Nikki Madle

Curator of TEDxUNCAsheville, TEDxUNCAsheville

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Why are women considered more beautiful the thinner they are?

I find it frustrating that media portrays women as more attractive the thinner they are. It seems that over the last century or so, it has slowly become what is considered attractive to most of society. Even the skinniest of models are photo shopped in magazines to make them appear even thinner.

Statistically speaking, there are up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffering from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) in the U.S, and it is majorly due to the pressure that people feel to lose weight, even when they are in a healthy body mass index range.

It used to be that thin and tan women were considered unattractive compared to the fair skin and healthier bodies of the wealthy. So, was it simply that having more fat was a symbol of wealth, and the wealth was what made them attractive, more so than their body shape?And why then did "the skinnier the better" become the new beautiful?

What are some ways that we can combat eating disorders and boost body image for people of all ages by promoting healthier body weights?

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    May 30 2014: Here's one point where I think the fashion industry gets a bad deal. Models used on catwalks or in fashion shoots need to be thin for reasons of practicality. Different styles siut different body shapes. So, if you want models that can wear anything you need models with no body shape. The curvier people get the more different thier bodies are. The problem is that this practical use of women with no body shape is misinterpreted by society as an example to be aspired to
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      May 30 2014: I never thought about it that way. That makes a lot of sense.
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      May 30 2014: Peter, I think you have a great point.

      Here is another one - in order to manufacture a ton of clothing the industries must adjust people to their boring unified standards - sounds ridiculous? Yes, not for the industries. We live in the age of the RULING mass production...

      In old times people had their clothing done by tailors or by themselves.. Boy, would this be super to have a personal taylor, invent your own outfit ?
      • May 31 2014: Those "old times" are about 250 years ago, actually. Mass-produced clothing has been the rule for a very long time in the USA.
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          May 31 2014: Hey Bryan :) 250 ago? -- is not exactly true. I've found the USA museum recorded facts.

          "Mass production of uniforms necessitated the development of standard sizes. Measurements taken of the soldiers revealed that certain sets of measurements tended to recur with predictable regularity. After the [Civil] war, these military measurements were used to create the first commercial sizing scales for men."

          "The mass production of women's clothing developed more slowly. Women's outfits generally continued to be custom-made well into the 1920s. In that decade, factors such as the development of industrial production techniques, the rise of the advertising industry, the growth of an urban professional class, and the development of national markets accessed through chain stores.."

          "Ready-made articles of clothing were portrayed as modern and fashionable during a time when the new consumer industries were rapidly redefining the way Americans viewed mass-manufactured goods. Instead of seeing the purchase of mass-produced clothing as entailing a loss of individuality, American women began to accept the pieces of ready-made merchandise as convenient, affordable"

          "However, the new ready-made clothing often fit poorly. Garments of widely different dimensions were frequently labeled the same size by different manufacturers."

          http://museum.nist.gov/exhibits/apparel/history.htm
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    May 29 2014: Despite the media portraits bone thin women as beautiful, real men think healthy women are by far the most beautiful. In fact the main believers in the bony is beautiful myth is girls and women.
    Do women find unhealthy looking men handsome? If not why believe men would find unhealthy women desirable?
    And men have a wide range of taste when it comes to women’s physical features, for every body type there are tons of men the will go WOW that is hot!
    So no need change so you look just like a airbrushed fashion model.

    I’m wondering Nikki, How do think the Video gaming industry is portraying women? There are several game designers that are TEDsters, so that could be a good place start combating eating disorders? Hmm? To think of it game designer Jane McGonigal the creator of “superbetter” I think would love to add that to the game, if she has not already has done so.
    http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_the_game_that_can_give_you_10_extra_years_of_life
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      May 29 2014: In any older video game I have ever played, women are portrayed as nothing more than sexual objects. In most games, there is a male hero that, at some point, has to save the weak, beautiful, damsel in distress. Even games that portray women as the heroines resort to designing their outfits as scandalous as possible, to please the largely male gamer population ( not to say that everyone is heterosexual of course). Indeed, video games generally follow the same rules as movies and magazines. Thin is beautiful, but more than that the bigger breasted the video game character the better, especially if she is barely wearing any clothing.

      I want to see a video game that empowers women by using a female heroine that is wearing somewhat normal clothing in terms if decency. There are some, but not many, and personally, I think it only serves to promote women as sexual objects in the eyes of gamers to have then portrayed as otherwise.
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        Jun 2 2014: Ah, you're such a REAL girl, Nikki. It's sooo rare that you're not a victim.

        I'd like to know that are some momen like you in this crazy world.

        I also think that many men easily fall for that fashion and lose their sense of what is real and what is not / Women Fashion is like creating Duck decoys but for trapping and hunting men/
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    May 28 2014: The self-appointed beauty police would seem to be the fashionistas who inhabit the popular media. Without their opinion-forming activities, ordinary people's opinions on what constitutes beauty would, I'm sure, be very different and a lot more healthy.

    Many people, including me, would strenuously deny that the popular media had any influence whatsoever on my own personal opinions - but a part of me knows that actually it does. Such is the insidious nature of 'subliminal messaging':

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subliminal_stimuli

    If attitudes towards beauty can develop in this way without awareness of its antecedents, it is effectively a creation of reality 'by the back door', without the benefit of direct experience.

    Skin and bone/size zero, I find unattractive - repulsive even, because of the dissonance in the appearance of illness with what we are being told is attractive. It doesn't sit well in my mind at all.

    An attractive woman, for me at least, is one whose body shape is a result of a mind that is completely comfortable with it, if that makes sense.

    If the mind only exists for the body, it is the wrong way round and is inherently unhealthy. It leads to dissatisfaction at best, mental illness at worst.

    An old cynic like me would say that the media's idea of size zero 'beauty' is deliberately at odds with a food industry hell-bent on the opposite - obesity. Put those together, and you get the highly lucrative dieting/fitness industry forming in between.
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    Jun 5 2014: Hi Nikki,
    It would be good if people did not feel "pressured" to lose weight, and it is also important to KNOW if we are healthy or not. I do not think that skinnier is better, and the media promotes what sells. If people knew more about the body/mind and how it functions, we would probably see more healthy people.

    You cannot try to be what everyone wants you to be....living your life through other people's perceptions...and expect to be happy and have inner peace and contentment. One way to be more healthy in mind and body, is to KNOW THYSELF and KNOW that we all have choices regarding our health. If people stopped buying everything that promotes and encourages skinny unhealthy bodies and eating disorders, we might see more healthy people:>)
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    May 29 2014: I may be barking up the wrong tree here, but do you think, Nikki, that there is almost a presumption in the feminine psyche to become as masculine as possible in a male dominated society? Is the vogue for sinewy, gym-honed thinness in females a male trait that fits within such a presumption?

    Why has feminine beauty become degraded into something that craves equality with men, rather than the beauty that has evolved within the preservation of 'difference'?

    Is equality more important than clear differences within opposites? Which has the potential for the most vitality and energy?
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      May 29 2014: I think that in a lot of ways women do make themselves more man-like in the name of equality. Many of the younger generations especially actively pursue the idea of gender equality by means of engaging in casual sexual relations. The idea is that if men can have sex without feeling any sort of emotional connection, why can't women do the same? The same kind of idea can be seen in topless protests.

      I once witnessed one of these protests and watched as many of the "supportive" men would follow the topless women around, making sexual comments and taking pictures and video of the women's bodies. In their effort to make themselves equal with men's rights, in this case to go shirtless, it seemed to me that they were making themselves even more visible as sexual objects, and encouraging men to degrade them.

      I think that it would demonstrate that women have a drive to become more masculine if there was an observable, significant need for women to feel and look as muscular and strong as their male counterparts. I have seen this need for masculinity in several women, but the majority are satisfied with the idea of men being the ones with the larger muscle mass (which is great since biologically speaking, men are always going to be able to build more muscle based on their biology).

      I personally think that there is a lot of wisdom in embracing the unique strengths and weaknesses in the different sexes. Instead of fighting to become something that we are biologically not made to be in order to demonstrate a right to equality, we should be supporting the idea that men have biological qualities that make them better suited to certain tasks while women also have affinities for others things. At the same time, I don't think there should be a distinction in pay between sexes. Is that contradictory?

      Can't we have equal rights, while also embracing and even celebrating the differences between us?
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        May 30 2014: Hi Nikki.

        No, I don't think what you are saying is contradictory at all.

        Evolution, sexual desire, longevity in partner relationships, and parental role models for children, are inextricably entwined within clarity of gender in my opinion. In this respect, I worry also about the increasing feminisation of men as much as I do the masculinisation of women, and the effects those blurred boundaries may have on future generations. Those are genetic and developmental boundaries handed down by 200,000 years of evolution - not by modern social affectation and artifice we ourselves have created.

        You are right - in contrast to the 'givens' of evolution and biology, the society we have created for ourselves should have equality ingrained within it. The fact that it doesn't is an indication that it has been created by men. It is definitely a patriarchy we are currently living in, which might explain inequality of pay and the paucity of equal rights for women. A patriarchy objectifies women to the extent where it becomes blind to the strengths and weaknesses - not only in women, but also many men who do not wish to conform to the social 'norms' of a patriarchy. For my sins, I am one of those, and have a deeply held respect for what women can do better than I could ever hope to.

        This means I don't always fit in - especially in the typical male dominated workplace. The 'laddishness' and misogynistic posturing I find absolutely nauseating and literally destructive of the nurturing of talent and natural abilities of those who don't conform.

        Biology is not the malleable thing the media and modern society would like it to be - it will always remain an imperative. We can pussyfoot around with social engineering as much as we like, but the 'biological anchor' of gender distinction will always be deeply embedded within the human psyche.
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      Jun 8 2014: I know that some girls who are born to be girls would not want to change, to become aggressive and manly. It's revolting and even scary,well, at least for me.. . I do not recognize these as girls..these are some "guys" in between. There is always a girl's graceful way can be found to get what she wants without yelling and kicking men around.. I also know for sure, that men are going absolutely crazy when they see a feminine girl. This makes them feel more manly and even responsible!! Men so enjoy to feel the difference!

      Cannot thank you enough for your comments, Allan.

      Sorry - real girls are very rare, not easy to find these days (not in badly pretentious show business)
      It's not my favorite subject "men and women" - but I think something must be changed in that fashion-madness. That super-sick-ugly-pop-image that makes no slightest sense must be replaced with something more attractive, more natural and hopefully a little more intelligent.

      Only people themselves can make this change - by manifesting more intelligent, prettier, more charismatic fashion and behavior then that mindless aggressive disaster, dominating our society today.
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    May 31 2014: Nikki, We have been programmed to think this way. Do you really feel a six foot 100 pound woman is the symbol of health.

    Beautiful people come in all forms ... but it starts with them liking themselves ... and that love shines through and allows us to share their happiness.

    Thats how I met my bride of 45 years ....

    Be well. Bob.
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    May 30 2014: Actually, I have to admit that I picked a girl who was small and slim... but it was not that she was beautiful... she was, but that was not my consideration. It was advice my father gave me... He said "marry a girl you could whup in a fair fight" Well, it has never come to that. But as I think about it after these 50 odd years, I am not so sure anymore, She is still in great shape, weighs the same and is still active.... me, not so much.
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    May 29 2014: Unfortunately our society is aesthetically driven and the media is driven by profit off of our obsession with aesthetics. Collectively, we cast our "votes" on what is aesthetically appealing through our choices and purchases. In this case, unrealistic beauty sells mainly because it is unrealistic. Thinness just happens to be the current ideal, even if photos are heavily edited via Photoshop and/or the models starve themselves and are airbrushed to fit this ideal. The problem is that we collectively subscribe to these ideals.

    If we want to combat eating disorders and body image problems, we need to educate ourselves on this illusion of idealized beauty. We also need to stop buying into advertisements. Long story short, when it comes down to body image, we are always our own worse critics. Yet interestingly enough, some of our biggest perceived "flaws" are characteristics that others find most appealing. This video demonstrates this matter quite vividly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jg-O7f_1Ngc
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    May 28 2014: the thinner they are to a point, I don't think you're considered beautiful if you look this?: https://www.google.com/search?q=super+thin+anorexic+woman&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=LXCGU6S8K8q3yASL3oDYDw&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ&biw=1280&bih=899#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=kQ7z-WidF6ocwM%253A%3BqLu0hcfRh0ddqM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252F1.bp.blogspot.com%252F_10yYjoTIYE0%252FS8JT2xX1hwI%252FAAAAAAAADjQ%252FkOFH_y-d_0o%252Fs1600%252FAnorexic-C%2525237.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.2medusa.com%252F2009%252F01%252Fanorexic-bulimic-pro-ana-mia-some-tips.html%3B896%3B1600

    Well, the truth is that a person is healthier and more active if they are thinner, weight slows you down and saps your energy. I have found an easy way to stay thin, for the last five years I have been living on milk, every day I drink about two gallons of skim milk, plus a little pure cream here and there, and I hardly eat or drink anything else. It is quite pleasant, and I maintain at around 165, 168, which puts me right in the middle of normal on the BMI for my height, six feet, one inch. I do look thinner than most, but in fact it is just the middle of normal, it's just that most people are a little heavy. I do feel better and have more energy at this weight and on this diet. And I look better, more bright-eyed as well as thin, in fact at least a little modelesque, if I do say so myself. I got this idea from the Masai tribe of Kenya, the Masai are famous for living only on products of their cattle, milk and beef. I like beef but I feel better on milk.
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      May 29 2014: That's interesting about the milk diet Greg. Is it organic milk you drink?

      Do you suffer any ill-effects at all, like digestive problems?

      I do know that when I eat organic beef I feel physically better - which is at odds with the 'experts' who say beef should be avoided for health and environmental reasons.
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        May 29 2014: yeah, about a year ago I shifted from what they call conventional milk to organic. conventional is what they call the factory farm, where the cows are crowded into small corrals, lie in their own manure, the hay is grown and cut somewhere else and then brought and dumped in front of the corrals and the cows stick their heads through iron gates to eat it. With organic milk, the cows have a better life, for instance, here in California, for a farmer to call his milk organic, he has to graze his cows on real grass growing in a real field at least 75% of the year. Organic is more expensive, but I pay it for the cows. However, I have noticed some benefits for myself from organic. When I shifted to all-organic, I immediately noticed my beard got lighter. This was a welcome change for me, as it made me feel more cultured, less barbaric. Eventually I noticed my nose produced less mucus, which was also nice since I was picking my nose less.

        No, there's no ill effects, it seems all positive. I do very well on my annual physical as well, on the last one they drew three or four vials of blood and subjected it to about 80 tests, and I placed in the normal range on all 80 tests, which I think is very hard to do and it felt like was very impressive to my doctor and her staff. I have a youtube channel called "Greg Dahlen" where I've put five or six videos about living on milk, Allan, I can't go get you the link because I'll lose what I've written here, but if you check it there's one video where I actually show the viewer the blood test results, I don't know the whole title but it begins with the word "update."

        Well, I got this idea from the masai tribe of Kenya, who live on milk and beef from their cows. I like beef, and personally I think it's the healthiest of the meats, but I think milk is healthier so I stick with it. I do follow a Masai saying, "If a man drinks milk....................
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        May 29 2014: and eats meat on the same day, he is a glutton." Hence every day I have to make a choice, and I always choose milk. I think one good thing about the masai is when they eat beef, they don't add anything, there's no hamburger bun, no barbecue sauce, just the beef. I hear it's the sauce that can pack on the calories, and I doubt the bun is any prize either.

        I started this diet because I had eye pain and couldn't get a satisfactory solution from my optometrist, and the diet has been a satisfactory solution. I actually think the diet could help with many diseases, including major ones like AIDS and cancer, and I am trying to interest the medical establishment in testing it.
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        May 31 2014: yeah, I love my YouTube channel, although I wish the videos looked better, I just do them on a webcam, I do have a camera but I think when I upload from the camera they lose a little focus, whereas straight from the webcam the focus is good but the light is bad. But the info is good on the videos, a lot of them take up similar themes to the TED conversations, but it's a little different feeling being on film versus reading and writing replies. There's a little more freedom making a YouTube video as you can talk about what you want and aren't as constrained as you are in a TED conversation where you have to respond to whatever the other person has said, plus please TED itself.
  • May 28 2014: First, the USA is not the only culture in the world. Other cultures have other standards.
    That being out of the way, the reason is simple: The value of women in the USA is their desirability as hedonistic sexual objects. Their suitability as companions, as mothers, as household managers, or to get even more radical and crazy, as HUMAN BEINGS IN THEIR OWN RIGHT, not defined merely in terms of what a man might want out of them, doesn't matter. They do not exist except as F--- toys. That's it. That's all they're valued for in our culture. There might be a tiny amount of lip service to the contrary, but look at the reality. What are girls taught to be and become? Bratz dolls. Toys dressed in the working uniforms of prostitutes and gold-diggers.

    Is Beyonce noted for her academic achievements or geopolitical accomplishments? Is Shakira? Women exist in the USA to be toys.

    It's immoral. It's indecent. It's disgusting.

    It's reality.
  • Jun 9 2014: I think now we all have a distorted idea of what a womens body should look like, we shouldn't prefer it neither curvy nor thin, we should just all appreciate the body of others as well as our own. i think the fashion industry has made us think this way by showing us models stick thin, but its not their fault either since a top would look neater on a woman with small breasts as opposed to one with normal sized ones. not better but clearer for the buyers to see and for the camera to capture.
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    Jun 6 2014: That's really disgusting to think about... But I have ways found it a little strange that there are guys at my university that find women with the body size of a child more appealing than the average.
    • Jun 8 2014: It's quite disgusting to think about, but consider the "ideal" ways that sexually attractive women are supposed to act when not actually having sex. They're all supposed to be "fun" and "playful" and not worry about "responsible" things. They're supposed to be malleable and pliable and just go along with what the man wants. In short, they are to be mental children. Our culture has a great deal of sublimated pedophilia in it--the female "ideal" really isn't an adult women, it's a late pre-teen or early teen girl. Models starve themselves to have the body shapes of little girls. So, physically and mentally, the "ideal" American woman is no woman at all but is a sexually active child. Completely disgusting, but it's the nasty truth.
  • Jun 6 2014: Culturally institutionalized pedophilia probably contributes. Little girls are usually very thin compared to grown women. A country that has decided that pedophilia (if properly disguised) is acceptable will, therefore, idolize stick-thin women.
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    Jun 4 2014: I'm not in the fashion world , nor do I desire to be. But frankly I'm sick of you continue to perpetuate the myth of " the media tell us how to see us " because in this way we assume that people do not have the ability to decide what we like and what not.
    What is a fact is that you can not blame people who have a preference for a thin or obese person, or any condition we want to talk. Since, everyone is free to be attracted to who they decide.
    And since we 're going in the theme of human weight and health , I think that a few years ago a " scientist " who did not like what the obese people looked like came up with the theory that it was bad for health and from that moment and we have a real excuse to discriminate against obese people , appealing to "I dont feel repudiation for the obese people , but they are not very healthy," using the "scientific shield."
    Until today , I dont believe 100% that obesity is the problem that is said to be by "science".
  • Jun 4 2014: People can blame any one aspect of society but the basic truth is... its cultural, and temporal (the trend has changed over the years many times). Also, trying to blame industry for selling things in a way that people will buy them is immature at the least and novice at best. Even in today's society there are many differing points of view; however, there does seem to be a concept in female western culture that drives women to compare themselves to one another, and in this women think that men seem to have a similar standard because they are immersed in it. It would be similar to men thinking that all women want a man who is overly muscular. Culture and media tells western culture yes, but reality tells us no. Here is a random dissertation i found to help you understand this from one doctoral students perspective through the lens of psychology. ENJOY! (http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/97941/meiguan_1.pdf?sequence=1)
  • Jun 4 2014: I love all women. Always have.
    Kissed the girls in grammar school.

    Lived with 7 different women, 2 were sisters.
    Married a short chubby gal for 20 years. 3 kids.
    30 years later she's still my friend, as are my kids.

    I think size and shape is for Playboy magazine,
    and for the 12 years old boys to dream about.
    And, once in a while, for old men to peek at.

    It is the nose that creates love.
    You smell good to her and she to you. Bingo.

    The gay thing I ignore. Arabs, who cares.
    But women, ahhh, I love them all.
    Of course, like all men, I'd like them a bit quieter....
    Am I bad?
  • Jun 4 2014: Nikki, you have to like yourself before the door will open to others. There are billions of guys out there and more than one will think you are the greatest thing since sliced bread. But until you open the door by accepting yourself, no one can enter, because you are holding the door shut.
    "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you", does this sound familiar?
    Worrying about the media, is like worrying about your age, worrying "is" the problem? "Don't worry, be happy :)"

    "Ain't got no cash, ain't got no style
    Ain't got no girl to make you smile
    But don't worry be happy
    'Cause when you worry
    Your face will frown
    And that will bring everybody down
    So don't worry, be happy
    Don't worry, be happy now"
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      Jun 4 2014: I don't lack confidence when it comes to dating. My self esteem is generally quite high...but there is still a little voice in the back of my head that comes out around swim suite season that I should eat less and work out more so that guys will find me even more attractive. That comes from Media. And millions of men and women have similar experiences.

      That's why I posted on the forum. I just wanted to know if other people had been thinking about this issue and had ideas about moving towards a solution.

      But you are absolutely right. Worry less. Be happy. It's a great philiospphy to live by.
      • Jun 4 2014: "That comes from Media"
        I believe that comes from acceptance that the media is "right", which it very rarely is. One of the reasons my TV went into the trash in the 70's and it has been there ever since. Do they still make those things? Any media I get is from the internet and it is also getting intolerable to me but I use it to create my own media, websites, blogs, storage of the media I do enjoy while it is still available.
        Having a TV in my home is like is like an annoying person or animal in my home, I do not put up with that either. I am responsible for my own domain. Even when I socialize with others I maintain my space and if someone is annoying and keeps infringing upon my space, I let them know or leave so that we can both continue to enjoy our own domains. Probably why I do not and have never liked crowds. I cherish my wide open freedom and space, probably another reason I do not stay married for long periods of time, three years seems to be my limit so far, however I remain friends and often better friends after divorce. I like that phrase "friends with benefits", it properly describes my happiness level and domain. We enjoy each other when we are close and also when we are apart. It also allows me to be happy when I am with someone and more importantly, when I am alone. When I am alone I consider myself a citizen of the world and therefore never alone and with the internet I can prove that I am indeed a citizen of the world. On the internet as with TED, I extend my domain to the far reaches of space and time, not just of this world but the entire universe, both large and small. Am I alone? I am what I think I am.
  • Jun 3 2014: You are of course talking about western culture. In some native cultures a chubby woman is considered healthy and desirable, e.g. the south sea islands, part of Africa. But lets leave them out of it for now. Certainly, most men, I would say a good 90% are not interested in the sort of thinness seen in models, they just look gaunt and rather lifeless. For some reason this very thin model type has been adopted by the fashion media as something to be desired for a woman. We can see this very clearly in Hollywood where clearly healthy women are asked to become unnaturally thin in order to be considered acceptable in movie roles. Two prime examples come to mind, one is Naomi Watts and another is Kate Winslet, both of whom lost a good deal of weight in order to fit in. In the case of Watts, she now looks way too thin. For most men curvy women are very attractive, the question now arises as to where this need for thinness comes from.
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    Jun 3 2014: There may be a thin line that separates healthy thin, which is what many strive for, and unhealthy sickly-looking thin. Is sickly-looking thin beautiful?
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      Jun 3 2014: Well, I agree. I'm just not sure where that line is. I am a small girl already, and I still find myself wishing I was as skinny as super models are or even the people that have lost weight for their roles in Hollywood: people that look like they don't even eat.I know many people that are the same way. I know it's a mental thing... I'm just not sure how to combat it.

      I wish we could inspire body confidence in the minds of healthy, but not necessarily skinny individuals into our society as a whole. But how?!
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    May 31 2014: It's women you have to convince and there is no greater infector than American media. My countries newscasters have changed from gapped toothed afro style something 40's women to these skeletal young brittle haired looking prettyish blonds and george cloony like men.

    Blame women. As cars are our fetish so are your bodies are to you.
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    May 31 2014: We all are victims of the media. It sets aesthetic standards for us. However, some people are so addicted to such standards that they themselves not only believe firmly" the skinnier the better" but also become judgmental. If your boyfriend gives you a cold shoulder becaus of your weight. Wake up, sweetie, he just not that into you. Do not let mundane problems hinder you from remembering your true Self.
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    May 30 2014: I prefer to think that we've evolved (somewhat) socially, and that our commercial representations of beauty attempt to reflect that. Is it possible that the fair skin 'healthier' bodies of old may have a hint of racism in the 'fairness' of skin, and a not-so-subtle flaunting of wealth with a plump, well-fed girth? And regarding 'plumper' = 'healthier', I think cholesterol intake has become a real health concern and found to be a contributor to the dangers of excess fat in post-modern times. How about women's equality in professional and amateur athletics and the health benefits of being physically active? Not many overly-thin women there. All these, and many other discoveries and trends, influence our re-evaluation of what's 'attractive' today. Regarding models, the only overly-thin ones are runway models, and they're just basically human 'hangers' not to interfere with the clothes. I feel the real problem with women's perceived 'beauty' these days is not their 'thinness', but their objectified sexuality - and women are just as guilty in the portrayal.
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    May 30 2014:
    Reasons:.
    . 1. Do not know our instinctive competition is for keeping our DNA alive..
    . 2. Do not know invalid competition (out of the valid scope of the instrinct).
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    May 30 2014: The worse of the worst I see in following brainless fashions is when so many people are brainlessly manipulating their own bodies just to fit those rediculous fashions, for instance, lose a lot of weight and then "install" all kinds of artificial parts like breasts, or behinds. Fashion is also a very Bloody business.

    If people from the old ancient times would take a look at our contemporary "beauties" they would faint - horrified.

    I've looked at some interesting statistics revealed by the amazed researchers --- when still unmanipulated by popular fashion school boys have been asked to choose the most attractive girl's body shape and faces on pictures depicting a few different kinds, the majority of these boys have selected the most avarage type.

    Well, I'm sure that the boys' taste will change fast with time and they will be chasing very agressive types of loud girls, taller than themselves and who'd be as skinny as possible, no matter how demonstratively disprportionate they might be. And women will continue chasing those mail types which are popularized in movies or magazines ( in my modest opinion quite revolting types in every way..)

    To make sure that at least some of us are not manipulated by money-making gigantic industries we have to take responsibility for ourselves and create our personal fashion suitable for our personal nature.
  • May 29 2014: Well nikki...the more obvious answer to this question can be given by a petite and lean frame person.. And I take the charge in that order..
    Just forget the question and think about any tv persona you personally appreciate.. Do you like her because she is awesome in her respective field or just because she looks jaw dropping good..
    And why just you..most of us..ostensibly fall into a category.. Where we like or dislike someone just the way they look..!
    Isn't it the superficiality which has taken over?
    And trust me nikki.. Being a woman yourself you might also admit that feminity is not about being lean and skinny.. But to admire respect and accept the flaws and flesh of herself.. That is beauty and that is power of her..to adore herself and make others to do so..
    I am not speaking vague..being lean..it's no fun or beauty.. But to be vincible and vulnerable to every sort of despotism by the ones who are physically stronger..
    I accept the fact that people want to look good...but it is wrongly portrayed as being emaciated..
    Someone has rightly said that beauty lies in eyes of beholder..
    It is all about the pursuit but not on the imposition.. And it's us who has to decide..no matter belonging to what nationality.. A woman is a woman through and through
  • May 29 2014: There may be historical reasons for this standard of beauty. Many ideas have been passed down from antiquity (ancient Greece and Rome) and I have heard it said that our ideas of beauty also have this origin. I have read that in ancient Greece, the adolescent male was considered to have most beautiful form...tall, thin, androgynous-looking....sounds like a supermodel to me, though...

    I think people are now realizing that this ideal is not fairly applied to women, and for my part I agree with the commenters who have said that healthiness is gaining ground as a measure of what is beautiful.

    Of course it is also worth noting that there are exceptions to both of those ideas....e.g., Rubens.
  • May 29 2014: That seems to be in the West and a recent trend, looking at history and what was considered beautiful. Many cultures still hold to the belief large is beautiful.
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    May 29 2014: I think it may have something to do with some of these factors/beliefs:

    1. The slimmer you are the more a man looks bigger in comparison, thereby boosting his ego.

    2.The lighter you are, the easier you are to carry, the more you boost a man's ego.

    3. To stay true to our identity as the weaker sex

    4. Ladies don't eat everything off their plate.

    5. One woman tried it, she looked great, the rest decided to join then took it too far.

    6. Expensive food doesn't come in big portions so the bigger you are, the cheaper your food.

    I think some of those factors influenced and the only way to reverse it would be to encourage individuals to think for themselves. Magazine covers for one, 90% of the time the headlines give you reasons to hate yourself "try this diet, buy these expensive clothes, this would make you pretty, look like the girl on the cover" all things we can't do, substitute those with actual reasons to love yourself more then maybe size won't be a problem.
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      May 30 2014: Interesting point, but it leads to the question do women really want a man that is in bad need of ego boosting?

      Also from a good guy point of view, it seems the media is telling women to desire bad-boys and that good men are boring.
      So does this all mean the bad-boy egomaniac-image, is just a act OR is it a warning sign of an abuser? ?
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        May 30 2014: In my experience, I find that the bad boy facade, if it is a facade, is a warning sign for lack of a desire to commit to a single lover, not necessarily abuse. That's also an idea that is portrayed in media, don't you think?
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          May 30 2014: It is not a façade, what you see is what you get!
          Media has wrongfully convinced a lot of women that they can turn a bad-boy into their dream good man. And it’s simply not true!
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        May 30 2014: Yes and no, you don't want a man like that but you'll probably date him anyway for whatever reason.

        Confidence is associated with bad boys and that's why they're all over the media. It's not a good way of marketing the quality but that's what happens and I don't think it's an act, some people are natural risk takers.
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          May 30 2014: Yes and no, you don't want a man like that but you'll probably date him anyway for whatever reason.

          Like most men (if not all), I will never understand the workings of the female mind. :-0
          The egg is rotten but I'll probably eat it anyway?
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        May 30 2014: What you see is certainly not always what you get. It depends on on the person. But, I think that you are right. Many women do think that they can turn a "truly" bad boy into a great person, and unlike in movies, they do not usually succeed.
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      May 30 2014: Hi Ashley. I'm sorry to say, but your 6 points made me laugh. They are as stereotypically 'anti-male' as a man saying: 1) women are all gold-diggers, 2) women like bigger men because she needs to be 'taken care of', 3) women use sex to 'get a man', 4) and the more expensive the food, the more 'worthy' the man is. 5)Etc. Oh brother.
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        May 30 2014: Then you got the point! I wasn't being serious :) These are just things I've heard/read. I'm not anti-male at all and it might be funny but like all other stereotypes that's the reality for someone out there. I do still believe in what I wrote after the six points though.
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          May 31 2014: Ha! Thats good news. Magazines are in the biz of selling magazines, and just like self-help gurus, talk shows, and 'motivational' speakers in this multi-billion $ biz they clean up on our self-loathing, reinforcing our deep innate fears of what pieces of crap we really think we are and how we won't measure up - but they're gonna save us by selling us beauty and success and style and sexual attractiveness, and we're gonna be smarter and better and more beautiful and then finally, finally, we'll deserve to be loved. The only problem is - by whom? Thanks for the feedback :)
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    May 28 2014: I wasn't even considering the other cultures around the world because I have never gotten to experience anything outside of the U.S. That being said, I am really interested in learning about what is considered attractive in other cultures, so if anyone has experience or knowledge to share on that topic, I would love to hear!
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      May 29 2014: Most African cultures prefer bigger bodies, it's a sign of wealth and curvier bodies are more aesthetically appealing there.