Men like skinny women more than women do

A study conducted at the University of Granada has demonstrated that men like female thinness more than women and they find female overweight more unpleasant than women do.

In addition, the study revealed that women who are not comfortable with their body perceive women with a “normal” body –i.e. women with a healthy weight– as a threat. Specifically, when these women see a “normal” body they experience feelings of displeasure and lack of control, since they feel they have not any control on their own body and cannot make it be as they want.

Barris_Marilyn_MonroeThis research study was conducted by researchers at the Department of Personality, Evaluation and Psychological Treatment of the University of Granada. The authors found that women who are not comfortable with their body feel embarrassed and uneasy when they see themselves in a picture or video, especially if they are imitating the poses of a professional model.

A Study in 671 University Students

To carry out this study, the researchers performed four experimental studies with university students. As many as 671 students participated in the study. A total of 550 students participated in the first two studies (408 women and 142 men), 61 participated in the third study (28 women highly discomforted with their body and 33 moderately unsatisfied with their body) and 60 in the fourth study (30 healthy women satisfied with their body and 30 women with bulimia nervosa unsatisfied with their body).

Blanca Ortega-Roldán Oliva –one of the authors of this study– explained that the bodies that most like men and women are those of professional female models with a normal weight. “Men and women found these bodies highly pleasing and stimulating, although they made them feel a lack of control. This means that a sexy and stimulating body makes people feel a lack of control, as these bodies are considered difficult to attain or even unattainable”.

On the other hand, the study revealed that the body of a model with a normal weight negatively affects women that are highly unsatisfied with their body. Thus, unsatisfied women consider these bodies “unpleasant, very activating and unattainable (perception of lack of control)”. The reason for this perception is that these women cannot objectively evaluate a normal body in emotional terms, since they cannot avoid comparing themselves with it. This makes them feel upset, as they feel their body does not meet their beauty standards.

The Ideal Woman in Spain

In the light of the results of this study, the University of Granada researchers have demonstrated that the ideal woman in Spain does not coincide with that proposed by the media, which is currently the aesthetic and social standard. Thus, “Spanish men and women prefer the bodies of healthy models with normal weight”. This fact “should be taken into account by the advertising and fashion industry and governments, so that they help prevent the growing incidence of body dissatisfaction and the associated eating disorders”, the researchers recommend.

Finally, social pressure on women’s body might come from men, since they prefer thin women and stigmatize female obesity more than women. “Therefore, the conclusions drawn in this study should have an impact on programs aimed at preventing body dissatisfaction among women”, Ortega-Roldán concludes.

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7 thoughts on “Men like skinny women more than women do”

  1. I used to run a singles group – just a group for people to meet each other and enjoy activities that they might not be able to do without a partner. How many times men would talk to me quite honestly and I would hear “pencil thin”, “bone thin”, etc. One man described it as “a reflection of me and my success” – explaining that it meant he was successful if he could have a woman on his arm, or to be married to, who had the luxury of time to take care of herself. I still can’t fathom this. And I think I’m moving to Spain! I find it insulting. These are the same men with pot bellies and bald heads who don’t know how to dress nicely who think they have everything to offer and make very little effort. I don’t look at a pot belly (unless it’s truly unhealthy and gross), nor do I care about hair issues. I do care about a man who wants me first for me and not on how I look on his arm…I am not an accessory.

  2. “the study revealed that women who are not comfortable with their body perceive women with a “normal” body –i.e. women with a healthy weight– as a threat.”

    So why is the headline about “skinny” women? Great job, website editor.

  3. Post a mans profile on a dating website and express a preference for a slim woman and a lot of women will send you scathing messages.

  4. This is ridiculous. Any individual will like what he or she likes regardless of what a study generalizes.

    I happen to prefer large, fat women, and no study is going to make me change that.

  5. Oh, puhleeeeeeze…… A university had to do a study to discover that in general men don’t like overweight women, and in general, overweight women are uncomfortable and perhaps jealous around women who have a normal weight. What’s the next study? To determine if the sky is blue?

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