When do you think women feel most confident about their naked bodies? In a new UK-based study, research reveals that women have to wait past their tumultuous teenage years and beyond their twenties until they finally feel comfortable at age 34.
The research was conducted by Sanctuary Spa, a British skin and body care firm. In the study, 1,230 women were surveyed about their body confidence. Forty percent of respondents reported looking at their naked bodies in the mirror every day, 25 percent claimed to have checked themselves out weekly, and another 16 percent said they had never even seen their naked reflection before.
Overall, participants said they were happiest with their naked bodies at age 34. However, according to Rader Programs, an eating disorder counseling center, on average, women have 13 negative thoughts about their body every day. Standards of female beauty are presented in almost every form of the media, and although there are plenty of different perspectives that can be used to explain why women internalize the skinny self-concept, a solution isn’t as clear.
Glamour magazine — a popular women’s entertainment magazine riddled with dating advice, fashion, and beauty tips — found, after surveying its readers, that 61 percent of women felt ashamed of their hips, 64 percent were embarrassed by their stomachs, and 72 percent were unhappy with their thighs. On the more positive side, women were most proud of their breasts, legs, and shoulders. Nevertheless, women of all shapes and sizes reported some sadness over their bodies.
It’s no surprise given that women are inundated with messages of body image. According to Rader Programs, 50 percent of commercials designed for women mention physical attractiveness. The average adolescent, ages 12 to 19, is exposed to over 5,000 attractiveness advertisements each year.
What's more, the celebrities and models that women swoon after are typically underweight and, in most cases, airbrushed onto the covers of magazines. Fashion models weigh eight percent less than the average women 20 years ago. A majority of runway models meet the body mass index range that is considered anorexic, and 25 percent of Playboy models are considered anorexic by the same criteria.
“I have female clients of all ages and those in their early to mid-thirties typically have great body confidence,” said Nichola Joss, celebrity beautician. “Many 34 year olds I know have experienced either a loving relationship or close personal friendship and these bring confidence, both inside and out.”