Sex differences in perceptions of desirable body shape.

Journal of Abnormal Psychology (Impact Factor: 4.86). 03/1985; 94(1):102-5. DOI: 10.1037/0021-843X.94.1.102
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Using a set of nine figure drawings arranged from very thin to very heavy figures, 248 male and 227 female undergraduates indicated their current figure, their ideal figure, the figure that they felt would be most attractive to the opposite sex, and the opposite sex figure to which they would be most attracted. For men, the current, ideal, and most attractive figures were almost identical. For women, the current figure was heavier than the most attractive figure, which was heavier than the ideal figure. Both men and women err in estimating what the opposite sex would find attractive. Men think women like a heavier stature than females report they like, and women think men like women thinner than men report they like. Overall, men's perceptions serve to keep them satisfied with their figures, whereas women's perceptions place pressure on them to lose weight. The sex differences we report are probably related to the greater incidence of dieting, anorexia, and bulimia among American women than among American men.

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