If you think your life would magically transform if only you looked like a Cover Girl, you are not alone.
In this study, undergraduate women described what they thought of as America’s ideal female body type, then wrote about how their lives would change if they looked that way. They also completed questionnaires designed to assess their opinions about their own bodies.
Most women described the ideal body type as thin, and listed tons of perceived benefits, like confidence, assertiveness, self-esteem, happiness and employment opportunities. (It wasn’t all positive: they also thought beautiful women were more likely to have jealous friends and be shallow.)
Those perceptions may have more to do with self-esteem than reality. The women who were least satisfied with their own bodies were most likely to say their lives would improve if they were prettier.
No wonder so many women strive to be thin when it’s seen as the golden ticket to a life of success and happiness.
Looking like the star of a magazine photo shoot does have some social benefits, but the women in this study way overvalued them. Next time you catch yourself mourning the gap between your body and Charlize Theron’s, think of a successful, content woman whose body isn’t “ideal.” And remember that satisfying work, hobbies and relationships have much more to do with happiness than your looks.
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