With temperatures warming up, lots of us are probably thinking about what we are going to do to get our “summer abs” or “bikini body.”
We’re probably spending a lot of time at HIIT classes or devoting a whole lot of energy to the keto diet. But what if it turned out that looking like a Victoria’s Secret Model wasn’t the ideal body type and we’ve been doing all of this for absolutely nothing? Well, not nothing...
We've all heard the sweet sounding sentiment, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Writers love to write it, and women love to hear it. And while we're not here to get into a philosophical discussion about whether or not it's true, we are here to ask one question: does science say beauty is objective?
Apparently, it does.
Science Will Surprise You
A 2016 study from The University of Texas revealed there is an actual ideal body type for women. But it doesn’t look like a typical model walking the runway. Many articles citing the study have claimed the perfect female body has a bust/waist/hip ratio of approximately 39-25-36 inches.
So, what... a scientist asked a bunch of guys to rate pictures of women and then calculated the average measurements? Not exactly, but a reasonable assumption. The science isn't just based on visual appeal. It goes beyond our primal instincts to the core of our very existence. Sounds intense, right?
Devendra Singh, PhD, writes: "The evidence summarized in this paper demolishes the myth that beauty is ever-changing, skin-deep, and superficial. The attractiveness judgment based on figures defined by waist-to-hip ratio is a robust phenomenon evident in various cultures. I have presented data to establish that the allure of the hourglass figure is "programmed" in the human mind, because it provides important biological information about a woman's youthfulness, health status, and fertility."
The allure of the hourglass figure is "programmed" in the human mind, because it provides important biological information about a woman's youthfulness, health status, and fertility.
The Woman with the Most Beautiful Body
Numbers are cool, but what do those ideal measurements actually look like? The study found that the woman who fits all the parameters of the most beautiful body is none other than British model and actress Kelly Brook.
Pleasantly surprised? You aren't the only one. She's undoubtedly beautiful, but probably not what you were expecting since she is approximately a US size 10.
What Men Want
Another study showed that at a subconscious level, most men pretty much dig the same thing and are all attracted to just a few characteristics. One of these is having a youthful face and body features. This is probably a surprise to absolutely no one. But the other thing most likely to attract men is looking both healthy and fertile.
So what does this all mean? Well, put down the cake pop or chia seed pudding because it’s about to get confusing.
The Purpose of Being Human
The reason why the ideal body type has large breasts and hips isn’t that men are wired to see them as sexually arousing because of social conditioning. It’s because, from a scientific point of view, humans were designed to procreate. A body with larger hips, breasts, and midsection is pretty much a sign to men that screams, “I can give birth to your (our) babies!”
Larger hips signal that a woman has the sufficient space to carry a developing baby, as well as the strength to push a 7-9 pound fully developed baby out of her vagina. Crazy! It's no wonder women have a higher pain tolerance than men.
Larger breasts signal a woman's ability to feed and nurture a child. And since we were designed to procreate, it makes sense that men would be wired to look for the ability in a woman to sustain and nurture what they create.
Since we were designed to procreate, it makes sense that men would be wired to look for the ability in a woman to sustain and nurture what they create.
So basically, even though these body parts are beautifully designed to encourage procreation, the science suggests that the subconscious reason men find them desirable isn't simply because of the pleasure they offer DURING sex, but because of the vital purpose they serve AFTER sex in the healthy development and nurturing of what sex brings - new life. Pretty crazy, huh?
Hold the Advertising
While Brook’s body is ideal according to science, it turns out she wasn’t ideal for her modeling agency who allegedly called her “plump” and suggested that she lose some weight. Luckily, she didn’t listen. While many of us believe that having a stick-thin figure is the only way to attract the opposite sex, it turns out we’re entirely wrong. Bigger (to a degree) is in fact better!
So why are models expected to be so thin?
Because they’re supposed to sell clothes, not convey fertility and child-bearing potential, says Jennifer Lee, who formerly worked for the late designer Karl Lagerfeld, the legendary head of Chanel. Designers choose models who can serve as "human clothes hangers" and can showcase the lines and structure of the outfits they wear.
It's Time to Stop Feeling Bad
But please don’t take this as permission to be unhealthy. While Brook doesn’t have perfectly flat abs, it doesn’t mean it’s okay to eat an entire pint of ice cream every single night.
However, we are saying the next time you’re out to dinner you totally should order that crème brûlée or chocolate cake for dessert without any guilt on the side. DO IT! A healthy lifestyle includes pleasure in moderation and staying away from extremes. Also, love your curves because they are scientifically ideal!
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