What the Perfect Female Body Looks Like — When You Ask Men vs. Women

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder – and according to a new survey, it looks like men and women are very different beholders indeed.

U.K. lingerie company Bluebella surveyed 1,000 men and women to see which celebrities each gender considered to have the ideal physical traits. It then Photoshopped Frankensteinian composites of different celebrities' parts to create "the perfect body."

The result? Men and women have wildly different views on the ideal female body, though their thoughts on the male form are much more similar.

According to the survey, women preferred other women with fit, toned builds, as exemplified by slim actresses such as Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow and Emma Watson. On the other hand, men preferred women with bigger curves, such as Kim Kardashian and model Kelly Brook.


Image Credit: Gizmodo

Men and women's idealized images of the male body were much more closely aligned. Soccer star David Beckham was featured in both images, albeit with different body parts (legs for women and face for men). Brad Pitt was also featured twice, with women preferring his biceps and men in favor of his gloriously frosted hair. In general, men believed that bigger builds were considered "perfect."


Image Credit: Gizmodo

"Interestingly, the sum of all these parts does not match perceived physical perfection," said Bluebella founder Emily Bendell. "Neither men nor women opted for six-foot, stick-thin teenage models or perfectly chiseled, super-groomed guys. It's great to see such a range of ages and shapes."

But ... While Bendell's claim that these images "should give us all more body confidence" is a nice sentiment, it's far from the truth. It's worth noting that every single celebrity featured on these images is someone you would consider conventionally attractive: actresses and models for women, and actors and athletes for men. (If Beckham isn't the dictionary definition of "perfectly chiseled, super groomed guy," we don't know who is.) And none of these composites features a single person of color. 

As with all things, this poll is ultimately a silly, superficial way to dissect attractive celebrities. But as more and more women — and men — grapple with body image issues, it's important to look at how popular media standards of beauty influence public perceptions. Sixty-nine percent of girls in one study said that magazine models influence their idea of the perfect body shape. That's not what we need.

Instead of celebrating people of all sizes and color, images like the ones above help to perpetuate the idea that there is only one "ideal" — and people who don't match it are not perfect.

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Eileen Shim

Eileen is a writer living in New York. She studied comparative literature and international studies at Yale University, and enjoys writing about the intersection of culture and politics.

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