Let Nature Rule: Beauty is You

Tuned in: Lady Gaga, Born This Way

November and December are holiday months in America and other countries when an emphasis is often placed on food.  Many delectable and savory dishes are prepared to celebrate a day of thanksgiving and a variety of religious events.  However, it’s also a time when men, and especially women, worry about their weight and what and what not to eat.  This made me think about how a woman’s body image has changed over time, and the concept of an ideal look.

Rubens

Rubens

According to some researchers and experts, the ‘Rubens’ image dominated the ideal up until the 1890’s when women began to be used in advertising.  It appears that only after the 1900’s did the ideal of thinness began to creep into the culture.  Before then a full-figured ‘voluptuous’ looking woman represented ‘good health and wealth.’

With the turn of the 20th century, women began to become interested in athletics and weight control as a healthy science.  An ideal look at this time was a 5’4” 140 pound woman.  In the 1920’s the flapper style became the fad.  The style pulled away from the sophisticated and feminine and focused on a youthful, boyish look.  Flappers bobbed their hair, had small waists and wore dresses that flattened their breasts.  By the 1930’s women were moving back toward fuller breasts and a slim waist.

Twiggy

Twiggy

After World War II, women’s magazines began to promote a ‘New Look’ introduced by Christian Dior.  In order to maintain this look, women focused on weight control more than ever.  Diets supplemented by the aid of corsets and pushup bras were the rage.  This look held the stage through the 1940’s and 1950’s until the 1960’s when a model named Twiggy burst onto the fashion scene.  Twiggy set a standard that most models found difficult to maintain.  She stood 5’6’ tall and weighed 89 pounds.  From the 1970’s on, the trend has moved to a bit bigger look for women, but the emphasis on a small waist, slim hips and bigger breasts has taken root.  Today younger girls are drawn into the fashion world through advertising and marketing. They are influenced by this ‘ideal body image.’  More women of a variety of ages, races, and economic backgrounds deal with moderate to severe eating disorders because of their desire to maintain this standard.  At one time or another, some will experience a negative body image.  What is the cause for the dissatisfaction many women feel?

In my opinion, it’s the pressure to maintain this ideal image and to be considered a woman of value, beauty, and one who has a certain control and discipline.  Historically speaking, I prefer the look of the past.  What happened to the idea of naturally round, full and lush?  These attributes once conveyed their own provocative and sensual appeal.  Not so much today.  Why do some women routinely deny themselves calorically or lead secret lives of binging and purging?  Why are younger women, even in their teens, and in their natural bloom paying money to enlarge their breasts?  In other countries, including America, if you wear larger than a size 1, 2, or 4 you can’t even shop in certain stores.  Let’s end this madness.  Let everyone enjoy the holiday foods in moderation and guilt free.  We are so much more than a pant or dress size.  Humans are miracles of creation, fancies of nature.  Let’s really believe in the beauty of our diversities.  Any Thoughts?

About cinzia8

Published writer and teacher.
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3 Responses to Let Nature Rule: Beauty is You

  1. Julie Wulff says:

    Amen!!!!

  2. Dede Frank says:

    As one young man in my college communications stated “Ever notice that the women who dominate the fashion magazines often resemble boys. Hmm…”
    I see many young women who wear extended sizes/plus sizes wearing clothes that are rather tight fitting, showing their curves; they seem so confident. Are they doing so because they are in fact confident and comfortable with themselves or is it because they are trying to wear the clothes or look of the day regardless of how flattering? I think young women today are more confident and accepting of their uniqueness. If I remember correctly, women who were in high school or college in the 60’s and 70’s were often self-conscience about their figures. There wasn’t a term such as “muffin top” because a girl/woman wouldn’t wear her jeans so snug at the waist along with a tight-fitting top.
    In any case, striving for balance is a good idea. We can love who we are and also find clothes that flatter and bring out the best in our features, whatever they may be. One of the most attractive women I’ve had in class wore an extended size and had the keenest eye for young, hip and clothes that flattered her figure. Her hair, nails, make-up and most of all demeanor exuded confidence and style, all of which has helped her to become very successful and happy in her career and personal life.

  3. cinzia8 says:

    I couldn’t agree more. It’s refreshing to see that some women and men dress with style and confidence no matter their size. Perhaps with this emerging attitude and confidence, the styles will change to better reflect all shapes and sizes in an equal manner. Even though the plus-size models exist, how often does the public see them compared to the ‘mainstream’ models?

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