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The Evolution of the ‘Perfect’ Body


by Jeanne Sutton
20th Jan 2015

If there is one thing January needs less of it, that’s diet and body image bullshit trying to remind you that you aren’t perfect and not in line for a Victoria Secret’s gig. This is a month of bad mood weather, desperate budgeting, boring lunches, and an onslaught of Make Yourself Better articles aimed at making us women feel inadequate and apologetic about eating toast for breakfast. However, this isn’t just something that happens once a year. The pressure to look amazing is constant and has been plaguing women for years, decades, all of history.

Greatist.com have made some amazing infographics and one great gif charting the changing silhouette of the ideal female figure throughout the past century. It makes for interesting, and depressing, reading.

The 1910s was the era of the ?Gibson Girl?, named after fashion illustrator Charles Gibson whose preference was for hourglass figures. His models tended to have tiny waists and generous thighs and breasts, thanks to the practice of restrictive corseting.

The 1920s girl, ?The Flapper?, had a bit of an easier time thanks to fashion’s preference for lower waistlines and less fitted dresses. The Flapper represented a woman who was independent, fun and free of social cares. The 1930s, 1940s and 1950s saw the return of curves, with the latter decade especially enamoured of the dramatic hourglass. Think Elizabeth Taylor.

The 1960s was all about Twiggy and Greatist point out that this era saw a record amount of amphetamines prescribed for weight loss. The 1970s saw some relaxation in these crazy expectations while more recent decades all tended towards this thin ideal with an emphasis on toned muscles. Meanwhile we’re living the decade of the Booty Babe – hello Kim Kardashian.

Can the next era belong to the Everywoman? Can you imagine a decade of young women not subject to the pressure to conform to society’s standards?

greatist.com

Follow Jeanne Sutton on Twitter @jeannedesutun

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