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Throughout history, artists have seen the nude figure as a beautiful expression of womanhood, in all its glorious shapes and sizes. But ask the average female how she views her own bod in the buff and it gets a lot more complicated. Nakedness reveals everything we usually get to hide: vulnerabilities that date back to high school, parts you struggle to love or just outright hatescars, stretch marks, etc. Women's Health conducted a reader survey in to chart that complex relationship we have with our stripped-down selves.
Now, though it's just four years later, a lifetime of change has occurred on the body front. The body-positivity movement exploded, strong replaced skinny as social media's favorite adjective, and loveyourcurves campaigns abound—making us wonder, is there more love? More peace? How do women really feel about their bodies in ? To find out, we polled over 2, women in the U. Check out this snapshot of the :.
Maybe too pervasive. Picture a skin-care ad with a diverse group of nonmodels—with curves, cellulite, and real-life butts—laughing and hugging in their white undies. Been there, seen that? Well, not inwhen Dove debuted its "Real Beauty" campaign. Then, it was revolutionary. Other public voices ed the chorus—Lena Dunham proudly went nude in Girls to show an underrepresented body type—and on social, thighgap has taken a virtual backseat to the more accepting and, yeah, funny mermaidthigh. Not naked chicks although most women dig this movement as a concept, just a small fraction say they actually feel "positive" about their own bodies.
Why such a startling disconnect? Another theory? Backlash to the idea of being expected to love your bod nonstop. Who loves every single element about anything all day, every day? Okay, except maybe videos of Jiff the Pomeranian. Far more women in our survey said the best way to describe their feelings about their body is "accepting or neutral. Engeln says aiming for body acceptance might be a healthier approach. For two little pieces of fabric, this bathing suit causes some pretty big feelings—still. Today, two-piece moments celebrating women of all types roll out as often as software security updates—and yay for that!
The percentage of American women who won't be caught dead in a bikini actually increased since And that was true in almost every country we surveyed. What is going on? As with the general body-positivity movement, seeing more body diversity in bikinis "is just a drop in the bucket compared to the decades of the notion that only a specific body type can wear a bikini," says Elizabeth Daniels, Ph.
And while a mantra is one thing, it doesn't always translate to real-life moments. The better news: Women's two-piece attitudes don't al an epidemic of overall body hatred. When asked, "Do you think you're beautiful? Jennifer, 46, an entrepreneur in Allentown, Pennsylvania, who wears not naked chicks 6, explains: "After having my kids and surviving cervical cancer, my standards have changed.
I don't want to wear a bikini. When I look in the mirror, I focus on my beautiful hair, toned muscles, and happy smile. Cell phones on a Buddhist retreat.
Nice guys on dating apps. Women who are a size Turns out, all are equally rare.
While body-positive buzz focuses a lot on plus-size women, "in-between-size bodies"—say, sizes 8 to 12—took the top spot in the U. Real women explain their feelings: "I wear a size 12, and while it's great to see plus-size women, I feel like I never see anyone who resembles me," says Theresa, 43, a writer in Cranford, New Jersey.
Twenty-five-year-old Brianna, an executive in New York who wears size 10, asks: "Where are the real women who are flat-chested but have big thighs? Or the women with thicker arms but not a large waist? There's a good chunk of them—and we don't see them in and rarely on social media. Here's how Sofia Vergara really felt about posing naked for our annual Naked Issue:.
Across the board, around the world, if there's one body part women struggle to love, it's their stomach. Put less euphemistically: When asked which body part they most want to show off, women put abs dead last. The only time they ranked not naked chicks midsection first? As their "biggest insecurity when naked in front of a guy," and the body part that needs more exercise attention. Behind the global battle? The unwavering appeal of a flat belly. Big and small boobs and booties have gone in and out of vogue, yet a softer midsection hasn't trended since, oh, approximately the Rubenesque s.
We're not here to say flat abs should be held in high regard abs of all kinds rock.
But if you want 'em, frustration can ensue because, for some women, not even exercise does the trick. Some of us are predisposed to store fat in our middles. Then there's the fact that we're the ones who birth humans—your body is primed for the possibility whether you want to be a mom or not. Chronic stress is yet another hurdle; it can increase cortisol levels, which boosts appetite and triggers weight gain in the abdominal area. But wait! There is one thing you can control: how you're challenging your tum at the gym. Try cable twists, kettlebell halos rotating a kettlebell around your heador medicine-ball slams.
The more things change You know how that goes, and it holds true for weight loss. In both our surveys, the exact same percentage of women said they'd like to lose weight: And though TV shows and online transformations featuring dramatic-weight-loss stories—like, 50 to pounds—are now super popular, the of desired-pounds-lost also remained the same from to six to That relatively inificant amount may reflect a knee-jerk reaction.
Where the tides are happily turning: When you juxtapose the desire to be thin with the desire to be defined, the latter wins—by a lot. Allowed to check all answers that applied, 73 percent of women said they'd feel more confident naked if they were more toned, compared with 48 percent of women who said they'd feel better if they lost weight. This was true across nearly every country. And it echoes what we heard from a survey of WH readers, where you told us you wanted to see not naked chicks words toned and strong on the cover. We couldn't agree more. This article originally appeared in the September issue of Women's Health.
For more great advice, pick up a copy of the issue on newsstands now! Weight Loss. United States. Type keyword s to search. Today's Top Stories. Masala Pepper And Cauliflower Omelet. Getty Images. Emily Tiberio. Christine Frapech. Kristen Dold Kristen Dold is a freelance writer based in Chicago. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this to help users provide their addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.
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