. The article cited a study revealing an 80% rise in the number of young girls admitted to the hospital with anorexia in England over the previous decade. The article included comments from psychologist Dr. Alex Yellowlees, who argued that the obsession with size zero was causing the problem.
Ultimately, as idealized bodies have continued to change dramatically over time, so have the increasingly unattainable standards of beauty – the “slim-thick” figure of today just seems to be the newest one. We seem to have swung from the size zero/anorexia side of the spectrum to the slim-thick/plastic surgery side – a new standard with a new unhealthy way to try to achieve it.
As cliché as it sounds, we all come in different shapes and sizes. We should embrace our unique body types and make the best of them. Instead of following the latest trend and aspiring to look like your favorite celebrity, the final goal should always be to become the best and healthiest version of ourselves. That is where true freedom lies.
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