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People with Internet Access Find Thin Women More Attractive

Jul 11, 2014 09:12 AM EDT

A new study has found that people with access to internet are more likely to find masculine men and thin women more attractive, even in cultures where beauty standards are different. The study shows that Internet might be influencing beauty perceptions worldwide.

The study, conducted by the University of St Andrews, was based on data from people with and without Internet access living in El Salvador.

"One possibility for the difference is the level of media exposure: people with Internet access are more exposed to the media (adverts or websites), which promotes the beauty ideals of muscly men and thin feminine women," said Carlota Batres, lead author of the study.

The study is published in the journal PLOS One.

Researchers obtained data for the study from Latin American country of El Salvador, where about 74 percent of the population hasn't got an Internet connection.

Participants in the study were asked to rate the attractiveness of men and women. The team found that Internet users were more likely to find masculine men and thin women more attractive. However, non-Internet users tended to rate even feminine-looking men and heavier women more attractive.

Researchers say that socioeconomic status might be linked to beauty preferences. People with access to Internet are more likely to have a television set at home. Commercial advertisements, movies and T.V shows expose users to the beauty standards of the developed world, skewing their perception of attractiveness.

"One possibility is that the harshness of the environment may influence face preferences. People without Internet in the El Salvador study had fewer resources - such as no running water - and such harshness may be responsible for what they find attractive," David Perrett, one of the study authors, said, according to a news release.

Researchers said that the study findings are consistent with other research that says that  people in rural, poorer communities prefer heavier women.

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