How has society’s understanding of what makes a woman beautiful changed over the past 100 years? Let’s find out. The contrast beween different eras is fascinating!
Perfect hourglass figure, huge bosom, large hips- from the imagination of male Graphic artist,Charles Dana Gibson.
Fast forward a decade and the ideal has gone completely the opposite way- thin was 'in'. Big boobs were not as desirable- the flat chested look was
Between 1920 and 1930- the flat chested thin look was short lived- now the emphasis was shifting towards - or back towards, a large bosom and curvy hips
Now this is interesting- today, in a world where we have fashion models, starving themselves to be thin- to conform to this very standard. Could these women have been the same?
A decade on, we have what may be considered, to be the era of the 'curvy' woman
The beginning of the hourglass shape obsession- Betty Grable was noted to have an ample 34B bosom, with a slender waist and this was considered- 'perfect'
Skinny was out- and this is perhaps the only point in history where women were seemingly actively encouraged to gain weight in order to appear 'healthy'
Voluptuous and highly desirable, the hourglass figure was the iconic shape
Marilyn, was, and still is, the subject of many male fantasies- and the ultimate Iconic representation of the association between an hourglass figure and the idea of perfection.
In sharp contrast to the previous decade, in the 1950s women were once again expected to look curvy, soft and extremely feminine. Everywhere, thinner women were derided; if you wanted to obtain the desired look, you had no choice but to put on some weight. Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe were the examples whom every girl was supposed to follow.
Fast forward a decade and again, theres a sharp reverse- now the opposite is highly desirable- Thin is back in- but wait, theres more- the thinner the better! The Swinging sixties, was the era of 'the waif'. And its said, that this is where the diet industry, begins to grow in popularity, due in part to the increasing demand to 'get thin quick'.
Thin was still the ideal, similar to the flapper girl, narrow hips and flat stomach was the ideal.
This was the era of the exercise, diet regime- Women could achieve the perfect body- through their own efforts. Muscly women was more acceptable, having previously been considered 'unnatural'. This is also the era of the "supermodel' Thin, long and lean with long muscly legs was the ideal
Ten years on, another reverse to the waif like look
From the 1980's to 2000, the waif like look remained the popular ideal, ridiculously low calorie diets became more and more popular as many women, tried to starve themselves into this unnatainable ideal
Curvy bodies were becoming more popular and the realisation that being too thin was dangerous, was beginning to emerge
This is the most fascinating era- when celebrities, such as Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce and Kim Kardashian, become Iconic figures. They seemingly have it all, strong, lean, curvy, voluptuous, these beautiful women are considered to be the ultimate in beauty
It seems clear that after 100 years, the notion of perfect body has shifted backwards and forwards, between thin and painfully thin- to curvy and hourglass- to a combination of all of them?