It’s time to stop judging women’s bodies for ‘science’

Study something else please

We’re no strangers to having our bodies judged and it’s (unfortunately) not surprising when men do it. What might be surprising, however, is that there are genuine academic studies into what type of bodies men like — and two (two!) have been reported in the past week.

On Tuesday, the Daily Mail featured an article titled: “Which body type do men REALLY prefer?”, in which they gave a handful of men some eye-tracking devices and told them to look at women’s bodies, IRL.

Can u not?

Apparently this helped them work out the truth behind men’s favored body types, just based on where men’s eyes gazed first.

The truth is, they probably got hold of a few eye-trackers and didn’t know what to do with them, so the obvious was to turn to judging women’s bodies.

But it’s not just a question of playing with a techy toy for a piece of journalism (or whatever we can call that) though, because yesterday, the BBC reported an academic study by researchers at St. Andrews University. And the results are in — stressed men prefer heavy women.

Apparently, this is because skinnier women look more feeble and this shows an inability to reproduce.

This means that a few academics — including one woman — got together and decided it would be nice to find out whether men in high-pressure environments prefer their women to be skinny or overweight. But what even are the measurements for this? And what even is the point of a study like this?

Lead researcher Dr. Carlota Batres said via email: “I wanted to determine if, and to what extent, weight and masculinity/femininity facial preferences are malleable by repeatedly testing participants whose environment was not changing as well as participants undergoing intensive training at an army camp.”

“More specifically, we found that increases in the harshness of the environment led to an increased male attraction to cues of higher weight in female faces,” she continued.

“I therefore decided to trace how the face preferences of the same individuals change as their environment changes.”

But to many of us, this doesn’t dodge the fact there are still a load of people out there testing the attractiveness of women — based on what men are attracted to. Aren’t there more pressing things to study?

And why do we actually care what one group of men think? As a girl, I can safely say that I don’t. But apparently, scientists do.

Specifically, Dr. Batres said she thinks “both men and women have found the results interesting because it shows just how adaptable our partner preferences truly are.” But didn’t we already know that?

Surely there’s no way to categorize what the Daily Mail labeled “Instagram fit,” “curvy” and “skinny” when there’s only one representative for each, and there’s no point in a small scale study that makes an overarching assumption when every single person is attracted to something different.

It seems we need to get over ourselves and appreciate the girls in the bodies, not just what they look like.

It’s 2016 for goodness sake and in a world full of beautiful girls who all look different, why are we still letting men decide what is and isn’t categorically attractive?

It’s never been comfortable, and it’s absurd to think that research into this is getting anywhere. Can we just stop now?