It seems to go against everything we’ve been led to believe about body image. Magazines and movies all praise slim figures as the standard of beauty, and every other commercial seems to be about a new weight loss method. If you believe what you see on TV, you might assume that the skinnier a woman is the happier she’ll be, and that plus size women are often riddled with self-doubt and insecurity. While body image and body shaming are certainly still relevant issues, a study in the UK shows it doesn’t necessarily follow that curvy women are less happy than skinny women. In fact, their findings indicated the opposite.
The study polled 2,000 women on their dress size and their feelings about their appearance. The research indicated that a whopping 74% of women who wore a size 16 (12 in the United States) were happy with their appearance. Nearly half of the women whose weights had fluctuated over the past three years said that they were happiest when they had a curvier figure. Women who wore sizes between 14 and 18 (10 and 14 in the United States) were generally happier and more confident about their appearance.
On the other hand, it was women who wore sizes between 6 and 10 (2 and 6 in the US) who were critical of their appearance, and only 59% claimed they were happy with their appearance. The research even went so far as to indicate that 35% of women who wore a size 6 wished that they were curvier, and several of the size 6 respondents felt that a curvier figure would make them feel more confident and comfortable in their clothes.
While it’s not ideal for any woman to feel insecure about her body, it does flip the script a little from what most hourglass women have been told about body image our whole lives. The poll didn’t have any answers as to why it was that fuller-figured women were happier, but it seemed that whatever the media told them, there’s nothing wrong with a size 12 body.
Your curves are natural and beautiful, not cause to hide in shame. The truth of this poll isn’t so much that curves have the scientific ability to make you happy, but that women who embrace their bodies and don’t obsess over dieting tend to be more content. Seems simple enough.
But the idea of being comfortable with your body in a world that has such strict ideas about how women should look can be a bit radical in practice. It’s not always easy, so here are some tips for keeping a positive mindset and loving every curve of your body: