We certainly hope not, but a recent study in the United Kingdom quizzed 18-25 year olds (women only, of course. Men surely don’t worry about such things…) about body image, and the group’s answers are more than a little unnerving. The survey found that 41% of women respondents would rather have bigger breasts than a high IQ. For women who aren’t necessarily that into the idea of a buxom bust, the survey offers a “slim figure” instead, which 44% would choose over high intelligence. The most staggering figure in my opinion, is that 79% of the young women surveyed said that their looks, rather than their smarts, are what they are judged by the most.
I wish my looks could pass my midterms for me next week!
This survey highlights the ceaseless emphasis placed on women’s appearances. Unsurprisingly, it suggests that women would mostly change their bodies to appeal more to men–59% said they thought that men valued looks more than brains when looking for a relationship.
I find the rhetoric of the survey problematic, as it suggests that all respondents are sexually attracted to men and, by omitting men themselves from the project at all, suggests that body image problems plague women only. I think it is reductive and retroactive to approach a complex subject like this with such glaring omissions in the research methods and presentation. I personally would rather be a Mensa member than a Playboy bunny, but either way I think I’m okay as is (if I can’t be Kathleen Hanna, you know).
Image source comiques.tumblr.com