Playboy Centerfolds Getting More Androgynous screamed (panted?) this Reuters story, which reports on an Austrian study of centerfolds over nearly half a century.
The researchers–who only read the mag for the pictures–found that "Playboy centerfolds' typical body mass index has further descended below corresponding population levels, whereas their typical waist-to-hip ratio now approaches corresponding population levels–that of 20-plus year-old females."
There are obvious problems with generalizing from a single source, but the researchers basic conclusion, within very broad parameters, seems absolutely true: "It appears that female bodily attractiveness cues are subject to change over time."
The same goes for men, as anyone who remembers the flabby male movie stars of yesteryear can testify. More generally, over the past 50 years or so, there has been a massive and liberating expansion in not just acceptable body types, but wider-ranging cultural identities. Anthropologist and Reason fellow traveler Grant McCracken explains a lot of the back story to all this in his online book Plenitude.