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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Gimme Curves: Beautiful, Self-Confident Women

"Researchers in three separate studies at Southern Methodist University found women were more positive about their bodies after looking at pictures of voluptuous women who were portrayed to being attractive to men.

"A woman's body image is strongly linked to her perception of what she thinks men prefer," says lead author and social psychologist Andrea Meltzer of SMU."

("Women’s body image is about what men like, study finds." MSN. January 15, 2015)

It is no secret that many heterosexual women tend to believe that men prefer females with ultra-thin bodies whose image now dominates the media. But, it seems that altering women's perception regarding the fact that many men actually do desire women with larger physiques may be effective at improving women's body image.

This finding is very significant in that women with a positive image of their physique tend to eat healthier, exercise more, and have a superior overall self-image. The result -- these women have higher levels of self-esteem and lower levels of depression.

Despite the positive results of her studies and their potential to improve women's health, Meltzer admits it's not clear how long the resulting positive body image lasts and the media remains a pervasive threat to un-doing them.

(Andrea L. Meltzer and James K. McNulty. "Telling Women That Men Desire Women With Bodies Larger Than the Thin-Ideal Improves Women’s Body Satisfaction." Social Psychological and Personality Science. December 10, 2014) 

Believe me, men lose their minds over sexy "curvier" body-shapes. I conclude this from decades of personal experience garnering opinions of hundreds and hundreds of healthy male compadres. I say in all honesty that the guys I known prefer an hourglass figure over a stick figure. The right set of curves transforms most men into silly buffoons sneaking second glances and taking every opportunity for closer inspection.

When I use my experience to enter the beauty debate between shapely and thin, I do understand that "fat" (Can I use this word in a politically correct manner these days?) is not particularly attractive to most men. "Fit" is preferable to "fat" as I understand the most sought-after figure of a beautiful
woman; however, how much "meat on the bones" males prefer must be measured on a wide scale.

"To all girls who die for zero figure, remember real men go for curves,
only dogs go for bones."

--Author Unknown

Ladies, I'm sorry to speak of you in impersonal terms of flesh and bones. Please understand I do not judge character or worth on weight scales and images. At the same time, I understand the intense pressure on women to be attractive to the opposite sex. And, I fully believe the repeated exposure to the thin ideal via various media can lead to the vast internalization of a phony belief that women cannot be too thin.

Nancy Hayssen, who has written a book title 101 Sexy Secrets: How to Be Hot, Sexy & Beautiful at ANY Size! addresses sexiness and size. Consider how the media's influence has changed women's conceptions in the past couple of decades:

"Twenty years ago, most fashion models were a size 8. Today, that's been replaced by an emaciated size 0. Meanwhile, during those same two decades, the average American woman, who stands 5' 4", ballooned from a size 10 to a size 14. Fun fact: A 14, which is now considered a 'plus size,' was approximately sex bomb Marilyn Monroe's dress size."

(Nancy Hayssen. "Female Body Shape Men Like the Most." Netscape. 2015)

Women are being lied to everyday. The fashion industry and Hollywood have spread the myth that men want skinny, anorexic-looking women.

That sentiment was echoed in a recent poll of 4,000 adults conducted by British weekly magazine Grazia to find out the ultimate attractive man and woman. Men overwhelmingly said they are most attracted to women who have curves, rather than skinny women, and 78 percent said a woman's most attractive feature is her smile.

A stunning 93 percent are looking for someone who makes them laugh, while 73 percent want someone who will "automatically" pay for a meal. Men are a practical lot. Three-quarters said the hobby they find most attractive in the opposite sex is cooking.

Good self-esteem is not just about attracting men. Too often women sacrifice huge parts of themselves to be with a guy, while giving up their friends, their interests, and their lives. To a woman, a positive self-image is important in nearly every aspect of her life.

I, for one, am glad to see this positive research about more voluptuous women. I think many reasons exist for trumpeting the findings. Ladies worry so much about their appearance, especially about their weight. Here are some facts in support of my opinion:

* Culture places a higher value on physical beauty in the evaluation of females than males.
* Thinness has not only come to represent attractiveness, but also has come to symbolize success, self-control and higher socioeconomic status.
* Girls are consistently taught from an early age that their self-worth is largely dependent on how they look. The fact that women earn more money than men in only two job categories, those of modeling and prostitution serves to illustrate this point.
* Girls are more influenced and thus more vulnerable to cultural standards of ideal body images, than boys are.
* Negative body image is associated with suicide risk for girls, not for boys.
* Studies that investigated the incidents of anorexia nervosa during a 50-year period and found that the incidence of anorexia nervosa among 10-19 year old girls paralleled the change of fashion and its ideal body image.
* Forty percent to fifty percent of women smokers smoke because they see it as a primary means to control their weight. Of these women, 25% will die of a disease caused by smoking.
* In a Kinsey survey it was found that women felt more embarrassed when asked about their weight, than when they were asked about their masturbation practices, or occurrences of homosexual affairs.

"In life, as in art, the beautiful moves in curves."

--Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton, English novelist, poet, playwright

I believe its not just breasts, hips, butts, and thighs that benefit from firm curves, but killer, sexy features like soulful eyes, inviting lips, and sweet faces suffer from this thinness craze. Framed in emaciated bodies, sensual facial features lack energy and allure. We can trace scientific theories about how certain curvy features appeal to males because of their fertility potential, but I believe the inborn attraction to a healthy, fit woman is just plain satisfying to a man's image of natural beauty. 

 Show me a man who doesn't ogle a female's curvy body whether it is attired in a dress, in a sweater and a pair of blue jeans, in a business suit, or in a bikini, and I will show you a man who probably isn't interested at all in the opposite sex. Ladies, God made us men this way: simple, single-minded creatures who adore the feminine figure. I admit to being both sexist and visually stimulated. A lovely, curvaceous woman is a beautiful sight.


               hourglass shape

          you move like silk sand
            sly in steady pursuit
       dancing down like falling rain
  "I breathe you in like cherished air"

Contest: Nette's Pyramid
          Date: 6-5-14

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