Throughout history, artists have seen the nude figure as a beautiful expression of womanhood, in all its glorious shapes and sizes. But ask the average female how she views her own bod in the buff and it gets a lot more complicated. Nakedness reveals everything we usually get to hide: vulnerabilities that date back to high school, parts you struggle to love (or just outright hate), scars, stretch marks, etc., etc., etc. Women’s Health conducted a reader survey in 2013 to chart that complex relationship we have with our stripped-down selves. Now, though it’s just four years later, a lifetime of change has occurred on the body front. The body-positivity movement exploded, strong replaced skinny as social media’s favorite adjective, and #loveyourcurves campaigns abound—making us wonder, is there more love? More peace? How do women really feel about their bodies in 2017?
To find out, we polled over 2,700 women in the U.S., plus thousands more around the globe.* Some of the results are inspiring; others, confounding. Check out this snapshot of the results:
Read on to discover what’s changed—and what, rather defiantly, has not.
*Women’s Health’s international editions conducted the survey in their respective countries: Australia, Brazil, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Kingdom, plus a combined eight countries in Latin America.