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Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The history of women's ideal body shapes

body shapes
Body Shapes
Over the years, women have come face to face with the battle of body shapes. This is not to say that only women face weight and body shape issues, men do too. But, through the 1900s women have been influenced by the ever changing ‘fashionable’ body shape. I have devised a timeline to show how women from the early 1900s to today’s women see their body differently and how much pressure they face with images in magazines.

1920s - Jazz Age                                  

The 1920s brought about the ‘New Woman’. Women would wear corsets to restrain their frame and bind their breasts down in order to have a more boyish figure. Curves were a thing of the past. The hair would be cut into a bob. The boyish figure was in order to show that women were equal to men and could do what they wanted.

Bette Davies
Bette Davis was famous in the 1930s
1930s - Post Depression

The 1930s paved way for the end of the boyish look into a more slender and sleek figure. The natural waist line was reintroduced allowing women to regain their femininity.

1940s - The War Years

The 1940s saw women regain their curves. Their sexuality gained them a form of power over the males. This reflects the beginning of the working woman when the men were away fighting the war. Hem lines rose during the time of the war in order to save on material therefore more leg was shown. On the whole, women were becoming more powerful.

1950s - Recovery

Marilyn's curves
The famous Marilyn Monroe was well known in this decade.  Once again, women’s curves were celebrated and they became more feminine than the previous decades. But how long would this last? We have seen women's shapes changing tremendously in a space of a couple of decades.

1960s - Social Upheaval

As feminism took over, women began to go against what is seen as the ‘norm’ and move away from their domestic duties, motherhood and the role of a wife. Twiggy, famous for her stick thin body, something that today’s society is very familiar with, came on the scene and became famous overnight. Curves were out and the boyish figure was ‘back in fashion’, so to speak.

1970s - Sexual Revolution

Curves are back again! Boobs and hips were once again celebrated. Surely this ever changing body shape of Curvy...Boyish...Curvy...Boyish and so on is crazy right?

1980s - Prosperity

The 80s saw a fitness craze and women working out to gain those must have abs. Here's Cindy Crawford, one of the first super models, giving a workout. As the video below portrays, women's skimpy workout outfits along with their toned abs defined the meaning of 'sexy'. This is again similar to today's society where gym memberships are the norm and 'women only' fitness classes ARE growing in popularity.

Catwalk Model courtesy of Dollschic
1990s - Globalisation

The 90s saw Kate Moss arrive on the scene and modelling becoming known for its thin models.

2000 - Celebrity Influence

As we all know, celebrities have fitness instructors to keep them toned and in shape. This leads us ‘normal’ people to continuously follow diets and count calories. Catwalk models and some celebrities are stick thin, almost ill looking. The influence the media and celebrities have over the public leaves women either wanting to gain curves or lose weight off of certain areas. But, celebrities are also being slated for their body shapes. Adele was called fat by designer Karl Lagerfeld. And Kim Kardashian is praised for her curvaceous body.

Kim Kardashian's curves

2007 - Giving Real women a chance

In 2007, Coleen Rooney’s television show ‘Coleen’s Real Women’  went against the size zero craze and put normal sized women forward to apply for advertising and modelling jobs.

2012 - The Art of Airbrushing

As we all know, airbrushing has been around for many years but yet we still pick up a magazine and wish we had the figure of that person in a swimsuit. Britney spears and Debenhams are the minority of people who have published before and after shots of a photo. This goes to show that we all have flaws and none of us are perfect. But, if you take a look at the before and after shots from the Debenhams campaign, there is nothing wrong with the before shot to begin with. Can you see anything wrong? To me there's not.

Images like these have a massive influence on society and can lead to girls as young as thirteen dieting because they want a body like this. It's crazy. No matter what shape you are, you should celebrate it.

Looking back through the years, body shapes have changed so much that we should just be happy with who we are and not follow the trend. There will always be someone who will try to put you down but it’s your body. If you’re happy, that’s all that matters. Don’t let society influence you. Hub Pages have a similar timeline focusing on the Western Standards of Beauty. The so called 'trend' of the ideal women's body is constantly changing and in today's society, whether you're a size 6 or a size 20, you're going to get slated for being too skinny or too fat. Every body should be celebrated!!

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with you. It doesn't matter what size you are, you're never going to please everybody and why should we? We should only have to please ourselves and if we're happy with our shapes and figures, why should other people put us down about it?

    I will never be completely satisfied with my shape and that comes from years of dieting and a huge weight loss, but I am probably as happy as possible for the moment. However, my partner would prefer me to have a bit more weight and my family are constantly telling me that I'm too thin, but it's not up to them.

    And as unfair as it is, women look to the fashion industry and celebrities as female role models and have the distorted idea that they have to fit the same measurements, no matter what body shape they were born with.

    Natalie x


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