Wednesday 7 December 2016

The weight debate: Her view

Yvonne Hogan

Published 17/04/2010 | 05:00

Every time there is a mention of how the fashion industry promotes unrealistic expectations of female beauty, the old chestnut of how men prefer women with curves is rolled out as if it somehow proves that the pressure to be 'perfect' is perpetrated solely by women themselves and the gay men who dominate the fashion industry.

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Straight men, salt-of-the-earth simple souls that they are, are perfectly happy with us women just the way we are.

"Why all the body issues?" they say. "Don't mind those fashion magazines. Sure, don't you know that we prefer natural, normal women? You know, women with normal bodies such as Dita Von Teese, Christina Hendricks and Kim Kardashian." Indeed.

What they really mean is that they prefer skinny women with boobs and a firm bum to skinny women with no boobs. And to have boobs while being skinny is not normal for most women. If it was, God wouldn't have made the man who invented breast implants.

The last 'scientific' survey to validate this 'you womenfolk are too hard on yourselves, we love you nice and chubby, just the way you are -- why aren't you grateful?' theory was published last year by the University of New South Wales.

Men eschew the bodies of Playboy models in favour of the average girl next door, which is apparently a size 14 (when did size 14 become the gold standard anyway?), the study found.

Of course it did. The 100 men who took part in the group were students, and therefore ridiculously PC and anxious to say the right thing. Also, the fact that they were asked to rate the attractiveness of line drawings of women's vital statistics instead of actual photos, negates that study, as far as I am concerned.

Women have, since time began, been judged by their appearance and driven to desperate measures to conform: women in the 19th century were incarcerated in whale-bone corsets, now we have Spanx and plastic surgery to ensure that we are nipped and tucked in all the right places.

In fairness to men, they didn't pull this big boobs and pert bum thing out of thin air. There is a genetic basis to it. Popular wisdom insists that men are biologically predisposed to lust after women with impressive T and A, but this is a perversion of the truth.

In actual fact, it is all about the waist to hips ratio, which is associated with higher fertility and lower rates of chronic disease.

A father and daughter team named Professors Singh from the University of Texas studied literary texts from the 16th to 18th centuries in Britain, ancient India, Egypt and South America in order to ascertain what men found sexy through place and time, and a small waist came up trumps every time.

Interestingly, career women are supposedly less curvy as they carry more fat around their stomach and hips. This is said to be due to their increased secretion of androgens, hormones including testosterone, which help women become physically stronger and more able to withstand the stress associated with the workplace.

A healthy waist to hip ratio is something we should all aspire to, but boys, Dita Von Teese, Christina Hendricks et al, though curvy, are not normal. They are beautiful freaks of nature. So when you are qualifying your assertion that you like normal, curvy women, don't use them as examples. Your statement is spurious enough as it is.

When the massive sales of Playboy, Penthouse and the other 'softer' lads mags fall to nothing and men start drooling over the women in Take A Break and Woman's Way, then we'll buy the 'we prefer normal women' line.

Irish Independent

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