The ideal of beauty: Created by the media or by genetics?

The idea that thinness is synonymous with beauty is not only the fault of the media. According to a new study the desire to be skinny or thin to be beautiful, has a genetic component as well.

No one can escape the images of thin bodies that appear in advertising, movies and on every page of fashion magazines. Thinness has become synonymous with beauty and millions of people around the world – especially women – dream of achieving that ideal of supposed perfection, sometimes subjecting their body to extreme diets and exaggerated exercise.





But beyond blaming the media for promoting the idea that thinness represents beauty, there is a new study according to which genetics also plays an important role when it comes to perceiving thinness as something beautiful.

The study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders conducted at Michigan State University, observed that twins (identical) are more likely than twins to have similar ideas about thinness and beauty. Taking into account that siblings are raised in an equal or similar environment, this difference in beauty perception between twins (who share all their genes) and twins (who share half of their genes) suggests that there is a strong genetic component in the perception of beauty ideal. The researchers give the name to “internalization of thinness as an ideal”, which means, in simple words, a high level in their desire to resemble women who appear in magazines and in the media.

Bearing in mind that not all women are equally vulnerable to believe that being thin means being beautiful, the psychologists who were the authors of the research questioned whether there is a genetic component that sets the trend in terms of the perception of beauty. To answer their concerns and to test their theory, these psychologists analyzed the responses to surveys made to a total of 343 twins between the ages of 12 and 22 in Michigan, in the United States.

The twins who participated answered questions such as how much they wanted to look like women on television, in magazines and in advertising. The more they idealized that beauty, the higher their level of “internalization of thinness as ideal”.

Next, the researchers compared the answers to the same questions that the twins and the twins gave. They found that the twins had similar responses regarding the ideal of beauty and its relation to thinness. This indicates, according to the researchers, that genes play an important role in how susceptible women are to the signals of the environment in terms of being thin. In other words, not all women react in the same way to a model program or an advertisement for underwear.

Although the genes responsible for this type of perceptions are not known with certainty, the researchers think that they are those that influence the personality. The next step in terms of studies of this type will be to analyze how much influence the genetic factor has on the development of eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia to achieve thinness as an ideal of beauty.

Undoubtedly, this is a complex issue that will need many rigorous investigations, but with these results new keys are known to understand why some women may be more obsessed with being skinny or thin and how they react to the images that society presents. of beauty.

Anyway, it is important to remind you that beauty is something subjective and as they say, it is always in the eyes of the observer.

I advise you that to feel good with your body, keep it active and feed it healthily. You are going to see that this way you will see yourself very well because you will feel great. And finally, the most important thing is health.

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