This Video Shows The Evolution Of The “Perfect” Body

The Miss Universe pageant has a problematic 63-year history — from its inception by Catalina Swimwear as an advertising platform after the 1951 Miss America winner refused to wear one of its suits to its years of ownership by Donald Trump. Then, of course, there are the narrow, unrealistic standards of beauty the competition promotes. U.K.-based Superdrug Online Doctor assessed images of pageant winners from 1952 to 2015 to gauge how our vision of the "perfect" body has shifted; view their video above to witness this evolution. The researchers note that at the dawn of the pageant, winners' measurements aligned closely with the average American woman's, but the two have diverged sharply over time. "There has been an exponential growth in the average American woman’s BMI and weight, while Miss Universe winners are growing taller — with BMIs declining into the underweight range," the researchers write. (They do also acknowledge that "BMI is not an accurate measure of health, as it does not take into account factors such as age, gender, and muscle mass.") Contestants' measurements aside, the Miss Universe contest itself is predicated on the importance of looks — a toxic message for anyone struggling to make peace with her body. As the research team points out, "Publicly judging a woman for how her body looks in a swimsuit typically implies that she needs to be of a certain size and weight in order to be attractive" — and we are having none of it.

It's your body. It's your summer. Enjoy them both.
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