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Her body image's strongly linked to what she thinks he prefers

sex and relationships Updated: Jan 14, 2015 19:15 IST
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A new research has revealed that it's all about the bass, demonstrating that women who are told that men desire larger-body women are happier with their weight.

Psychologist Andrea Meltzer of Southern Methodist University said that results of three independent studies suggest a woman's body image is strongly linked to her perception of what she thinks men prefer.

Meltzer added that on average, heterosexual women believe that heterosexual men desire ultra-thin women, and so this study suggests that interventions that alter women's perception regarding men's desires for ideal female body sizes may be effective at improving women's body image.

Meltzer continued that it is possible that women who are led to believe that men prefer women with bodies larger than the models depicted in the media may experience higher levels of self-esteem and lower levels of depression.

In all three studies, women had higher levels of satisfaction with their own weight after viewing the images of the larger women who were portrayed as attractive to men, while statistically controlling their actual weight.

Meltzer concluded that although the current studies demonstrated that telling women that men prefer women with body sizes larger than the thin-ideal can have immediate positive effects on women's body image, it is unclear how long these effects may last.

Meltzer added that indeed, all studies assessed women's weight satisfaction immediately after the manipulation and it would likely take repeated exposure to images of larger-bodied women ostensibly desired by men to strongly rival the patterns of reinforcement that are so pervasive in the media.

The study is published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.