The feminist weekend writer for Allure magazine said women were triggered by a "pointless and irresponsible" study that found men were most attracted to thin and young women. Rosemary Donahue wrote an article criticizing the study and opining that the results should not have been published because they're harmful to women.
"The abstract to the study itself holds some real gems about the relationship between health and aesthetic," she wrote, "like this funny little quote, 'Aspects of the female body may be attractive because they signal evolutionary fitness. Greater body fatness might reflect greater potential to survive famines, but individuals carrying larger fat stores may have poor health and lower fertility in non-famine conditions.' That sounds less like something out of a scientific paper than something someone's insensitive grandmother would tell them, if she were strangely into Darwinism."
The study interviewed male participants from three Caucasian populations, three Asian populations, and four African populations about what female figure they found most attractive.
Donahue argues that the methodology used in the study was in itself "toxic" and should be discarded.
"The participants were all shown 21 sample images of women with varying BMIs and asked to rate the attractiveness of their bodies," she explained. "This is a bad and demeaning practice. BMI has been debunked as an indicator for health, and the procedure they chose to use reinforces a toxic paradigm we see so often today — rating women based on their attractiveness and nothing else, in a system where aesthetic is the only measure of worth. Though this is arguably the point of the study, normalization of things like this is also the reason we're in this mess."
Donahue implied that woman would find a title of an article about the study itself "triggering":
Red Online wrote about the study, and the article headline was provocative if not triggering. It reads, ‘Men Still Prefer Women To Be Young And Skinny’, Says New Study" noting that this preference has existed for a while and the study wasn't of urgent need...
Later in the article she calls writing about the study "dangerous":
Writing about these findings as though they're the true window into what men really want is dangerous, especially given that these specific findings literally tell us we'll be more desirable if we're underweight or close to it (and if we somehow get younger).
She concludes by saying that such studies should be avoided.
"While it's possible that men form their preferences based on societal cues and they're just pawns in the same game that hurts us, as well, it doesn't mean we need to hear any more about it," Donahue writes. "In fact, we should keep pushing for more diversity and representation — perhaps, as a byproduct, preferences will change. In the meantime, forget the studies."
"The body you have is great, just the way it is," she adds.