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Tue Mar 28 00:25:22 SAST 2017

Naked truth of life drawing

© The Daily Telegraph | 2015-12-09 00:44:14.0
A painting depicting a nude woman by Berlin artist Susanne Schueffel hangs in a hallway of the Marzahn-Hellersdorf Volkshochschule (VHS - a German adult high school) in Berlin.
Image by: JOHN MACDOUGALL / AFP

In a world obsessed with body image, staring at naked women for hours on end may not seem the obvious solution to improving self-confidence.

But a new study suggests that attending life-drawing classes can make people feel better about their own size and shape because they present a more realistic image of a natural body.

Anglia Ruskin University asked 138 men and women to take part in life-drawing classes and found that happiness with their appearance rose by 25%.

"These studies indicate that life-drawing classes may promote a healthier body image among participants," said Professor Viren Swami, of the university's psychology department.

"Life-drawing sessions may also provide spaces for people to explore relationships with their own bodies and critically appraise media depictions of 'idealised' bodies.

"The findings of the first study suggest that these effects are stronger in women. This could be because life drawing is viewed as a 'feminine' activity, or it could be because male attendees are more likely to encounter female rather than male life models," Swami said.

"If the results of these studies can be replicated and extended, life drawing may emerge as an effective means of promoting a healthier body image across the population."

A second study, featuring a female model, involved 37 women. Swami found that both body image satisfaction and appearance satisfaction increased.

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