A “perfect body” poll made the internet rounds in April last year: A lingerie company asked 500 men and 500 women to vote on their ideal celebrity body parts. Designers photoshopped the images to create four images of the “perfect body” based on results.
A few thoughts before I begin:
- Warning: This post contains naked bodies!
- I know there’s no such thing as a perfect body. It’s a silly internet poll, lighten up.
- All the body parts chosen were white. That’s probably due to the designers wanting to make it easier to photoshop similar skin tones, as opposed to a racially bigoted conspiracy.
- Beauty is more than skin-deep, and sexiness is more than just appearance. Yes, I know.
- Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; this is an aggregate composition of many preferences, so it’s bound to look a little wonky.
- This post reports on generalisations. Your personal preferences may differ. That’s a given.
How men and women see a woman’s “perfect body”
Now that that is out of the way, the results for women aren’t surprising:
The body on the left is the perfect body according to women. The body on the right is the perfect body according to men.
The perfect female body according to men has big hair, big breasts (e.g. Kim Kardashian is a D cup while Jennifer Aniston is a B cup) and wider hips (than the body on the left). That isn’t surprising. Scientific evidence suggests men prefer specific waist to hip ratios that signify favorable child birthing bodies (see below).
What is surprising to me is that so many women in Second Life choose to appear as the body on the right (“male’s perfect female”), when this poll suggests their preference in RL would be for the body on the left (“female’s perfect female”).
In a few ways, the curviness of this body on the right is more realistic than the more slender figure on the left (due to skeletal structures alone). In real life, women might prefer the body on the left because it tends to easier to find clothes that fit it. Women might also prefer it because it’s more conducive to vigorous exercise. In Second Life, women might not have those concerns.
Second Life Mesh body designers tend to feature shapely (while still slender) bodies in their advertisements that I feel are more aligned with “male’s perfect female” of the poll. Here is the advertisement for the most popular mesh body in Second Life: Maitreya Lara. While this body looks like it could fit into the middle of the “perfect bodies” above, the default shape is one of the most svelte of the ones I’ve seen advertised:
Yes, I know we can modify our shapes widely, and we do. What I’m referring to relates more to how designers advertise these bodies as opposed to how users might change their shapes after-market.
Off the shelf female avatar body types in virtual worlds, to me at least, appear to resemble the “male’s perfect female”: bigger breasts and wider hips. A brief scan of Second Life shapes shows that women in Second Life prefer to embody the”male’s perfect female” too.
Belleza and Slink similarly promote curvaceous, “male’s perfect female” body types. Here is Belleza’s Venus:
Belleza released fully figured Isis and Freya in June 2015, which are even more like “male’s perfect female”:
Slink advertises their Physique body with a default curvy shape.