Quick hit: Feminists hate women slightly less than nonfeminists do

Okay, so that’s not exactly what this NYT article says, but it may as well be: Perceptions: Feminists More Open-Minded on Weight. Surprise me cunt!

(This post has been brought to you by the “Sweet Machine reads the NYT during spring break instead of studying for her oral exams” series. Hat tip to Feministing.)

18 thoughts on “Quick hit: Feminists hate women slightly less than nonfeminists do

  1. Okay, I actually wrote something about this for Broadsheet yesterday, but it didn’t get posted.

    Here’s my issue: both feminists and non-feminists agreed on which body type was “maximally attractive.”

    That body type? “Somewhat underweight.”

    *headdesk*

  2. Yeah, I found the end of the article maddening, because it made me want to know exactly what the breakdown was for all of pictures, and they don’t say. I also noticed that they said the women ranged in BMI from “obese” to “emaciated.” Uh, when did that one become an official BMI category?

  3. I also noticed that they said the women ranged in BMI from “obese” to “emaciated.” Uh, when did that one become an official BMI category?

    That was totally my first thought as well!

  4. When I saw the “slightly underweight” designation, I thought “none of them actually knows what a “normal weight” woman looks like. All of the pictures we see in the media are of very thin women, with “somewhat underweight” women plastered on the covers of weekly rags with the headline “Broken-hearted Brittelina Packs on the Pounds!”

  5. How could anyone look at old pictures of women like Sophia Loren or Ann Margaret and think “slightly emaciated” looks best? What kind of conditioning is that? Well, it fluctuates – there was voluptuous, there was Rubenesque, then there was Twiggy and then there was the 80s hardbody/Perfect thing, now this. Our time will come I suppose; if not we have to at least garner acceptance.

  6. I don’t understand what they’re getting at here, because what one person considers attractive doesn’t necessarily reflect what they think about themselves. For example, I can think a slightly underweight woman is attractive without feeling like I need to be slightly underweight, y’know? They draw a connection between what the subjects found attractive and whether they were buying in to society’s ideals for themselves. As a feminist, I’d find a study where I had to put the label “attractive” or “unattractive’ on a faceless woman totally anti-feminist to begin with.

  7. How could anyone look at old pictures of women like Sophia Loren or Ann Margaret and think “slightly emaciated” looks best?

    Annie, I get what you’re saying here, but privileging the va-va-voom hourglass shape isn’t any better than privileging extreme thinness. Everyone’s beautiful to someone, and attraction is totally subjective. So that’s a whole OTHER issue I have with this study. :)

    But what bothers me is that for all we hear about the correlation between obesity and ill-health, there’s also a correlation between underweight and ill-health. That doesn’t, of course, mean that any given thin person is or will be sick–it being only a correlation and all. But here’s the NYT saying explicitly that women believe the ideal body type is underweight–with no acknowledgment that that body type only occurs naturally in a tiny percentage of women, and for most, trying to achieve it DOES pose health risks. Meanwhile, you know that if the subjects had favored someone built like (the still quite slim) Sophia Loren, we’d be hearing that it means “fat” is acceptable, and we’re all gonna die because of it.

  8. As a feminist, I’d find a study where I had to put the label “attractive” or “unattractive’ on a faceless woman totally anti-feminist to begin with.

    Amen.

  9. But here’s the NYT saying explicitly that women believe the ideal body type is underweight–with no acknowledgment that that body type only occurs naturally in a tiny percentage of women, and for most, trying to achieve it DOES pose health risks. Meanwhile, you know that if the subjects had favored someone built like (the still quite slim) Sophia Loren, we’d be hearing that it means “fat” is acceptable, and we’re all gonna die because of it.

    Exactly!

    In my younger and more vulnerable years, one of my (many) justifications for my disordered eating was that regardless of the risks of malnutrition, they were surely less than (or at the most equal to) the risks that “everyone” knew were associated with being fat.

    While I doubt that knowing the dangers associated with persuing a body type that doesn’t come naturally to you would have dissuaded me, it certainly couldn’t have hurt me to have that knowledge. But it seems we only care about informing people if they might die from something that isn’t hawt.

  10. Honestly, my FIRST thought was “maybe feminists are more likely to actually be attracted to women.” (More likely, people who are attracted to women are more likely to be feminists, but either one could skew the results.) Big difference if you’re choosing “attractive to me” vs “attractive as far as what I’ve been told is attractive.”

    Basically, the study is problematic. Also, it didn’t show what the headline says. But isn’t it funny that the misrepresented media analysis of a flawed study actually turns out to be a big duh? Maybe two wrongs do make a right. :)

  11. Pingback: Memo to MeMe Roth: This is why fat is a feminist issue » The-F-Word.org

  12. for some reason, the article won’t open for me.

    But, SM, I found that reading SP and playing super mario galxay were the best ways to study for orals. So put down the NYT.

  13. Big difference if you’re choosing “attractive to me” vs “attractive as far as what I’ve been told is attractive.”

    That’s pretty much what I was going to say.

  14. “If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then try to be beheld by a feminist.”

    Amazingly awkward alliteration is in the eye of the beholder.

  15. Okay, I actually wrote something about this for Broadsheet yesterday, but it didn’t get posted.

    You have a gig at Broadsheet now? Shit, if they’re smart enough to hire you, I might re-up with Salon after all.

  16. “Annie, I get what you’re saying here, but privileging the va-va-voom hourglass shape isn’t any better than privileging extreme thinness. Everyone’s beautiful to someone, and attraction is totally subjective. So that’s a whole OTHER issue I have with this study”

    Oh I know; it just boggles my mind that they can’t see beauty in other forms than just the one, when there are so many examples – that’s why I mentioned all the different types that have been seen as culturally beautiful over time – from fat, to hourglass, to thin, to really thin. Can’t they see there’s beauty in all of them or something?

    I probably said it wrong, but then I often do. It wasn’t a “real women have curves” kind of remark, honest. :)

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