Earlier this week, a Sun editor posted a call for "real women" willing to rate their own naked bodies and be judged by a panel of men for a feel-good piece on "how we're overly negative on ourselves" but "needn't be." Judging by the finished product — entitled "Do Men Like You Naked?" — you needn't hate yourself if you're "feminine" enough for a panel of pop-science hacks and misogynist jerks.
"SIX out of ten women in the UK are repulsed by the sight of their own naked bodies – but not THESE six," the article begins. Four arbiters of physical excellence — a "celebrity doctor," an ex-editor of gross men’s mag Loaded; a psychologist, and a Wheatley and Sons Ltd builder — judged six women who've been conditioned to believe that they're too fat/skinny/old by media exactly like The Sun.
The gist: you're not too fat/skinny/old if men don't think you are, because your self-worth is based upon whether a dude named Martin thinks you're "feminine" enough to fuck.
The article, which is not safe for work nor your sanity, features "real women" models discussing how they've come to terms with their bodies by putting down other bodies, men mansplaining femininity, and doctors unintentionally explaining why they don't deserve their degrees.
"MY breasts tend to provoke a mixed reaction in men," one woman said. "Some men say, ‘Wow!’ Others can find them intimidating because they are so large." Another: "I also have a few wobbly bits but I’ve learned to accept my curves and feel happy about them – anyway men prefer curvy girls."
The doctor and psychologist complimented the women for looking how they feel women should look. One larger woman "has feminine curves and a lovely, happy face which says she is proud of her sexy body and likes to show it off"; another "has especially lovely round hips which we know are a sign of fertility and considered very attractive." An older woman received a backhanded compliment: "She is a lovely example of how beautiful older ladies actually are." A woman with smaller breasts was advised to wear a push-up bra while a thin woman should look into peplum. Another woman with an "amazing body" had "just a few extra inches on the belly which can be easily masked." Are you feeling the self-love yet?
Unsurprisingly, the men delivered the grossest qualifying quotes.
There are "right" and "wrong" places to be curvy:
"If she lost weight, she’d lose it from all the wrong places."
Love yourself specifically so men will love you:
"I think she could lose some weight but she also seems very confident within her own skin – which is attractive to a man."
Smile so men will find you sexually attractive:
"A confident bigger lady is always more attractive than a timid stick insect. Claudia scores highly here because she looks a right laugh."
Breaking News! Man Attracted to Beautiful Woman Who is Not as Thin as Other Women:
"This may surprise some people but, out of all the women, this is the girl for me. She has the loveliest smile – very cheeky and inviting. She does probably need to lose weight on her stomach and thighs but that doesn’t turn me off at all."
Let's all laugh at the woman that looks most traditionally like a model because the men don't think she's hot. (Wait, isn't this article about loving your body? Didn't this woman just say that she's insecure about being too skinny? Who cares what thin women think!):
"Charlotte has a very slim, nice body. She looks like a supermodel. But for me she is too pale and skinny. I do love her stomach ring."
Ideally, you could pick and choose body parts as if you were at the deli counter:
She has a pretty face but her breasts don’t match her body. Her tummy is rounded and she has great thighs, which are sexy, but she doesn’t have Claudia’s cheeky look.
"Real Beauty" magazine features are bullshit because they connect self-worth with male approval and preconceived notions of femininity. They're also addictive. While writing this, I couldn't help comparing my own body to those up for display, wondering whether it was "better" or "worse" in the same way that I subconsciously tend to do when I people-watch on the way to the subway. They're bullshit, but they sell, because we're instructed from the time we're children to be in constant competition with each other. What a waste of time.
Image via AP.