Guys talk about female body image
ALMOST 70 per cent of men say that a woman’s face is much more important than her breasts, legs or figure, a Punch survey of male attitudes on female body image has found.
And almost two-thirds of men believe that women spend far too much time worrying about their appearance, and should spend less time fretting about what men think - because you are all much hotter than you think you are.
The Punch has today assembled this special package of pieces about female body image through the eyes of blokes. Much of it is framed around our 100-man survey, but also includes columnist Joe Hildebrand talking about his love of fat chicks and former Zoo Weekly online editor Chris Deal’s essay on why men are as dumb as you probably suspect they are.
We were moved to embark on this project because the one missing feature from the important national debate about female body image is that at no stage has anybody asked the blokes what they think.
It’s a pity - because there is now some interesting evidence that women are laying a serious guilt-trip on themselves and reinforcing stereotypes about their size and shape which have absolutely no bearing on whether men find them attractive or not.
The Punch has now invited blokes into the conversation, polling 100 men for their views on everything from body shape and size to photo retouching, plus-size models, personal grooming and pornography.
While not quite a clarion call for the women of Australia to throw out their makeup, schlep around in tracky dacks and generally let themselves go, the findings suggest that women should as a starting point stop fixating and fretting about appearance - and take comfort in the fact that most men want a girl with a pretty face and a nice personality, rather than some foxy airhead with perfect breasts and a stick-thin figure.
Far from it.
Broken down into the following categories, these are the key findings from the survey. It was anonymous meaning all the men could answer honestly.
APPEARANCE: Men are much more attracted to a woman’s face than any other part of her body - 68 per cent of men surveyed said they looked for a pretty face, just 8 per cent said great breasts, 8 per cent nice legs, and 16 per cent a perfect fat-free figure. In terms of ranking the importance of overall qualities, not one man said appearance was the most important - 24 per cent cited personality as the most important, with 76 per cent citing personality and appearance in equal measure.
HAIR, OUTFITS, AND HONESTY: Just over half the men surveyed (56 per cent) said they immediately noticed if their wife or girlfriend had a new haircut or outfit. 38 per cent said they “eventually” realised and 6 per cent said they sometimes never realised. As to the question every man fears - “does my bum look big in this? - it seems there is little point even asking, with 52 per cent of men saying they never tell the truth when asked.
RETOUCHED PHOTOS AND PLUS-SIZE MODELS: The current issue of the Womens Weekly featuring a natural and untouched photo of Sarah Murdoch was a mystery to most men, with 54 per cent saying they would not have realised the picture had not been retouched if not for the coverage it received. We also showed the men a photo of plus-size model Laura Wells, a size 16, and 58 per cent of them described her as normal looking, 16 per cent as really hot, and just 26 per cent as overweight.
WOMEN’S VIEWS ON MEN: Interestingly, men think women are more turned on by a good physique than they are. Asked which physical qualities they thought women looked for in men, 41 per cent said a handsome face, closely followed by 36 per cent saying a good physique. Perhaps explaining why Advanced Hair Studios is such a good business, 18 men said they thought women liked them for a good head of hair, just one bloke ticked “well-endowed” (and was probably bragging), and four of them said they couldn’t think of anything about male appearance which women would find attractive, one of them writing: “frankly I can’t understand why lesbianism isn’t more popular.”
PORNOGRAPHY: Probably unsurprisingly, the takeout from this question is that it’s best not to check the history on your bloke’s laptop, as 78 per cent of men said they sometimes looked at it. 74 per cent said they regarded porn as harmless provided the women were over 18 and had not been coerced into taking part, with just 26 per cent saying it was demeaning to women. Many of the men also wrote on their surveys that they regarded themselves as hypocrites. There was no direct overlap between the men who regarded porn as demeaning and did not look at porn. About 15 men replied that they regarded porn as demeaning but still looked at it anyway, with roughly the same number saying they thought it was harmless, but did not look at it.
Of all the many comments which the guys typed in the margins, one struck me as being obviously the soppiest but probably the truest - “i could tick every box for their physical qualities but the greatest physical attraction of all is being in love with someone.”
At the other end of the spectrum - and the one respondent who as a total exhibitionist has surrendered his anonymity - was Daily Telegraph columnist and Punch film reviewer Joe Hildebrand, who answered “great breasts” to every question, even the one about which qualities women looked for in men.
Read the survey in full here.
And if you are a chick, stop worrying so much.
Read all about it
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