The saying goes: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” This may not be as true as we once thought. Of course, beauty is subjective and what one person finds attractive may very well be unattractive to another. But determining the ideal male and female body seems to be easier then we assume it to be; in general, we all share the same vision of the ideal male and female body.
A study reviewed and approved by the School of Psychology Ethics Committee of Newcastle University in 2012 used a 3D interactive software system that gave forty Caucasian men and forty Caucasian women the ability to build a virtual male or female body. The first ideal body was what they desired for themselves, and the other ideal body was what they desired in a partner. They were asked to set this ideal body size and shape, and the body size and shape of their ideal partner using the DAZ studio image manipulation program.
Men preferred a more muscular shape than women
Through this study, it became clear that what we find attractive, what we find to be the ideal body, has more to do with evolution than with what we see in front of us. Both men and women created images that showed a fit and healthy body, mainly because this increased the reproductive success of both sexes. Women with small waists and wider hips were the ideal body for both men and women of the study. It is thought that such characteristics are holdovers from our reptilian brains, which alerted us to females who would be better able to carry a child. The ideal male body, on the other hand, is one with an inverted pyramid shape. This shape inspires the old reptilian brain to sense virility and, again, reproductive health
Women preferred a larger bust size for themselves
Another study conducted by UCLA examined the weight and BMI index that constituted the ideal female body. In this study, only men were used as test subjects. They were asked to arrive on site hungry, and then were taken to a dining hall and asked them to select the most attractive women in the room. Almost across the board, the subjects selected heavier women as having the ideal body. Then, as a control experiment, a second group was taken to the same dining hall, but this time they had been fed beforehand. Almost all selected thinner women as possessing the ideal body. This is true for less fortunate societies where there are extreme food shortages, as well. Heavier women are considered to have the ideal body.
The real conclusion of the 2012 study is that selection processes for men and women are not dissimilar in the slightest. In fact, they are significantly alike. There were some basic differences: men tended to prefer more muscular bodies for themselves, while women preferred less muscle; men preferred a smaller bust size for women than women did for themselves. However, in terms of overall body shape, the ideal body is very much the same for both sexes.