In a new study from the scientific journal PLOS ONE, the physical attractions we find in either men or women may skew based on if we have regular access to the internet or not. Basically, it can be concluded, as many reports have, that with internet usage comes a heightened attraction to skinnier women or more masculine men --but is that really the case?
The study surveyed 18-25 year olds in El Salvador to see whether the digital divide played a role in online surveys regarding physical appearances. They found that Salvadoreans with internet access preferred skinnier women and muscular men, while Salvadoreans surveyed in-person preferred women with more body fat and average-built men. So, the internet must be making us prefer skinnier women, right? Not exactly.
In a country like El Salvador where 74 percent of the population doesn't have internet access, the results found there won't apply to a country like, for example, the U.S. where 71 percent of people do have internet access. In El Salvador's case, the researcher's hypothesis proved correct, but it's not a one-size fits all conclusion for everyone.
The study is mainly trying to prove that researchers shouldn't issue online surveys in places where a majority of locals don't have access to internet, because the in-person survey results could be completely different. The results speak to a small portion of the population, but it would be interesting to see what the researchers found if the study was done on an international scale.
The internet is full of images that can affect how we view people physically, but at the end of the day beauty is still in the eye of the beholder. And we're not try to diet for society. Agh.