While muscular women were once seen as masculine, the athletic body shape is making a comeback, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of Missouri-Kansas City looked at the body types that people rate as most attractive, and found that muscular figures are rated more highly than thin bodies.
The researchers studied photos of women in the Miss USA Competition and found that over the past 15 years, winners have become increasingly muscular. They came to this conclusion by analyzing photos of the 1999 to 2013 winners.
In a follow-up study, the researchers investigated whether the long-held ideal female figure of extreme thinness is also changing to include muscle tone.
They showed photos depicting 14 women to 64 students. Each pair of the images were identical, except that in one version, muscular definition had been digitally removed thereby making the women thin in one photo and toned in the other.
When the images were shown to participants separately, they rated the “thin only” and “toned and thin” versions as being equally attractive. But when the images were presented side-by-side in pairs, the participants rated the muscular figures to be the more attractive ones.
Professor Frances Bozsik, lead author of the study, said: “There is a shift in the thin ideal female figure to one that now includes the appearance of physical fitness via muscularity.”
The researchers suggest that this increased preference for toned figures is consistent with the models commonly seen in ‘fitspiration’ photos on social media.
Source: Mirror UK