Which is the Ideal Breast Size?: Some Social Clues for Plastic Surgeons

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Abstract

To provide plastic surgeons with more detailed information as to factors affecting the perception of female attractiveness, the present study was aimed to investigate whether the interaction effect of breast and body size on ratings of female attractiveness is moderated by sociodemographic variables and whether ratings of shapeliness diverge from those of attractiveness.

A community sample of 958 Italian participants rated the attractiveness and the shapeliness of 15 stimuli (5 breast sizes × 3 body sizes) in which frontal, 3/4, and profile views of the head and torso of a faceless woman were jointly shown.

Bigger breast sizes obtained the highest attractiveness ratings, but the breast-by-body size interaction was also significant. Evidence was found of a moderator role of sex, marital status, and age. When the effects of breast and body size and their interaction had been ruled out, sex differences were at best very slight and limited to very specific combinations of breast and body sizes. Ratings of attractiveness and shapeliness were highly correlated and did not significantly differ.

Results suggest that to address women’s psychological needs, concerns, and expectations about their appearance, plastic surgeons should not simply focus on breast size but should carefully consider the "big picture": the body in its entirety.

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