Actually you might be surprised at how different the male ideal of a female body is from how women view themselves (and presume men do).
I posted an image on here a few days ago to show this. Men actually, it seems, by and large don't find very skinny women to be the most attractive...something I can affirm personally. My pet theory on why this is is that a woman with no breasts and visible abs seems sexually ambiguous, so these are features which to the reptilian parts of our brains, imply your hormones are out of kilter and hence that you have low fertility.
The ideal woman for a man seems to actually be much closer to a plus-sized model, around a size 12. A rounder face, strongly defined hips and breasts, an ass which is not rock hard, and a bit of stomach fat. Basically - sexual dimorphism. We don't want to date ourselves and are curious about how the ladies are different to us.
Plus-sized models are not the same as plus-sized women. Size 12 is a size large in regular stores. It is not plus-sized. Also, size 12 in the UK (where that reference usually comes from) is about an 8 in the USA, which is a medium size. That size is like Scarlett Johanssen and Marilyn Monroe in their hips/bust, perhaps Beyonce or JLo in softer phases, and Monica Bellucci as an older actress (not her modeling days). Yeah, we all know that is hot, when the body proportions are also ideal
. Most of those women have a waist much smaller than the hips/bust too (ie the waist may be several clothing sizes smaller).
Being curvy is fine...as long as the fat is in the "right places", aka, the hips/butt and breasts. Having a big belly and big arms is another story.
Too bad we cannot spot reduce fat or make our body only gain it in certain areas. A lot of that is genetically determined. Many women may feel and BE more attractive at a smaller size because that is the only way they will not have a belly and loads of cellulite. Tiny waists & slender limbs in proportion to the rest of the body seems a major factor in what is sexy vs pudgy.
Being "soft" is fine too...as long as you don't have cellulite, which men express revulsion to also. Unlikely for women of that size & shape to be totally smooth & firm. What is shown in magazines is photoshopped. They take out bulges and dimples that go hand-in-hand with curviness for most women.
In past eras, women often wore corsets or girdles to achieve unrealistic hourglass ideals, and swimsuits and clothing in general revealed a lot less skin. These were harmful anyway...they could cause a lot of damage to women's bodies as well as discomfort and restriction in movement.
Instead of undergarments, women may use surgery now to achieve the cartoonish hourglass ideal (see that Kardashian nightmare). I don't find this ideal to be anything close to comforting for women, nor more achievable/natural than a skinny ideal. Besides, most women want to look like shapely actresses and swimsuit/lingerie models that are featured in men's magazines, not skinny teenage runway models who are basically canvases for someone else's art, not objects of desire.