Sunday, August 05, 2007

Fantasy Females: Skinnier Every Year Since 1953

Following up on changing dimensions in the female form...
Research now shows the magazine's models have been getting thinner since Marilyn Monroe first stretched across its pages in 1953.

All but one of those selected as men's fantasy women since 1992 have been medically underweight, an analysis of the women's weight-for-height ratios found.

The fact the trend was continuing showed that men's idea of gorgeousness was not an immutable response, but was tied to fashion and culture, researcher Martin Voracek said.

Dr Voracek, a psychologist from the University of Vienna, went to the Playboy website for details of the height, weight, bust, waist and hip measurements of every centrefold model since the magazine began.

On crunching the numbers, he discovered the women were getting both thinner and straighter, with less difference between their waist and bust or hip sizes.

"The women are more tubular and skinny. Not really anorexic, but certainly very skinny," said Dr Voracek, who specialises in the psychology of mating and how it affects human evolution. "There are no simple formulas of what is maximally attractive to men in the female body. [Attractive features] are not constant. They change over time."

His study was published yesterday in the British Medical Journal.

An anthropologist, Maciej Henneberg, said the average Australian woman was becoming larger, and the divergence between real body shapes and those presented to men as ideal could have serious implications.

"Men remain adolescent for a lot of their lives and often prefer immature body shapes, this willowy, thin, adolescent look. This is, frankly, dangerous and may lead to pedophilia if men are pushed towards more and more immature bodies," said Professor Henneberg, the head of the department of anatomical sciences at Adelaide University.
This quoted from SMH.

You can read more about Dr. Voracek's study (2002) in the British Medical Journal -- and don't forget to scroll to bottom for a list of feedback and letters on the study. (PDF is here.)

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