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Study Shows Women With Belly Rolls Are More Stigmatized Than Those With Big Butts, Even If They Weigh The Same. We Aren’t Surprised

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There would be no woman who hasn’t been body-shamed by her friends, relatives or even strangers (read: weird neighbourhood aunties) just because she is a tad curvier than the standard body type. Even if you have a normal BMI but are blessed with belly fat, flabby arms and back rolls, you are eligible to be shamed and judged for your lifestyle and food orders. Being a curvy woman invites unsolicited advice, remarks and constant bullying. However, when I say curvy, I don’t mean the coveted hourglass body shape. Because, you see, having bigger boobs and butt is okay, in fact great, since that makes you desirable and beautiful, even though it’s still body fat. However, a woman with a visibly flabbier tummy is much worse in the eyes of society than a woman with a bigger butt. And, I am not making this up. It’s what a recent study has found out.  

In a world where society often confuses perfection and beauty and revels in the idea that women need to be, and look, flawless, the stigma around overweight and obese women doesn’t come as a surprise. However, a recent study by the researchers of the Arizona State University finds that when it comes to overweight and obese women, the stigma is driven by body shape, rather than overall body fat and weight. So the fat isn’t really the problem, the location of the fat is. While bigger butts are considered okay, although still a stigma, it’s the belly rolls on women that sends people off.  

According to the study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science journal, women with abdominal fat were stigmatised more than those with gluteofemoral fat.  Jaimie Arona Krems, first study author assistant professor of psychology at Oklahoma State University was quoted saying, “The findings from this study are probably not surprising to most women, who have long talked about the importance of shape, or to anyone who has read a magazine article on ‘dressing for your shape’ that categorizes body shapes as apples, pears, hourglasses and the like.”

Also Read: Study Finds That Men Are Not Really Attracted To Skinny Fashion Models As Some Women Might Believe.

The study was conducted to determine how women with different body shapes and weight were perceived by the people. A total of 750 participants, both white and  people of colour living in USA and India, were shown the graphics of underweight, average weight, overweight and obese women with different body proportions. Their perceptions were recorded which showed that women with belly fat were seen less favourably than those with butt fat. 

Also, women who were underweight were stigmatised more than the average weight women. This doesn’t surprise us. The ideal body type has always been not too skinny, not too fat and women who don’t fit this mould are stigmatised and shamed. Also, while heavier busts and bigger butts are now being celebrated as sexiest body parts, belly fat is something that still puts people off. This makes the women blessed with certain body shapes vulnerable to fat stigma by the society. This perception that curvier women aren’t sexy unless the fat isn’t at the right place needs to change. 

Also Read: Study Shows That ‘Reality Check’ Comments On Idealised Instagram Photos Help Curb Body Dissatisfaction In Women. It’s Important To Know That Social Media Has Filters

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