The results of a recent survey of female students aged 18 to 65 at British universities has shown that almost one in three would be willing to die younger in exchange for the ‘ideal’ figure of the likes of model Kelly Brook or actress Scarlett Johansson. Even more shocking was the fact that almost all of those polled were in the normal weight range – or even underweight.
According to the study some 16 per cent said they would swap one year of their life for their ideal body and 10 per cent were willing to trade between two and five years. 2 per cent were willing to forego up to a decade, and one per cent said they would give up at least 21 years in exchange for a slimline shape.
This brings to mind the question of which is more important to us in regards to our lives, what we deem as “quality” or sheer quantity. Of course the notion of what is quality is highly subjective, as this survey indicates, however many other types of life choices are also bring to mind the same issue…choices such as smoking, drinking, not exercising, having a tan and even perhaps eating meat (if some of the research is to be believed) all probably most likely affect our life expectancy or at the very least our probability of reducing our life expectancy. For those who make these choices, are they in fact making the same judgment that the survey participants were making, that one would prefer to live a shorter life that makes us happier than a longer life with its accompanying limitations.
The results of the UK survey were cited as “shocking” in the media but is it the concept that having an “ideal body” is a factor of such importance that it is worth reducing our life span, or is it the concept that one would want a shorter but more pleasurable life that disturbs us? This leads us to consider what a life is and what value one puts on our lives, questions which undoubtably deserve further thought!