Here’s my type: I like a guy to be taller than me (which is quite tall), slim with muscles but neither too built not too skinny (see Zac Efron in High School Musical), massively intelligent (I’m becoming less picky about this as I start to realize intelligent conversation is a rarity), no facial hair, and very, very pretty. Perhaps the latter is my hamartia considering that more than once, the guys I choose to hit on mention their boyfriend shortly into the conversation.
A friend and I had a long conversation about this; much of it was disbelief at societal preferences. “Evolutionarily, this “type” is unsound. Yet, so many girls go after men like this” he complained. Given, as troglodytes, the crux of every woman’s survival was to find a strong mate who could bring home a lion for her to eat (I understand the lack of historical accuracy). Thus, it makes sense for women to go after men who are muscular, bulky and have the capability of slaying a lion or any other massive beast. Whilst undoubtedly, there are many women who do in fact uphold this type, there are also numerous who do not. Perhaps in England, where the weight lifting culture is less prevalent than in the United States, females who have similar taste in men are rampant. Do keep in mind however, that I do not claim that all women are like this, just that there are women like this.
On the flip side however we turned our attention to women and similarly looked at societal preferences. A large portion of our conversation involved the ideal woman and her body. I had talked about working out and dieting, and explained I would give up my curves any day to be skinny and flat to which he expressed utter disgust. To my surprise, he explained that the ideal woman (to him) doesn’t have the body of a Victoria’s secret model but men like women with curves, even if that entails a bit more meat on them. This was revolutionary to me, considering I had spent a large chunk of my adolescent life flushing my breakfast, lunch and dinner down the toilet to try to attain this body. Furthermore, he explained that just as the idea of the thin, geeky guy has become an ideal, the remarkably thin woman with ribs jutting out as an ideal is evolutionarily unsound as well. Since women are meant to bear children, genetically they are built to have a higher percentage body fat, hips and of course, boobs. Yet, many women, such as myself, have let ourselves been deluded into believing that this is what men want. Perhaps even men have been brainwashed by the media into believing the same thing. What happened to women like Marilyn Monroe being sex symbols?
Women no longer strive for the fuller, curvier figure as the media has brainwashed us into believing thing is better. Urban outfitters printed a shirt saying “Don’t eat” on it and I noticed a friend’s phone background of a pink cupcake saying, “Skinny feels better than food tastes.” Personally, when it comes to a point that an eighth grader chooses a bottle of water over a pizza for lunch, we should all be concerned. We should not just be concerned for our sisters, or friends, but I am concerned for my future daughter to face these messages of self-loathing of her body. I for one understand what that feels like.
There are three body types: the ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph showing your natural body type. Each one of these body types being beautiful in itself. My disgust lies in certain body types (such as the ectomorph and endomorph) rejecting food –either not eating it or after eating it- in order to fit into another body type (mesomorph) because they are told that a size 0, and only a size 0, is beautiful. A survey according to psychcentral.com reveals that “between the ages of 25 and 46, 65% have behavioural issues regarding food intake and an additional 10 percent report symptoms consistent with eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder”.
However, it’s not just the media, it is the way that we regard weight as well. Many of us are guilty of the quiet whispers, in part glee or horror, at our enemies who have put on the freshman 15 (or 20) and vow not to do the same. When another person uploads a new profile picture of taught supermodel legs that had once been slightly plump, many mentally note how much better she looks. I beg of you, don’t get me wrong. I entirely support healthy eating, exercising and taking care of your body. It is only when I watch a friend push away her food to fit into those elusive jeans two sizes too small that I am covered by a blanket of concern that we have been taught that beauty is only when we can squeeze into that size 0 pair of jeans.
I blatantly remember meeting up with a guy friend in Paris one summer, who looked me up and down, told me I was both pretty and attractive but I could stand to lose ten pounds. Considering I was struggling to get over an eating disorder, his comment affected me immensely. We need to be more aware of the words we say, and the way we criticize people’s weight because it has a direct and possibly severe consequences.
Perhaps it is time to strip both evolutionary and modern day unrealistic expectations of the “perfect woman’s body”. Instead of striving towards looking like certain women in magazines (whether it be curvier, skinnier or more muscular), we should strive towards being happy with our own bodies, taking care of it- by eating well and by exercising- and if anything, accentuating our already beautiful bodies.