Actually, men’s preferences DO change

19th June 2007

Actually, men’s preferences DO change

And the latest buzz item to circle body-acceptance blogs are a series of adverts for Brazilian-brand yogurt Itambé. The ads, created by Brazilian advertising agency Salles Chemistri, re-imagine iconic film images of stars Mena Suvari, Sharon Stone and Marilyn Monroe, but with images of larger, and supposedly less desirable women.

The ad copy on each reads: “Forget about it. Men’s preference will never change. Fit Light Yogurt.”

Ahh, yes, nothing like overly blatant consumerism to encourage women to alter, transform, whittle, sculpt and starve their bodies for the purposes of pleasing and attracting a man. Isn’t that the supreme reason for women’s existence, after all? To be objects of male sexual desire?

I don’t know about you, but I think photoshopped Mena Suvari, in all her bountiful beauty, is so much sexier than the real Mena Suvari, who somehow resembles a skeleton in a Christ-like pose.

Mena Suvari - Forget it.  Because men's taste will never change.

American Beauty - Mena Suvari in bed of roses

I’m not familiar with Brazilian sociological history (read AdiosBarbie’s summary here), but as with American culture, I would expect men’s preferences (as if there is one collective taste among all men) to be fluid with the passing of time and culture. A brief historical rundown on the “ideal” American woman:

    1837-1901, Victorian Era: Plump, fleshy and full-figured is in, thin is out. Slender women were openly mocked and jeered for their skinny bodies, while actress Lillian Russell, who weighed in at over 200 pounds, was considered a “voluptuous beauty.” Bottoms were broadened with bustles and women used padding. They ate and weighed themselves frequently. Doctors encouraged a plump shape as a sign of health. The male’s potbelly was worn proudly.
    1900s, Gibson Girl: Charles Dana Gibson creates the Gibson Girl, tall, whose long arms and legs with a distinctly thinner figure reflected impossible proportions. Desperate to distinguish themselves from shorter, rounder immigrants, wealthy Americans begin to look to the European aristocracy who displayed a snobbery towards thinness, disregarding the fact that the delicate figures of Europe’s gentry were due to tuberculosis.
    Early 1900s – 1920s: Beauty was curveless and the ideal body was boy-like, as epitomized by the Flapper Girl. Women abandoned the corset and began binding their breasts to flatten their silhouette. The bra was invented, not as means of support, but to hide breasts.
    Post WWI: Active lifestyles promoted energy and vitality. After severe food rationing during the war, body fat was perceived to contribute to inefficiency and seen as a sign of self-indulgence.
    1950s: Waist size declines, bust size booms. Thin women with large bustlines were considered to be most attractive, although the ideal woman would still be considered heavy by today’s standards. Marilyn Monroe, a reigning sex symbol at size 14, would be considered plus-sized today.
    1960s: One word: Twiggy. 97lbs Measurements, 31-22-32

Here are the other Light & Fit Yogurt ads of women who are supposed to disgust you.

Forget it.  Because men's tastes will never change. Sharon Stone ad

Forget it.  Because men's tastes will never change. Marilyn Monroe

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 19th, 2007 at 2:36 pm and is filed under Body Image, Fat Bias, Food History, Pop Culture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

There are currently 27 responses to “Actually, men’s preferences DO change”

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  1. 1 On June 19th, 2007, Tiffany Blunt said:

    You have the Marilyn and Sharon pictures too! Awesome!

  2. 2 On June 19th, 2007, Elastic Waist said:

    Marilyn Monroe wore a vintage size 14 (although some say size 12), which anyone who has gone shopping for 50′s frocks knows is not the same as a modern size 14. She would be like a modern size six — in fact, she’d probably look a lot like our fave Ms. Winslet.

  3. 3 On June 19th, 2007, iflurry said:

    So I open up the page and see a picture of a sexy, confident big woman on a bed of rose petals. I nod approvingly. Looks like some fat-positive images of women have finally hit the mainstream media.

    Then I actually read the article. The only appropriate word I can think of is the title of a certain Penn & Teller television program that airs on Showtime.

  4. 4 On June 19th, 2007, Rachel said:

    True, Elastic Waist – Marilyn’s weight fluctuated between 118 and 140 pounds, which in today’s sizes would range from U.S. 4 – 8. But she would also balloon up to a size 18 during filming lulls, and then would crash-diet her way back into a modern day size 8 – 12.

    Also, because of her height and curves, many of Marilyn’s dresses were custom-made, and custom dresses rarely have sizes.

    But regardless her clothing size, I think we can all agree that someone of Marilyn’s proportions wouldn’t get such star treatment today and most certainly wouldn’t be considered a sex symbol.

  5. 5 On June 20th, 2007, littlem said:

    That’s not Mena Suvari on that album cover, is it? I saw the movie (another topic altogether) and that doesn’t look like her image. That image looks like Music Box Barbie.

  6. 6 On June 20th, 2007, Jonny Real World said:

    um….yea. im a guy, and im telling all of you pro fat women out there, its not hot. wrinkly, cellulite, flabby, nasty. fat girls need love too. but they probably should have to pay for it. all im saying is that all these commetns are by women, and im the guy speaking up, and honestly, fat girls arent hot. i couldn’t even get it up for a fat girl, much less imagine doing anything sexual with her. fat chicks have negative connotation for a reason. theyre not attractive.

  7. 7 On June 20th, 2007, Rachel said:

    So says one man’s opinion. Fortunately Jonny Real World, your views are in the historical minority.

    It’s a shame you’ve been so socially conditioned to revile fat that you fail to see the beauty of these women.

  8. 8 On June 20th, 2007, B said:

    I find it odd that “Jonny real world” would be on a “food fat and feminism” site, maybe he was looking for a different f-word site. As a man I think the first (altered) image of Mena Suvari (or whoever it is) is more attractive; to me that is a healty attractive woman, the second image of Suvari looks like a very made up child. Maybe Jonny real world is attracted to children, rather than real women. Hope the porn keeps you warm at night buddy.

  9. 9 On June 20th, 2007, Max said:

    I’m not saying these woman are ugly, but they are clearly unhealthy. I’m not attracted to woman who are large and in charge (I know I speak for the majority of men- I DO), However, there are many men who are attracted to large women. Besides them and other large women who think this ad doesn’t work, you’re wrong- this ad makes sense.

    There is nothing “cool” or “fashionable” about being unhealthy. I don’t care what the average woman is like in this country because it’s no justification for being unhealthy or overweight.

    By the way, I got this link of, I wasn’t looking for porn and I’m pretty sure Johny wasn’t either.

  10. 10 On June 20th, 2007, Chicken Girl said:

    I think it’s very telling that Max specifically mentions that he doesn’t like women who are large *and in charge*. Does he, perhaps, prefer them meek and mewling and submissive?

    I think Ms. Rose Petals is adorable. I’m not really feeling the love for the other two, but that may be because they look so much older.

  11. 11 On June 20th, 2007, Max said:

    Perhaps it means he likes to throw in a joke to get people riled up. We can all throw “cheap shots” around, but how about we stick to giving our opinions in a friendly debate rather than criticizing and attacking Johny and I.

  12. 12 On June 21st, 2007, La di Da said:

    Clearly unhealthy? How, pray tell, can you know someone’s health without having access to their detailed medical records?

    Nothing “cool” or “fashionable” about being unhealthy, eh? That statement is so laughable I don’t even know where to begin. Anorexic, bulimic, alcohol- and drug-abusing celebrities are the very height of cool and fashionable.

    The statement also gives “health” a moral value. How do you think people with disability react when “health” is held up as the ultimate in desirability and virtue? Is someone with fibromyalgia or MS or cystic fibrosis automatically unable to ever be cool or fashionable or for that matter, virtuous, as is assumed by a state of “health”? Would you say someone who must use a wheelchair is unhealthy and therefore uncool? Indications are you’re one of those black-and-white thinkers who actually believes that being fat is a “choice”, so is someone who uses a wheelchair because they were born unable to use their legs deserving of more chance to be considered “cool and fashionable” than someone who uses a wheelchair because they chose to drive drunk and smashed up their car and spine? How can you tell what the wheelchair’s for unless you ask them? Is someone who’s fat because they have to take life-saving medicine (some cancer treatments actually make you put on weight) any different to someone who’s fat because that’s what their genetics dictate, or because they suffer from compulsive overeating? You certainly can’t tell by looking.

    How utterly judgmental. You can’t tell much about a person from the way they look except … how they look. What are you going to do, hand out gold star lapel pins to those “deserving” of being considered cool or fashionable or healthy based on whether you think their state of being is their “fault” or not? You did say there’s no justification for being unhealthy, after all.

    Or is it just that you really believe women should adhere to some stupid patriarchal beauty standard YOU think is attractive? Just give up on the “I’m only concerned about their health” already and come clean, dude.

    Women are not here to be all sexy and pretty and unoffensive to some guy on the intarwebs.

  13. 13 On June 21st, 2007, Max said:

    Just because the media portrays these women as “cool” or “fashionable” when they are deathly skinny doesn’t mean I condone this, nor find this to be true. Nobody has to believe what magazines show them, what TV tells them, or anything else- it’s what they want to believe.

    La Di Da, I understand our opinions don’t coincide, but my comments deal specifically with this set of ads, therefore your rant on people in wheel chairs and other forms of health issues is complete nonsense, because anybody with a soul wouldn’t find someone with a disability as uncool. Also, these women are overweight and in the context of these ads are meant to look unhealthy and they do. I don’t hold anything against overweight people because you’re right, I don’t know their story. But, with these ads, we do know the story and that’s is why when I make a comment it is geared toward this ad.

    Everybody has their own views as to what his or her mate should look like and if I think they should be a healthy or thin, then yes, that’s my standard.

  14. 14 On June 21st, 2007, Rachel said:

    We, as a society, have been so conditioned to view fat as the enemy, that we forget that fat is actually beneficial for our bodies. It’s the very reason why it’s so easy to put on weight and so very hard to lose it – our bodies are hardwired to store it.

    No, I don’t mean to say that I think a 700 pound person is healthy. That’s extreme, just as a woman who weighs 70 pounds is extreme. But the woman is the rose petal picture is hardly the picture of unhealth. She’s glowing, she looks radiantly healthy. Compared to the real Mena Suvari, she looks vastly healthier.

    And as for mates, yes, everyone has a personal preference. But to come on a body acceptance message board with the vitriolic hate Johnny spewed was both uncalled for, unnecessary, and just plain rude. If you see a woman in a bar you’re not attracted to, would you go up to her and spell out the reasons why, just as he did on my forum? I would hope not.

  15. 15 On June 22nd, 2007, littlem said:

    “I think it’s very telling that Max specifically mentions that he doesn’t like women who are large *and in charge*. Does he, perhaps, prefer them meek and mewling and submissive?”

    Bet on it, ChickenGirl.

    Plus, with his tunnel vision focus and inability to see relationships between issues (see last post)? His critical thinking skills suck.

  16. 16 On June 22nd, 2007, Max said:

    My inability to see relationships between issues?


    My critical thinking skills suck?


    I like the internet, but it just gives so many people a false sense of confidence and makes them feel like they can infer such ridiculous facts. littlem, I’m sorry my opinions differ from your own, but you don’t need to ridicule me for what I believe. I thought I’ve been over this.

  17. 17 On June 22nd, 2007, Rachel said:

    Max – Littlem might not have said it so eloquently, but based on your own words here you do demonstrate a very narrow realm of critical thinking.

    It seems you’ve bought into this relatively young cultural trend in which underweight is idolized, and fat reviled and you cannot grasp the fact that fatness is not an indicator of fitness.

    And above all, you don’ seem to get the much larger and looming offensive nature of the ads: that fact that men’s tastes are simply irrelevant when it comes to dictating a woman’s body image. Healthy or unhealthy aside, a woman should not mold her body simply to please a man’s aesthetic preferences.

  18. 18 On June 22nd, 2007, Max said:

    As I have already said, I do not condone underweight women or the super skinny models. There is clearly nothing healthy about that lifestyle. And just because I don’t think fat women are attractive and fit doesn’t mean I fall into this small, radical group of people who think anorexic women are attractive. Don’t categorize me like that.

    Women, don’t need to mold there body to please a man because each man has his own preference. However, I have my own view as to what my female counterpart should look like. There is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself and staying fit and in shape. This isn’t saying the woman depicted doesn’t take care of herself, but for a woman not to take care of herself because she doesn’t want to fit the “man’s mold” seems a little absurd, not to mention an unhealthy thing to do for obvious reasons.

    Most men understand women have curves and aren’t naturally sticks, but that doesn’t mean they are naturally overweight or obese, for the most part, unless, of course, they have a medical condition and vice versa for the really skinny situations.

  19. 19 On June 22nd, 2007, Rachel said:

    Max – I am not categorizing you in any category – you are. It was you who stated you don’t think fat woman are attractive (which is entirely irrelevant to the nature of the debate at hand), not I. Don’t put words in my mouth.

    Like I said before, everyone is free to have their preferences in a mate. But to come and spew hate on a body acceptance board such as Johnny did is over-the-top and unnecessary. After all, why should fat woman care why you don’t find them attractive? It’s not like the woman in the ad (or anyone else on this board whom you keep reinforcing your own personal tastes to) is asking you to fuck her.

    You seem to equate “taking care of oneself” as synonymous as being thin. It isn’t the same thing. It is entirely possible to be fit and fat, just as it is possible to be thin and unfit. Like I said, weight is not a measure of health.

  20. 20 On June 22nd, 2007, Max said:

    First of all, you said I sympathize with the “skinny trend” so you have categorized me. In addition, the basis of this debate was whether that woman in the ad really disgusts us or not. Some people believe she is attractive and good looking, while others, including myself, have disagreed.

    And you’re correct,it is unnecessary to “spew hate,” but I didn’t. Johny was harsh and went too far, but I did nothing of the sort. The reason I continue to bring up my preference in a mate is because it seems whenever I say I don’t find a large woman attractive I automatically like the super skinny twigs.

    People who are healthy and fit, aren’t excessively overweight. The girl with the rose petals isn’t obese, but if you have seen the other two pictures, those women are clearly unfit.

  21. 21 On June 23rd, 2007, Audra Williams said:

    Uh, these ads were done using models, weren’t they? I don’t understand why folks are talking about them as if they are photoshopped from the originals. I really think they are not.

    Anyway, that flowerpetal gal is HOT HOT HOT.

  22. 22 On June 23rd, 2007, Dr. Big-Mac said:

    Being fat is perfectly fine along with its risks of Diabettes, Heart Attack, Stroke, and possibly knee transplants! Believe it or not, being bohemeth is not attractive. The girl is clearly overwieght and being overwieght is a bad thing. I’m not attracted to the hollywood images of sickly skinny glamour girls, but im not attracted to fatty flowered oily women either. If you got hooked onto attractiveness by this fat tuna add, thats fine, i am not here to judge what you arouse yourself with. The point i am trying to make is that being fat is nothing to be proud about and should not be looked as a possitive setting.

  23. 23 On June 23rd, 2007, iflurry said:

    “Being bohemeth” may not be attractive, but good spelling sure is.

  24. 24 On June 23rd, 2007, Rachel said:

    Once again… for the men in this thread who seem to think that their preferences are remotely important and at issue. None of these women are asking you to fuck her. Get over yourselves and your narcissistic egos.

  25. 25 On July 17th, 2009, Fat Pig » said:

    [...] a fat slur. While gluttony has long been scorned in the U.S. owing to its Puritan background, American ideas about fatness remained relatively positive or at least neutral until the turn of the twentieth century. Peter [...]

  26. 26 On July 23rd, 2009, Elle McPherson weights in on plus-size clothes, feminism » said:

    [...] has it totally backwards.  Larger bodies used to be revered in the past and it is today that only a narrow  aesthetic body type ideal –thin– is celebrated.  [...]

  27. 27 On September 30th, 2009, In celebration of the baby bump » said:

    [...] cultural ideas about fat began to shift more than a 100 years ago, it has only been in pregnancy that women are culturally [...]

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