Last year, UK online pharmacy Superdrug Online Doctors launched a project called “Perceptions Of Perfection,” which asked 18 female graphic designers from around the world to Photoshop a photo of the same woman with the goal of making her more attractive to the people of their respective countries.
The results were startling: Each country’s representative had her own distinct take on beauty. Those from Spain and Venezuela preferred a more voluptuous body type — tiny waists, large breasts and curvy hips — while others, like those from China and Italy, idealize a body that’s stick-thin all over.
Now, the same company has released Part II of the project — and this time, the subject is a man.
They asked they asked 11 female and eight male designers from all different countries to manipulate a photo of one brave New York photographer to make him more attractive to their fellow citizens.
The ‘Ideal’ Man’s Body Looks Like In 19 Countries
Just like in the initial female-focused project, the results show that there is not a one-size-fits-all global standard of beauty. The designer from the U.S. finds chiseled abs, arms, and shoulders attractive, whereas the one from Australia prefers what we now so lovingly refer to as the “Dad Bod.”
But as the body positivity movement continues to make big strides for women, men are being left in the dust. We’re seeing more and more female body diversity in magazines and advertisements, but plus-size male models are a rare sighting. Meanwhile, according to the National Association for Males with Eating Disorders, one in four individuals with an eating disorder is male, and body dysmorphic disorder in men is rampant but rarely spoken about.
“The quest for a perfect body transcends gender,” reads the project website. “Fueled in part by the media and popular culture, men around the world may feel even more body image-related pressure than women do — pressure to be stronger or slimmer or more muscular.”
By demonstrating the wide range of appearances — even in men — that the world considers beautiful, this project shows that beauty is just a societal construct. It’s their hope that this will “spark real change about body image, to empower people to prioritize health above appearance, and to promote body confidence around the world.”