At the University of Missouri-Kansas City, researchers carried out a survey on the body types that people find really attractive. After the survey, it was found that muscular figures are rated more highly than thin bodies.
Photos of women who have participated and won in the Miss USA Competition over the past 15 years showed an increase in masculinity. The researchers therefore drew their conclusion just by analyzing photos of the 1999 to 2013 winners.
The researchers went further to investigate if the long-held ideal female figure of extreme thinness is also changing to include muscle tone. To do this, they showed the portraits of 14 women to 64 students. Each pair of the images were identical, except that in one version, muscular definition had been digitally removed thereby making the women thin in one photo and toned in the other.
When the images were shown to the students separately, they rated the “thin only” and “toned and thin” versions as being equally attractive. But when the images were presented side-by-side in pairs, the participants rated the muscular figures to be the more attractive ones.
The lead author of the study, Professor Frances Bozsik, said: There is a shift in the thin ideal female figure to one that now includes the appearance of physical fitness via muscularity.
The researchers also suggested that this increased preference for toned figures is consistent with the models commonly seen in ‘fitspiration’ photos on social media.