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Let's Stop Judging Other Women's Bodies

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It's no shocker that how you feel about your body impacts the way you feel about your overall attractiveness—nothing like a case of the bloat to sabotage your self-esteem.

But according to a new study published in the journal Economics and Human Biology, we're not just our own worst critics, we're harsh on others too, which might explain why smokeshows like Ashley Graham still get so much heat in the media.

Researchers from the University of Surrey and the University of Oxford in the UK looked at how both male and female interviewers assessed the attractiveness of interview candidates, paying special attention to how the interviewees Body Mass Index (BMI) affected the overall assessment of beauty and attractiveness.

For men, BMI wasn't a factor when it came to judging the attractiveness of male candidates, but it was when it came to women. And for the women interviewers, BMI weighed heavily on their perceptions of beauty for both the male and female candidates. In fact, they were the harshest when it came to judging other women.

According to the study authors, the findings go beyond just confirming that women are their own harshest critics when it comes to body image issues. It might have something to do with the wage gap (heavier women tend to make less than thin women, but the same doesn't apply to men—ugh), as attractiveness tends to impact our perceptions of competence and even how much we're paid.

The bottom line? There's only so much we can do about unconscious biases like the ones measured in the study, but awareness is the first step in changing the conversation. The next step: Check out Why You Should Be More Body Positive This Year.

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