The Feminist Body
To feminists, beauty is not a weighty issue
By Eric Nagourney
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then try to be beheld by a feminist. A new study, led by Viren Swami of the University of Westminster in London, finds that women who describe themselves as feminists are more forgiving than other women when assessing the attractiveness of women who are either very underweight or very heavy.
Writing in the journal Body Image, the researchers said the findings added evidence to the argument that women who considered themselves feminists might be less likely to be taken in by the notion that the most important thing for women is to be thin. That belief, especially in younger women, can lead to an eating disorder.
For the study, the researchers showed a set of photographs to 129 women who said they were feminists and 132 who said they were not.
The participants were asked to identify the thinnest and heaviest women they considered “physically attractive.”