GEEZ. Our bodies just can’t get a break, can they?
Hardly a moment goes by without attention of some sort being paid to them, whether it’s a critical assessment of your own reflection in a passing mirror, checking out what kind of junk your coworker’s packing in his or her butt, a magazine ad suggesting what the ideal body type looks like, or a general conversation people nearby are having about feet (it happens). We’re always going to have opinions about bodies — we do live in them, after all, and we look at them to assess how we present ourselves to the rest of the world and to gauge our levels of attraction to potential suitors and friends alike. But the constant critiquing can be a little close-minded, and mostly directed at and felt by women — this is what men think ‘attractive’ is. But what about when we consider what women think of men’s bodies?
The pressure that arises around the ideal body type comes from a complicated blend of current societal standards and our own preferences, but for the most part what’s pushed upon both men and women is one in which the lower the amount of body fat, the better. A recent study, however, found that most women actually prefer a guy with a bit of a belly on him over a chiseled rock-hard abs gym bunny.
The study was conducted in England (so, yes, it’s possible that stateside we might have slightly different ideals), but it found that a whopping 75% of women would prefer Seth Rogen to Zac Efron in their real-life bed. And they actually, honest-to-goodness used those two examples of men’s body types for the study, as the duo recently shared the screen with lots of shirtless time in Neighbors.
At first glance this appears to be great news… all that societal and marketing pressure to conform to certain ideals of physical attractiveness is just a load of bull and we can return to accepting everyone for who they are and people will be less worried about their looks and we can all go about our merry way, eating cake until we’re satisfied and not until we think we’ve had enough. Except that’s not exactly what’s happening.
The study also looked into the reasons why the women poled preferred a Rogen bod to an Efron one, and the findings had to do with the women’s insecurities. 74% of the women surveyed said that they didn’t want a perfectly-chiseled men in “real” life because they would feel self-conscious about their own bodies while getting naked in front of them. It’s not, then, that they wouldn’t rather look at someone like David Beckham flexing in his underwear, but that they don’t want to compete with that level of fitness or feel threatened by its perceived perfection that could only serve to highlight their bodies’ lack of said perfection.
Well, that’s pretty lame, to say the least. If women can’t trust the attractiveness of their bodies in front of their lovers of all people, we’re nowhere near getting rid of the body stigmas we take on and perpetuate, especially the ones thrust upon us by media and the world of fashion. Sure, it makes sense that people might consider whether someone is in their league or not, but if it’s there for the taking, who is anyone to say to they’re not good enough to be able to enjoy it? Amazingly, a reported 50% of women have actually put off sex with a WILLING partner… because they were feeling “too fat.” Sigh.