Gina Vaynshteyn
March 06, 2015 11:52 am

There’s a new study on the web that challenges the idea that one body type is ideal. So, bodyLab, a non-profit University-based research group, has created a survey for Internet participants (which you can take part in, too!) who rate which build they think is most attractive. Bodies range from thin, to full-figured, to muscular, to in-between.

I went ahead and took the survey, clicking on the body type (you choose between “male” or “female,” or you could do both) I found more more “appealing,” and I rated them on a -3 to 3 attractiveness scale. Each body I viewed changed slightly in shape and size. The survey accounts for your age, your gender, your sexual orientation, ethnicity, and where you live. And this is super important, because with this information, bodyLab is able to differentiate the differences between generations, as well as cultural norms. But it doesn’t just stop there. bodyLab then took these collective results and digitally “bred” the most attractive body types we chose, to see what would happen.

The outcome was pretty surprising, and super positive. Instead of creating one “ideal” body type we all think is mega attractive, the combined body types resulted in all kinds of diverse “offspring.” The researchers stated, “It turns out there’s more than one way to make an attractive body, and those different body types evolve to be well-integrated.” This means that everyone (at least, the 60,000 humans from around the world who have participated in the project so far) actually have a different perspective of what beauty means. So, according to science, beauty ideals are very much broad and not as universal as we think.

The researchers add, “That’s a liberating message for most of us: evolutionary biology has more to offer our understanding of diversity than the idea that only one ‘most attractive’ body (or face, or personality) always wins out.” And that’s awesome.

(Image via bodyLAB Project and via Tumblr)