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Body Size Physical Attractiveness and Body Image among Young Adult Women Relationships to Sexual Experience and Sexual Esteem Introduction It is hardly necessary to conduct a formal scientific study in order to determine that a womans physical appearance is an important factor in her ability to attract members of the opposite sex This idea is nothing new to us Although the cultural standards of attractiveness have continued to change over the years Marilyn Monroe vs Twiggy vs Cindy Crawford the basic notion that beauty is essential to ones romantic success has remained Little girls grow up playing with Barbie and know that they must look like Barbie if they want to find a Ken So why is it so important for a researcher to conduct a study of this nature when the outcome is so utterly predictable Firstly we must ask ourselves Does life imitate art or does art imitate life or does art simply create its own idealized conception of how life should be Just because Seventeen Magazine with its waif thin models and pages of hair and make-up tips or Baywatch with its well-endowed lifeguards sprinting down the beach tell us one thing about the nature of physical appearance and sexual appeal it doesnt mean that all people agree with or pay attention to the standards set forth by these media Many studies have actually indicated that men prefer women to be slightly heavier than the ideal weight most women assume men to desire So do physical appearance and body size actually play the enormous role that we as a culture believe them to in determining a womans ability to attract men or are other issues such as self-perceived attractiveness and body image more important These are the questions which Michael W Wiederman and Shannon R Hurst sought to answer through their 1998 study entitled Body Size Physical Attractiveness and Body Image among Young Adult Women Relationships to Sexual
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