Sexual Equality and the Thin Body Ideal

SilhouetteOliver James, writing in The Guardian, draws attention to research that investigates the connection between achievement and thinness in women. Studies have shown that a female preference for smaller breasts and buttocks when viewing female silhouettes is associated with ‘masculine’ careers and greater academic achievement. Could this be partly because women with a curvy shape are perceived, on average, to be less competent and less intelligent?

The assertion of the article that ‘career women’ strive for more masculine figures is highly speculative. After all, a thin figure might simply be the result of avoiding a curvy figure, rather than the striving for a ‘masculine’ ideal. Other claims that female emancipation is historically associated with a slighter silhouette might be a coincidence. Nevertheless, there’s some interesting circumstantial evidence here.
The Guardian

About the author


Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and the author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick". You can follow PsyBlog by email, by RSS feed, on Twitter and Google+.

Published: 19 June 2005

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