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A new study of the images accompanying news stories posted publicly on Facebook by prominent American news media outlets finds that men appear twice as often as women do in news images, with a majority of photos showing exclusively men. Researchers chose to study news images on Facebook because the site standardizes the presentation of news images and text across outlets.


A study that didn't need to exist in the first place had that will surprise no one, because that's the way things work these days.

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The study, published in PeerJ and titled "The relationship of female physical attractiveness to body fatness," aimed to examine exactly what the title suggests — how physically attractive women are to men because heteronormativity based on their "body fatness.

Greater body fatness might reflect greater potential to survive famines, but individuals carrying larger fat stores may have poor health and lower fertility in non-famine conditions. Red Online wrote about the study, and the article headline was provocative if not triggering.

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Researchers conducting the study used a sample size of 1, men from only 10 countries. While that sample size is fairly decent, surveying men from only 10 countries can hardly be seen as a comprehensive guide to what men of today really think about women.

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The participants were all shown 21 sample images of women with varying BMIs and asked to rate the attractiveness of their bodies. This is a bad and demeaning practice.

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BMI has been debunked as an indicator for healthand the procedure they chose to use reinforces a toxic paradigm we see so often today — rating women based on their attractiveness and nothing else, in a system where aesthetic is the only measure of worth.

Though this is arguably the point of the study, normalization of things like this is also the reason we're in this mess.

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Red Online writes of the study, "The most popular card depicted a female body with a BMI of 19, which is borderline underweight and associated with youth. This is another toxic idea to perpetuate, and it's here that we have a responsibility to talk about the immense pressure studies like this and the way we talk about them puts on women.

Writing about these findings as though they're the true window into what men really want is dangerous, especially given that these specific findings literally tell us we'll be more desirable if we're underweight or close to it and if we somehow get younger.

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We already know more or less what society thinks men like because the "ideal woman" is plastered all over the place, and we fight those beauty standards every day by asking for more diversity and inclusion in the fashion and beauty realms. However, even super models can't escape comparisons from each other, as websites ask, "Which Hadid sister wears a bikini better?

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The pressure comes from everywhere — it's not even just coming from men we may or may not hope to be in relationships with eye roll. Women are constantly reminded of ridiculous standards, even and sometimes especially in Hollywood.

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Actress Jamie Denbo, 43, was recently told she was "too old" to play the wife of a year-old actor in an upcoming project. Jennifer Lawrence was recently told by Sharon Tate's own sister that she wasn't pretty enough to play Tate for an upcoming project, as well.

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While it's possible that men form their preferences based on societal cues and they're just pawns in the same game that hurts us, as well, it doesn't mean we need to hear any more about it. In fact, we should keep pushing for more diversity and representation — perhaps, as a byproduct, preferences will change. In the meantime, forget the studies.

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The body you have is great, just the way it is. Follow Rosemary on Instagram and Twitter. Celebrity Fashion Video.

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Keywords studies body confidence women men.

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While it is obviously not true in all cases, women generally have a higher percentage of body fat than men.


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Generally speaking, compared to women, men are less dissatisfied with their own body and consider themselves to be better-looking and less overweight.


For a certain subset of the male population — referred to in the scientific community as "fat admirers" — overweight women are the ideal.