August 26, 2019

Are you feeling included in beauty inclusivity?

Mallory Newall // WTF BEAUTY

This issue features messages of body positivity from Alex Keith, Anastasia Garcia and others. We are seeing more variations of humans in ads and the media. The definition of “beauty” is, arguably, expanding. While we might see these changes all around us, are we really feeling beautiful ourselves?

Ipsos conducted a survey for RiverMend Health that shows that many of us are not. When asked about situations in which we feel “dissatisfied” with our bodies, only one in five reports always feeling satisfied.

In contrast, nearly twice as many people —and more than twice as many women— report feeling dissatisfied when they look in the mirror.

Though women continue to be dissatisfied with their bodies in greater numbers than men, there are underlying signs that men feel just as much pressure to confirm to the ideal body type. Eight in 10 Americans agree that as many men as woman want to change their weight. There are also signs that things may be changing with the youngest generation. In a separate study conducted in late 2017 among tweens age 10 to 13, roughly one in three said they “love their body the way it is” and wouldn’t change any part of it even if they needed only to wave a magic wand to do so.

Part of the issue is that while the definition of beauty is expanding, it’s still evolving. In the RiverMend survey, people still consider an athletic frame to be the “perfect body.” Only 20% think the “dad bod” is the right fit for men. This is true throughout the globe, as you’ll see in our global beauty survey.

For brands broadly in the beauty space (fashion, fitness, healthcare and more), pushing that definition by including more different body shapes and sizes in media and marketing efforts could go a long way to helping people feel more comfortable in their own skin—whatever that may look like.

Mallory Newall

Mallory Newall is a Research Director within Ipsos’ public polling practice.

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When do we feel dissatisfied with our bodies?

Which of the following situations, if any, make you feel most dissatisfied with how your body looks?

Male Female

When I look at myself in the mirror When I look at myself in the mirror 35% 40%

At the beach when I'm wearing my bathing suit At the beach when I'’'m wearing my bathing suit 20% 38%

When I'm comparing myself to images of people I see on social media When I'm comparing myself to images of people I see on social media 14% 15%

When I'm at a party or other social event When I'm at a party or other social event 11% 13%

In bed with my partner In bed with my partner 9% 11%

All the time; it doesn't matter where I am All the time; it doesn't matter where I am 6% 10%

Never; I'm always satisfied with how my body looks Never; I'm always satisfied with how my body looks 26% 17%

When I’m shopping for clothes When I’m shopping for clothes 17% 44%

When I’m trying on old clothes I haven’t worn in a while When I’m trying on old clothes I haven’t worn in a while 19% 35%

When I’m watching a movie or TV show and see how fit the actors are When I’m watching a movie or TV show and see how fit the actors are 12% 10%

At family gatherings At family gatherings 7% 9%

When I get together with my friends When I get together with my friends 7% 6%


(Source: Ipsos survey conducted between January 3 and 5, 2018 on behalf of RiverMend Health among 1,004 U.S. adults.)

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, Director, U.S., Public Affairs |



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