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Women with hot husbands driven to be thin, study says

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 18/07/2017 JOE DZIEMIANOWICZ

Jeremy Meeks. © Tony Barson/FilmMagic Jeremy Meeks. Women and men are different — and it’s not a pretty picture.

A new study reveals that women who are less attractive than their husbands obsess about their looks and diet — and work harder to be thin. But women who are more attractive than their husbands didn’t have that added drive to win the battle of the bulge.

And, Florida State University revealed, men don’t change their behavior based on the appearance of their wives.

“The study looked at the question ‘What’s the relationship between my attractiveness and my partner’s attractiveness?’ — and how gender affects that,” study co-author Tania Reynolds, a doctoral student, told the Daily News.

The results reveal that there’s a cost for having a very hot husband in terms of being driven to diet, especially if those wives are not particularly attractive.

Results, published in the journal Body Image, are significant since dieting motivations and behaviors can be tied to eating disorders and other health issues.

The researchers followed 113 Dallas couples, most of whom were in their late 20s and married less than four months. The newlyweds answered questions about diet and being thin, such as “I feel extremely guilty after eating,” “I like my stomach to be empty” and “I’m terrified of gaining weight.”

To measure attractiveness, each subject had a full-body picture taken. A team of undergraduate evaluators at Southern Methodist University judged facial attractiveness, while another set of evaluators at FSU rated body beauty.

Subjects’ motivation to diet, measured on a 6-point scale, were as follows:

* Attractive wife with an attractive husband — 2.7

* Unattractive wife with an attractive husband — 3.5

* Unattractive wife with an unattractive husband — 2.9

* Attractive wife with an unattractive husband — 3.1

“For women,” Reynolds told the News, “the study reinforces the fact that we are social creatures. We are are going to be affected by social partners around us.”

While the study doesn’t determine cause and affect, it shows that “women see themselves through the lens of their social partners.”

In contrast, she adds, “men’s dieting motivations were not significantly associated with their own and their partners’ attractiveness.”

The results echo earlier research showing that women tend to exaggerate how thin their partners want them to be and that dieting motivations are driven by relationships with others.

A next step could be to study how women’s diet and drive to be thin are motivated when surrounded by attractive female friends.


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