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Men Want This, Right? Not So Fast

2 studies suggest that women overrate men's taste for 'skinny models'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2020 5:01 PM CST
Men Want This, Right? Not So Fast
Model Adriana Lima walks the runway during the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show at Pier 94 on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, in New York.   (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

(Newser) – Looks like men aren't quite as gobsmacked by skinny models as women might think, PsyPost reports. New research shows that men and women overestimate the others' obsession with very thin female bodies—but "this misperception was strongest when women estimated how men would react to the models' bodies," the researchers say. Published in Sex Roles, their work revolves around two studies. In the first, they had 548 college students assess 13 pictures of female models and rate them from 1 "way too thin" to 7 "way too fat," then 1 "extremely unattractive" to 7 "extremely attractive." The participants, who were split about evenly by gender, were then asked to guess how members of the opposite sex would evaluate these women.

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While men and women ranked the models similarly, each overestimated how much the other would fawn over skinny bodies. The study authors, Sarah N. Johnson and Renee Engeln, then ran a similar test among 707 US residents aged 18 to 86, and found that men gave the models higher ratings, while women tended to call the models "too thin." But again, each gender assumed the other would like skinny models more than they actually did. The study comes at a time when other research has shown that most female models are underweight—sometimes thanks to risky measures—and many women feel bad just looking at skinny models. (Read more fashion model stories.)

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