Sex differences in perceptions of desirable body shape.
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.
Sex Roles 01/2015; DOI:10.1007/s11199-015-0456-2 · 1.47 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Storybook tales, movies, and beauty magazines often communicate the message that beauty is malleable. Malleable beliefs are generally found to be beneficial, but this is not the case in the beauty domain. Across two studies, we found that the “beauty is malleable” belief puts women (but not men) at risk for harmful appearance concerns, such as basing their self worth on physical attractiveness, increased appearance anxiety, and increased interest in cosmetic surgery. These results were found when beauty beliefs were measured (Study 1) and manipulated (Study 2). Thus, the message that beauty is malleable has a potentially harmful effect on women’s lives. This work also suggests that the typical finding that malleable beliefs are beneficial may reverse when the domain in question has unattainable standards.Social Cognition 01/2014; 32(5):466-483. DOI:10.1521/soco.2014.32.5.466 · 1.64 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Objective This study aims to investigate body image dissatisfaction in a community sample of men and women with the purpose of identifying whether concerns are consistent with typically ‘weight-related’ and/or ‘non-weight’ body parts, and how concerns relate to negative emotionality.Method Two hundred twenty-six participants completed an online survey battery.ResultsWomen experienced greater dissatisfaction with their bodies than men, with differences in specific body parts that resulted in dissatisfaction. Women experiencing high levels of concern with appearance reported very low satisfaction with body parts commonly endorsed by individuals with anorexia nervosa (i.e., weight related), rather than body dysmorphic disorder (i.e., non-weight related). Men reported greater negative emotionality when they endorsed very low satisfaction with one or more body parts compared to women. Both genders reported negative emotionality when concern with appearance reached high levels.Conclusions Findings suggest that for women, weight-related concerns are represented in the general community along a continuum, whereas, non-weight related appearance concerns, i.e., concerns consistent with body dysmorphic disorder, may not exist on the same continuum. In the future, it would be useful to determine the proportion of individuals who seek mental health services related to or unrelated to negative emotionality and/or weight-related body image concerns.Australian Journal of Psychology 05/2015; DOI:10.1111/ajpy.12092 · 1.08 Impact Factor