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Old 07-24-2006, 05:56 AM   #16
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Originally posted by VertigoGal
actually it'd be interesting to see men post pics of what ermm "body types" they find attractive...although I'm sure it'd turn into another breast thread.
It would run as a spectrum with slight figured girls on one end all the way up to a figure like Titian's Venus Anadyomene, the classical aesthetics defintely hold attraction since the attributes are those most condusive to fertility, there is an innate drive for fecundity however it manifests however this is going to be offset by social pressures. We are slaves to evolution and that dominates sexuality but doesn't diminish the artifact of the mind that recognises beauty.

So things such as bilateral symmetry, clear complexion, appealing 0.7 waist to hip ratio, BMI (to an extent) and feminine features are all quantifiable factors in sexual attraction.

Emaciated and obese are two extremes that hold no attraction to most, slight to pleasantly plump can see manifestations of beauty but it's a combination and convergence of factors behind it, a convergence largely governed by our genes or cosmetic surgery budget.
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Old 07-24-2006, 06:15 AM   #17
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now it all makes sense.
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Old 07-24-2006, 07:29 AM   #18
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I can think of worse intellectual hobbies than thinking about the nature of attraction

It certainly is an interesting set of fields, the factors influencing behaviour are diverse and at times controversial with disciplines like ev-psych.

The wildcard in this is intelligence, which is strongly correlated to status making it a powerful trait for humans.

Is intelligence sexually selected - like the peacock evolving large tails to impress mates?

If it is then is there any correllation between intelligence and attractiveness?

If there is a connection how long has it functioned - could such a pressure have influenced human evolution?

I do remain adamant in my anecdotal opinion that sexy transgresses any single weight or body type but can appear across a rather diverse range. To tie this back to the topic though we are looking at what is a mental illness which is removed from sexual attraction, people who suffer this illness have the wonder of the internet to enable it furthur, I suppose that it is sad but I think it is unfair to lay blame upon society as a whole for being willing consumers of a thin ideal.

For a sliding scale of attractive women and depictions maybe go from slight to slender to classical beauty and whatever may appear in between.
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Old 07-24-2006, 08:01 AM   #19
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it's scary to think what our society is going to be in 10 years!
If surgeries such as stomach banding can reduce the incidences of obesity then they should be supported, it's all well and good for the fit to get all moralising but at the end of the day if there is an effective means of prevention/cure (but it takes a lot of commitment on behalf of the patient) then it will help stave off far worse health risks later on in life.
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Old 07-24-2006, 02:24 PM   #20
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Whats wrong with curvy?



in some countries (like mine) many men are still atracted to those kind of women
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Old 07-24-2006, 04:18 PM   #21
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in some countries (like mine) many men are still atracted to those kind of women
I'm not a man so I could be wrong but I think there can be a big difference between who men consider naturally attractive and what their particular society tells them about who they should find attractive and be partnered with to be considered successful and admirable.

A bizarre and destructive cycle for everyone.
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Old 07-24-2006, 07:29 PM   #22
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Whats wrong with curvy?




Anyhowlink

I've always thought Sophia Loren was the sexiest woman on the planet, but then I'm a woman myself, so obviously I can't speak for men.
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Old 07-24-2006, 08:19 PM   #23
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The fact that this above is considered curvy is a sign of our times.
Not a comment toward you, A_W.
That's exactly what I thought. The woman is and always has been thin!
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Old 07-27-2006, 05:44 PM   #24
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Media's thin celebrities influence women's eating disorders

ANN ARBOR---While the appearance of waif-like models in the media may send a dangerous message about eating disorders, general fitness and fashion magazines and television shows with thin characters also play a key role in influencing irregular eating patterns of young women, says Kristen Harrison, U-M assistant professor of communication studies.

In a survey of 232 female undergraduate students at a large Midwestern university in 1994, Harrison found that about 15% of the women met criteria for disordered eating---signs of anorexia or bulimia, body dissatisfaction, a drive for thinness, perfectionism and a sense of personal ineffectiveness. The study, which appeared recently in the Journal of Communication, shows that magazine reading and television viewing, especially exposure to thinness-depicting and thinness-promoting media, significantly predict symptoms of women's eating disorders, Harrison says.

According to the study, reading fashion magazines in particular is significantly related to a woman's drive for thinness and her dissatisfaction with her body, although magazine reading, in general, has little effect on body dissatisfaction.

Harrison says that the relationship between mass media consumption and symptoms of women's eating disorders appears to be stronger for magazine reading than for television viewing. However, watching "thin" shows is a consistent predictor of a woman's drive for thinness and viewing "heavy" shows is significantly related to body dissatisfaction. "Why does body dissatisfaction appear to be more strongly related to television viewing than magazine reading, whereas drive for thinness is more strongly related to magazine reading than television viewing?" she said. "Similarly, why is body dissatisfaction related to viewing 'heavy' shows and not 'thin' shows?"

Harrison believes that the drive for thinness is a learned behavior that sources such as magazines explain how to achieve (e.g., dieting and exercise). Body dissatisfaction, on the other hand, is not associated with a particular action or behavior and, instead, is a set of attitudes, not intentions.

In a related study using the same sample of women, Harrison found that an interpersonal attraction to thin media personalities is related to disordered eating above and beyond the influence of mere exposure to media, even those that depict or promote thinness (she defines interpersonal attraction as a perceived similarity to a female celebrity, and a fondness for and a desire to be like the famous woman). Being attracted to "thin" characters in shows like "Melrose Place" and "Beverly Hills 90210" positively predicts general eating disorder symptoms---anorexia, bulimia, drive for thinness, perfectionism and ineffectiveness---whereas attraction to "average" and "heavy" media personalities do not.
This study is obviously somewhat dated, and the article doesn't provide the clearest summary of it; I just picked it because I happen to know the author and something about her research. You could find plenty of other studies confirming and attempting to explain the same types of findings though; it's a staple topic of eating disorders journals.

I was reminded of Harrison's study because I went and looked at some "pro-ana" websites (I'll skip posting the links), all but one of which did indeed have "thinspiration" galleries, and what really struck me about the pictures posted was that, for the most part, they were obviously just scans of photos which had already appeared in mainstream "beauty"/fashion or celebrity magazines. And the "interpersonal attraction" factor cited was evident, too--several of the sites grouped together all pictures of particular famous individuals by name, "Keira!!" or "Nicole!!" or whoever--as if it were a fansite, which it otherwise obviously wasn't; the interest was purely in them as icons of desirable thinness.

Which I guess highlights the problem (relative to the media responsibility issue) of pinning down precisely what kinds of messages these magazines could be argued to be "sending." I suppose for a lot of people they're mainly a pleasurably escapist pastime of sorts--kind of like the way people with no serious aspiration to become domestic arts maestros enjoy Martha Stewart, or people who in actuality live on Chinese takeout and popcorn enjoy Bon Appetit or Food Network. But then you don't hear too many people talking about the shame and inadequacy and self-loathing they often feel for failing to have a lawn like Martha's, or for being unable to cheerfully bounce into the kitchen on half an hour's notice and create a fabulous meal like Rachel Ray.

IMHO, you can't ultimately say that the images themselves are the problem. It's rather that they're appearing in a sociocultural context where--especially for women, and most of all for teenage girls--being physically desirable is pervasively perceived and experienced as THE paramount index of self-worth. In such a context, ideals of beauty--which are by definition unrealistic; that's just the nature of ideals--wield more power and and assume an inflated level of importance compared to the impact cultural ideals normally would have.

It would be great if responses like dazzlingamy's to this situation came naturally to everyone--ideals schmideals, so what; if people want to snuff out their own drive to find pleasure and enjoyment in life and instead fixate on all the "perfections" they'll never attain and weren't meant to, well then that's their sad problem. But I think unfortunately most people, female or male, don't really have the level of self-confidence (or self-assurance, self-esteem, whatever you want to call it) you need to enable such a reaction. The reality is most folks do have their baggage and their sore spots and their fears of always falling short to contend with, and that makes them vulnerable to becoming preoccupied with what, viewed in the abstract, might seem largely irrelevant for all but the most extreme exceptions. The unfortunate upshot of this, per the subject at hand, is that a majority (IMHO) of women wind up feeling far more often and far more deeply inadequate and unworthy than they should, and expend far too much time and effort and psychological stamina on pursuing what in the end is really just a grail and a proxy for desires that are better realized elsewhere. In other words, damagingly low self-esteem due to "body dissatisfaction" (as Harrison calls it) becomes normative.

That said, I do tend to draw the line at proceeding on from this to say that actual eating disorders are normative. Perhaps my sense of what constitues "actual" is writ larger than others' because the two people with eating disorders I knew best both eventually died, and I vividly remember seeing over and over the painfully obvious evidence of the intensely compulsive and addictive nature of their behavior. Long after they intellectually understood that they looked utterly terrifying to others, and not at all beautiful or glamorous, they remained paralyzed to stop, out of fear that everything they'd "worked for" would come crashing down like a house of cards, bringing the rest of whatever was left of worth about them down with it, if they only allowed themselves to eat a little more and exercise a little less. That is not normal, that is not average, and while it hardly makes normative low self-esteem look "good" by comparison, I'm very reluctant to accept phrases like "the culture of eating disorders" which you sometimes hear tossed about in popular psychology, precisely because they suggest that such behavior is somehow a normal, "understandable" response to media images or whatever other influence. It isn't, and in many ways it's a serious disservice to the millions of women who experience so-called "normal" low self-esteem on a regular basis to collapse their pain in with that of far more seriously disordered people whose problems call for a very different set of responses.

Partly because of the (in itself) benign nature of fascination with "Beautiful People"--when it doesn't rise above being an escapist pastime--and partly because of the relentlessly consumerist culture we live in, I'm afraid I'm pretty fatalistic about the prospect of the media trying to behave more "responsibly" in what ideals it peddles to consumers. I guess where this leaves me, as a parent if nothing else, is to keep striving to give my children the best all-around foundation I can for a healthy, non-narcissistic, positive-experience-based self-confidence, and to teach them to apply towards others the same sound, empathetic criteria for judgment that they would want applied to themselves...and hope that suffices to do the trick, as far as their ability to navigate all the billion-and-one potential sandtraps I can't control out there goes. It can be easy some days to get fatalistic about this too but I really don't know of a more feasible alternative.
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