If you were sitting around wondering if the internet as a medium is complicit in (or just straight up dictates) the homogenization of beauty standards, have I got news for you!
A recent study conducted by the University of St. Andrews in Scotland has found that people with access to the almighty internet tend to find masculine men and thin women more attractive.
Researchers carried out their study in El Salvador, where 74% (of their 6.297 million population) does not have internet access. Participants were to choose between pictures of people of higher or lower weight and higher or lower masculinity and femininity. While those with the internet found hunky dudes and thin feminine ladies more attractive, those without gravitated towards "feminine men and masculine, heavier women."
Lead researcher Carlota Batres, attributed the difference to a range of socioeconomic reasons, but highlighted the media's tempering of beauty stating:
"One possibility for the difference is the level of media exposure: people with internet access are more exposed to the media (adverts or websites), which promotes the beauty ideals of muscly men and thin feminine women."
Another researcher David Perrett addressed the "harshness" of the environment and its role in perceived attractiveness:
"When income and access to food is uncertain, heavier women may be better equipped to survive and reproduce and therefore preferences for heavier women could be adaptive. Our findings are consistent with previous literature that has found that heavier figures are considered more attractive in poorer and rural areas."
Obviously I can't exactly speak on behalf of people who don't have internet access. But once again it's becoming painfully clear that despite the internet's potential to express and accept a range of realistic body types, the same increasingly unrealistic standards of beauty are being perpetuated. Something harmful for both men and women.
Image via Shutterstock.