If you’re unhappy that you’re not a Gisele Bundchen look-alike, researchers want you to put the blame on your genes. A University of Michigan study published in the current issue of the International Journal of Eating Disorders reads that women have “skinny genes” that control their sensitivities to thin ideals.
In other words, some women are more susceptible to developing body image and eating disorders because of inherent desires to live up to the media’s expectations of beauty—and in this day and age, beauty tends to be defined by a woman’s figure.
Researchers followed about 350 twin sisters, both identical and fraternal. They were asked how much they wished they looked like the slim, gorgeous women they saw in magazines and on TV. The identical twins, who are genetically the same, mostly had the same levels of thin idealization, even if their life experiences were completely different. The fraternal twins, who share about half of their genes, had greater disparity in their responses to the women, even if they shared similar life experiences.
Thus, the researchers concluded that genetics play a huge part in why one woman might be more obsessed with weight than another woman. Of course, other factors, like the media, influence how much we embrace our bodies.
How skinny are your genes?