TIME beauty

#SkinnyDays: Kim Kardashian Says She Misses Her Pre-Baby Body

And gets #OnTheTreadmillRightNOW

Locked in a race with herself, Kim Kardashian tweeted that she was running #OnTheTreadmillRightNOW in an attempt to slim down her body to what she called her “skinny days,” before she gave birth to a 4 pound, 15 ounce girl, when she could still shrink wrap herself into this skin-tight leotard/dress:

Kardashian tweeted the picture of herself, circa 2010, along with the unforgiving caption, “Throwback to a few years ago .”

Her followers responded with a mixture of disbelief (“are you kidding me?), sudden pangs of insecurity (“If she’s currently fat, than idek what tf I am”) and shameless marketing (“Get Your Dress $32.99 Sizes S-2XL”).

Kardashian’s post-baby body dilemma began little more than a year ago on June 15, with the birth of a baby girl and the subsequent public scrutiny of her body in a two-piece swimsuit five months later.

TIME beauty

Other Women Don’t Like Your Sexy Profile Picture

"Sharing those sexy photos online may have more negative consequences than positive"

You might want to think twice before making that bikini shot your profile picture—you could be inviting other women’s scorn. A study released Monday by Oregon State University found that young women judged peers with “sexy social media photos” to be less attractive, less likable and incompetent.

“There is so much pressure on teen girls and young women to portray themselves as sexy, but sharing those sexy photos online may have more negative consequences than positive,” said psychology researcher Elizabeth Daniels.

Daniels and her team created a fake Facebook profile for 20-year-old “Amanda Johnson,” who likes Lady Gaga, The Notebook, and Twilight (don’t we all?). More than a hundred young women between the ages of 13 and 25 were randomly assigned to view Amanda’s profile with either a “non-sexy” picture (Amanda in jeans, a t-shirt and a scarf) or a “sexy” picture (Amanda in “a low-cut red dress with a slit up one leg to mid-thigh and a visible garter belt”). They were then asked to rate Amanda’s attractiveness, likability and competence on a scale from 1 to 7.

The results are depressing. “Sexy” Amanda scored lower in all fields. The largest disparity between the two profiles occurred in her supposed competence, meaning that the sexy picture particularly hindered other women’s perception of her abilities.

However, Daniels also pointed out the negative side effects of having a wholesome photo, such as missing out “on social rewards, including attention from boys and men.” (And that’s really a woman’s main motivator for everything, right?)

But, don’t worry, ladies: Daniels and her team have some keen suggestions on how to avoid others’ baseless assumptions. “Daniels’ advice for girls and young women is to select social media photos that showcase their identity rather than her appearance, such as one from a trip or one that highlights participation in a sport or hobby,” OSU writes.

An important lesson: When other people judge you (and your social media presence) unfairly, it’s up to you to change. Thanks, science.

TIME beauty

‘Skinny Girl’ Bethenny Frankel Wears 4-Year-Old’s Clothes

Instagram post was met with a horrified response from her followers

Bethenny Frankel, former reality TV star and owner of the “Skinnygirl” beverages line, has outraged her Instagram followers after posing in her four-year-old daughter’s clothes.

Frankel, 43, who became famous after starring on The Real Housewives of New York City, sparked horror online after dressing in her daughter Bryn’s pajamas.

She posted the photo Sunday morning along with the caption: “This is my daughter’s nightgown and PJ shorts. Think we’re ready to start sharing clothes yet?”

Most people online did not think that. User jenmo2222 wrote: “I’m sorry this isn’t cute…a grown woman shouldn’t be the size of a 4-year-old especially when they have admitted to having an eating disorder in the past…!”

Fellow Instagram user, nonniedidit echoed her sentiments, commenting: “Women shouldn’t brag about being as thin as a small child… Go eat a sandwich.”

Frankel, however, defied her critics on Twitter, tweeting Monday:

In response to a fan who offered their support Frankel wrote:

Frankel, who sold Skinnygirl in March 2011 for a reported $100 million, has admitted to struggling with her weight. In a 2010 interview with People magazine she confessed: “I was owned by dieting. “I hated myself. I was completely obsessed and consumed.”

 

TIME beauty

This Is the Age Americans Feel Best About Their Appearance

Senior Citizen Couple
An elderly couple is shown smiling in the snow. Matt Hind—OJO Images RF/Getty Images

And men are more confident in their looks than women

Your grandparents may feel better about their looks than you do. In a Gallup survey released Thursday, Americans aged 65 or older were most likely to “agree” or “strongly agree” that they always felt good about their appearance.

Sixty-six percent of the American seniors surveyed gave the two highest possible responses to feeling good about their looks, compared to 61% of 18-34-year-olds and 54% of 35-64-year-olds.

Gallup surveyed over 85,o00 adults to ascertain how Americans’ feelings about their physical appearance change over time. The results showed an overall dip in satisfaction upon entering middle age and a resurgence of confidence among senior citizens, but researchers also found variations regarding gender and race.

Men gave higher satisfaction rates than women at nearly every age, but the differential decreased later in life. African Americans (68%) and Hispanic Americans (67%) also felt more confident in their looks than white (55%) or Asian Americans (62%).

The survey did not, however, try to account for actual attractiveness among respondents, so any correlation between one’s confidence in their appearance and others’ perception of it could not be concluded. “However, older Americans’ looks are generally out of sync with the youthful standard of beauty that prevails in American culture,” Gallup said, “and yet they are most happy with what they see in the mirror.”

TIME beauty

ESPN the Magazine’s 2014 Body Issue Celebrates Different Physiques

Jamie Anderson on the cover of ESPN the Magazine's 2014 Body Issue ESPN the Magazine

See the six covers featuring nude athletes

ESPN the Magazine’s Body Issue has always been an impressive feat in diversity. Both men and women pose nude for the photo shoots, and neither gender is objectified. Rather, the magazine is careful to celebrate the many different types of bodies that result from being in peak physical condition: sometimes that means slim waists for girls and large muscles for guys, but not always. Some athletes need larger leg muscles to propel themselves across a field, a court or ice. Others need to build their upper bodies for weightlifting. Some have tan lines from training outside, some tattoos and some scars.

The result: very different-looking forms, though admittedly all impressive. Julie Chu, who was in the 2011 issue, told TIME earlier this year, “I think that issue really highlights that there’s a lot of different types of bodies for elite athletes, and all of them can be beautiful and strong and confident.”

This year’s selection in particular offers a wide range of male and female athletes, including (in order below) Olympic snowboarder Jamie Anderson, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Texas Ranger first baseman Prince Fielder, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka and seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams.

And those are just the athletes on the covers. Here are some other athletes inside the pages:

Olympic snowboarder Amy Purdy:

World Cup soccer player Omar Gonzalez:

Olympic hockey player Hilary Knight:

World Tour surfer Coco Ho:

See the full slide show here.

[ESPN]

TIME beauty

Tyra Banks’ Strange Sci-Fi Vision of the Future of Beauty

Tyra Banks' Flawsome Ball 2014
Model Tyra Banks attends Tyra Banks' Flawsome Ball 2014 at Cipriani Wall Street on May 6, 2014 in New York City. Michael Stewart—WireImage

"Plastic surgery will be as easy and quick as going to the drugstore for Tylenol."

Women pop pills to temporarily gain Angelina Jolie-like cheekbones; being fat indicates wealth; and women—who will be able to have babies at the age of 120—will rule the world. Sound like a bad sci-fi movie? Welcome to the cosmetically-enhanced future, according to Tyra Banks.

On Monday the Wall Street Journal asked several celebs to write about the future of various industries: Mark Zuckerberg opined on what a world where everyone has access to the Internet will look like, and Taylor Swift wrote about the changing music landscape in which an artist’s connection with the audience is prioritized over the establishment. These celebs stuck to realistic predictions about the near-future. But that’s boring. Model-turned-reality show host Banks decided that the future of beauty looks a lot more like Panem in The Hunger Games.

Let’s set aside the fact that we are nowhere close to achieving the technology Banks is talking about: a serum that increases length and thickness of hair in 24 hours; the ability to conceive and bear children at the age of 120; ingestible pills that temporarily change your bone structure—pretty sure that will never be possible. Her vision of personal robots run by advertising firms, the struggle for uniqueness in a gentrified world and class warfare come directly from bad dystopian novels.

Banks, however, ends on an optimistic note for women: she says that having ultimate control over when they will have children will allow women to run the world: “Women’s empowerment will be an irrelevant concept because the balance of power between the sexes will have shifted dramatically. Women, in control of when they can have children (up to age 120!), and having more degrees and education than men, will be in charge. Men will be responsible for 70% of cosmetics sales and plastic-surgery procedures world-wide. Why? Men will be vying for women’s attention, obsessed with being attractive to females and snagging well-off ladies who can take care of them.” I’m not sure it’s as easy as that: first we have to ensure that women around the world can receive an education and any access to birth control. But I don’t want to crush Banks’ dreams.

 

TIME beauty

A Scientific Explanation For Our Obsession With Sexy Soccer Players

Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristia
Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo leaves the field after the second leg of the Spanish Cup quarter-final "El clasico" football match Barcelona vs Real Madrid at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on January 25, 2012. Luis Gene—AFP/Getty Images

It's not just a beautiful game. There are biological reasons so many people prefer footballers over other athletes.

The U.S. team has been knocked out of the World Cup, but that doesn’t mean Americans will stop watching the tournament. If the dozens of hottest soccer players lists on sites like BuzzFeed, Jezebel and Elle are any indication, Americans have finally fallen for international “footballers” like Cristiano Ronaldo (right) who have been global stars for years. The ogling has become so pervasive that writers are debating whether it’s okay to objectify male athletes.

This isn’t your average love affair with the athlete of the moment. It’s a full fledged crush. In the graph below, you can see that Americans have searched “hottest soccer players” more in the past 12 months than they have searched for “hottest football players,” even though the viewership for American football dwarfs that of soccer. (Queries have obviously spiked in the past month during the World Cup which has gotten unprecedented attention in the U.S. this year.) Search terms “hottest basketball players,” “hottest baseball players” and “hottest hockey players” had so little traffic in the U.S. that they didn’t even show up on the chart.


So why are Americans swooning over soccer players more than athletes in sports that are more popular? TIME asked evolutionary biologists, psychologists and sports medicine experts to weigh in.

1. The evolutionary ideal

David Beckham on the cover of Elle UK Elle UK

Evolutionarily-speaking women are attracted to strength and characteristics associated with high testosterone production such as a more masculine face. But scientists are just beginning to discover that women are biologically programmed to be attracted to endurance as well. “Recent studies suggest that in our evolutionary past there has actually been strong selection on endurance performance,” says Erik Postma, a research scientist at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Zurich. “Before the invention of spears, we would hunt by chasing down animals to exhaustion. Though we could not outsprint a zebra, over the course of many hours we could outrun it.”

Postma conducted a study in which he asked subjects to rate the attractiveness of the faces of various cyclists, and found that people rated the cyclists with highest endurance most attractive. This is good news for soccer players, who are not only strong but must cultivate endurance in order to survive games: soccer players run an average of seven miles per game, compared to the 2.5 run by basketball players and 1.2 run by receivers and cornerbacks in football (players in other positions run significantly less). “I think that unlike basketball and football players, soccer players might have the ideal combination of strength and endurance,” says Postma.

New York Jets v New England Patriots
Defensive Lineman Vince Wilfork #75 of New England Patriots on September 12, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Al Pereira—Getty Images

Our evolutionary biology then dictates what our culture sees as the ideal male form. “[The soccer player's body] is probably a little closer to the average person’s mental image of what beauty looks like,” says Dr. David Geier, a sports medicine expert and orthopedic surgeon. “When you look at ancient Greek and Roman sculptures of the ideal person, they look more like what soccer players are. They’re pretty regularly proportioned: they don’t have huge upper bodies and small lower bodies, or vice versa.”

2. A more relatable body type

FBL-WC-2014-MATCH52-CRC-GRE
Costa Rica’s forward Joel Campbell celebrates at the end of the round of 16 football match between Costa Rica and Greece at Pernambuco Arena in Recife during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 29, 2014. RONALDO SCHEMIDT—AFP/Getty Images

“When you look at the skills needed for soccer, it’s speed and endurance. It’s not upper body power. It’s not the ability to tackle people, so you don’t need the shape of a body that an American football player would need,” says Geier.

Soccer players, unlike many American athletes, are muscular without being bulky. Basketball players and football players must build up their upper bodies for shooting, passing and pushing one another around. Hockey players must build up their legs for strength and speed on the ice. Soccer players have a much more even muscle distribution. They’re toned, but not in an exaggerated way.

Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs - Game Two
Dwight Howard #12 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2013 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center on April 24, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas. Ronald Martinez—Getty Images

“There’s probably a perception difference when you have a seven-foot athlete compared to soccer players, who are pretty normal height—5’8″ to 6’2″,” says Geier. It’s easy to imagine your boyfriend running every day and slimming down than to imagine him growing an extra foot and pumping iron until his arm muscles swell to twice their size. That’s why many people find a body like Costa Rica soccer player Joel Campbell’s (in white shorts above), which has muscle evenly distributed across his 5’10″ frame, more attractive than that of NBA player Dwight Howard (in Lakers jersey above), whose shoulder and upper arm muscles are intimidatingly large. Plus, Howard is 6’11″—a less relatable height.

3. Showing emotion on the field

FBL-WC-2014-MATCH52-CRC-GRE
Costa Rica’s defender Waylon Francis (L) and Costa Rica’s midfielder Jose Miguel Cubero celebrate after winning a match with Greece during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 29, 2014. ARIS MESSINIS—AFP/Getty Images

Soccer players are notoriously more emotional during play than other athletes—so much so that a recent article in the New Yorker examined why Americans are exasperated by soccer’s dramatics. Players flop down on the ground when hit and roll around as if they’ve just been shot in the gut. When they congratulate each other, they don’t just high five, they leap into one another’s arms, scream and weep. After scoring a goal, players will tear off their shirt and run in circles. A goalie who let in a shot will collapse to his knees and wail.

It turns out these seemingly overdramatic (one might even say feminine) gestures are arousing to the opposite sex. A 2011 study found that men are perceived to be more attractive by heterosexual women when they exhibit emotional displays of pride and shame. In the way a peacock spreads his tail, men strut after victory to seem more attractive.

“This could explain part of what’s going on with male soccer players,” says Jessica Tracy, an associate professor of psychology at British Columbia who led the study. “If they show pride displays after success, and even shame displays after failure, this will likely increase their attractiveness—at least to North American women.”

FBL-WC-2014-MATCH43-NGR-ARG
Argentina’s forward and captain Lionel Messi (L) celebrates with teammates Argentina’s midfielder Angel Di Maria (C) and Argentina’s defender Marcos Rojo (R) after scoring during a match between Nigeria and Argentina on June 25, 2014,during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. JEWEL SAMAD—AFP/Getty Images

Emotional displays also increase a player’s relatability. “I think you get a better sense of their personalities,” says Geier. “There’s no helmet or cap like in football or hockey or baseball. Seeing them react to what’s going on on the field—it helps fans forge a relationship that you might not get with an athlete in pads and a helmet.”

4. Uniforms—on and off

FBL-WC-2014-MATCH49-BRA-CHI
Chile’s forward Alexis Sanchez reacts after missing a shot on goal during a football match between Brazil and Chile at the 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 28, 2014. ODD ANDERSEN—AFP/Getty Images

Let’s face it: soccer players like to show their abs. Even when they’re not tearing off their jerseys to celebrate a goal, soccer uniforms are more revealing than others. Hockey and football pads conceal most of the athlete’s body and head. Basketball uniforms are baggy, and baseball uniforms aren’t exactly the most flattering wear. Soccer jerseys better display abs, arms, legs and bottoms than gear in any other major sport, as demonstrated by the variety of BuzzFeed’s lists on the topic, which include “bootyful butts” and “match the six-pack to the soccer player.”

“Uniforms and clothes in general are used to enhance desirable features,” says Postma. “I did for example notice that the shirts [in soccer] have gotten tighter, showing off their muscular upper bodies much better.”

FBL-WC-2014-FRA-PRESSER
France’s forward Olivier Giroud addresses a press conference at the theater in Ribeirao Prato on June 10, 2014, prior to the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. FRANCK FIFE—AFP/Getty Images

The other reason there’s such a global obsession with soccer players is that there’s such a wide sample selection. The World Cup brings together hundreds of players from all over the world. Everyone has someone to root for—or ogle. Sheer variety has its appeal, and when there are that many men who spend all day, every day running, there’s bound to be at least a few players that capture the attention of the masses, like French forward Olivier Giroud (above), who tops many of the “hottest” lists.

And for Americans, who only see these players on ESPN once every four years and do not have as firm a grasp on the rosters, Postma believes that focusing on attractiveness might be “a way to make a sport that you otherwise don’t have much affinity with a bit more interesting.”

 

TIME Internet

Man v. Food’s Adam Richman Begs Forgiveness After ‘#Thinspiration’ Controversy

"Grab a razor blade and draw a bath. I doubt anyone will miss you," Adam Richman wrote to a critic on social media

The Travel Channel has announced it will indefinitely postpone a new show featuring host Adam Richman, star of the Travel Channel’s Man v. Food, after the TV personality made some insensitive comments about dieting in an Instagram post.

Last month, Richman posted a picture of himself on Instagram showing off his new body. The TV host—who has made a name for himself taking massive food challenges like eating a yard-long bratwurst or 72-ounce steaks—dropped 70 pounds over the course of 2013 (and more since). “Had ordered this suit from a Saville Row tailor over a year ago. Think I’m gonna need to take it in a little,” he wrote in the Instagram post, adding the hashtag #thinspiration.

Whether Richman knew it or not, #thinspiration has earned a reputation in pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia circles as a slogan encouraging eating disorders. In 2012, Instagram (following in the footsteps of Pinterest and Tumblr) banned thinspiration or “thinspo” photos meant to inspire others to lose weight in unhealthy ways from the social media site. Though many of these photos were aimed at women, more recently health professionals have worried about eating and workout disorders in men, who seek not only to lose weight but gain muscle in unhealthy ways.

The backlash to Richman’s comments was swift: many were offended by a celebrity’s use of #thispiration and ridiculed him. The TV host defended himself, writing,:

Maybe you’ll acknowledge that just because someone is on TV, they are no less worthy of human kindness, respect, forgiveness or patience…Give me a [expletive] break. If anyone acts like a [four letter word] I’ll call them one. It’s not misogyny, it’s calling a spade a spade….if my use of the hashtag offended you, it was unintentional & for that I’m sorry.

But he didn’t stop there. After another wave of negative comments, Richman wrote to one of his critics: “Grab a razor blade and draw a bath. I doubt anyone will miss you.” The exchange has been captured by screen grabs on XOJane.

Richman later tweeted an apology, which has since been deleted. “Yes. I’ve responded to internet hate recently with vile words directed at those hating me. I am sorry, I should know better & will do better,” he tweeted, according to screen grabs captured by Jezebel. He followed with another (now deleted) tweet: “In real life, if you say stuff you regret in anger, you cool down, apologize & move on.If you’re a celeb on social media – it becomes a blog.” Richman claimed on Instagram that he did not know the history of #thinspiration.

Richman released yet another mea culpa on Good Morning America Tuesday morning, saying: “I’ve long struggled with my body image and have worked very hard to achieve a healthy weight. I’m incredibly sorry to everyone I’ve hurt.”

Following the controversy, the Travel Channel has postponed Richman’s new show Man Finds Food, which was supposed to premiered on July 2. The channel has yet to announce a new date for the show.

TIME beauty

Miss Florida Just Lost Her Crown Because of a Voting Error

Beauty queen dethroned due to "error in the tabulation process"

Elizabeth Fechtel was crowned Miss Florida on June 21, but enjoyed her title for only a few days before it was revoked Friday due to the discovery of an “error in the tabulation process.

First runner-up Victoria Cowen was given the crown instead after an independent audit and review of the ballots revealed that she had actually earned the highest score, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

The pageant coordinators did not cite any specific details about the error in their official statement. The family was told that “in the last 15 seconds of the time allotted to vote, [one judge] drew lines to reverse his first vote,” mother Dixie Fechtel wrote in an email to the Times.

[Tampa Bay Times]

TIME beauty

This Is What the Same Woman Looks Like Photoshopped in Different Countries

Digital artists from around the world interpret the same photo based on their local and personal beauty ideals.

We’ve become accustomed to seeing photoshopped images in media. But journalist Esther Honig decided to do something a little different. She wanted to conduct a little experiment in beauty ideals so she sent the same picture of herself to Photoshop artists in 25 different countries with a simple request: make me beautiful. What she got back was 25 different versions of herself: The artists changed everything from her eye color to her makeup to her skin tone.

The recently released “My project, Before & After,” examines how these standards vary across cultures on a global level,” Honig wrote on her website.

It should be noted, however, that the results of her experiment don’t necessarily embody the typical attractiveness standards for an entire culture or country. The images reflect the tastes and skill level of each of the photoshop artists Honig commissioned. The U.S. example, for instance, does not look anything like what you’ll see in most fashion magazines or ads, but it is distinct from the images from other countries.

“[All of the photos] are intriguing and insightful in their own right; each one is a reflection of both the personal and cultural concepts of beauty that pertain to their creator,” she writes. “Photoshop allows us to achieve our unobtainable standards of beauty, but when we compare those standards on a global scale, achieving the ideal remains all the more illusive.”

What is clear from the wide range of results is that there is no singular definition of what is beautiful. The standard varies according not only to country but to culture and individual preferences. TIME has gathered just some of the examples.

Read next: Here’s What 20 Famous Women Think About Feminism

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