A new study by a food company has shown that British women now prefer to be curvy than thin. Apparently Kate Moss’ physique is much less desirable than that of Kate Winslet or Nigella Lawson. Laura Bryant, from the company that commissioned the survey of 2,000 women, said: “[British women] are more concerned about getting a curvy hourglass shape like their grandmothers instead of being the perfect size 10 which shows a marked shift in attitude from the 80s and 90s, when success and failure when slimming was benchmarked against fitting into certain sized clothes.”
Apparently this is some kind of triumph. However, the real question is why women still desire to have any other body shape other than that which they actually have. What is with the inability to accept one’s own natural shape – be it thin, thickset, or any other variation? Why do we continue to long for the shape that belongs to another woman, to measure ourselves up against the physique of celebrities or even friends?
Rather than holding it up as a victory that women prefer a curvier body, we should ask why any body shape is still seen by women to be more desirable than another. With all of the progress women have made, the way in which we relate to our bodies – as if they are this external thing to be moulded and dieted into which ever shape is in vogue at the time – is still stuck in a previous era.
The mindset that a certain body type is ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ while another is ‘good’ or ‘right’ is not only untrue, but dangerous regardless of whether or not that body type is smaller or larger. Yet we women encourage each other and are encouraged to make value judgments about our own bodies and the bodies of others. Surveys like this ask women which body they prefer or are inspired by, if we actually have any choice over our genetically predisposed body shapes.
There’s no doubt that the results of this research will be used to push more products which continue to appeal to women’s insecurities and fears about their body shapes and their desire to achieve someone else’s shape. The fact that it might be done using curvier women is no better than if it’s done using stick thin ones.
Please no more surveys of this kind. Let’s have some studies done into what needs to be done to eradicate women’s desire to compare and contrast ourselves with each other so we can get to the point where all know that there is no body which is better than another.