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Sex differences in the preferences for specific female body shapes

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the somatic preferences of males and females for detailed anatomical drawings of female stimulus figures to examine their ability to predict the preferences for members of the opposite sex. The figures were systematically varied on three dimensions (bust, waist, and hips), with three sizes of each (small, medium, and large). The 12 figures were rated by 100 male and female subjects on a 7-point bipolar construct scale, ranging from extremely attractive to extremely unattractive. This was done both for the subjects' personal perceptions and for their predicted ratings of the opposite sex. Multivariate and univariate analyses yielded several sex, rating-perceptive (self vs. other), figure shape differences and interactions. Male subjects displayed a preference for large busts and hourglass shapes, which are accurately predicted by the females. Males predicted that females would rate slimmer figure highly, and females predicted that males would rate larger figures highly. The results are considered in light of related research in this area.

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Furnham, A., Hester, C. & Weir, C. Sex differences in the preferences for specific female body shapes. Sex Roles 22, 743–754 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00292058

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