Day after day, on almost every media platform, women are inundated with images, adverts, advice, tips and tricks to attain the unattainable! Year after year, the quest for beauty becomes more arduous, and even with all the widespread advice and technology, nobody seems even remotely close to attaining this widely publicised, and very misleading idea of perfection!
As women, we are bombarded with a constantly evolving set of thoughts of what the ‘ideal female body’ should look like. These constantly changing standards, puts pressure on the everyday women to conform to what society; or more so, what the media informs her she should look like! Many fight their natural body types and embark on often unhealthy methods to achieve these standards, and a lot of us (myself included) feel defeated when we are not able to accomplish this goal.
“Strong is the new skinny”…While I have been looking at this phrase almost daily as a form of inspiration and encouragement to shift my goal to a strong and healthy body, this statement itself lends itself to the notion of the ever evolving ‘norm’. It doesn’t set a standard, but rather a preface that this is what is acceptable NOW …and the possibility that things may soon change, and with that we will all have to once again alter our goals.
And the norm is changing. Constantly, in fact. Throughout time. It is no wonder women have a warped body image. We are fed media fodder constantly. Confusing us and this leads us to hate our bodies. To strive to change our God given form…and this has to stop!!
Through the decades, there have been countless beauties who have embodied the ever evolving definition of the ‘perfect’ women. What I find strange, is the fact that the ‘perfect woman’ size, has never stayed the same…
The very first form of media came in the form of renaissance art. The Renaissance woman was full, curvy, voluptuous and unashamed of their form. (I tried using the most modest pic here, but women were depicted as much more voluptuous than this.)
1920’s Flapper girls
The era that could, possibly, have started the boyish trend. Women wore loose dresses that that hid their shape and form and often taped their chest down to make them appear flatter.
1930 Hollywood Golden Age
Women became more body conscious, and many young girls started to aspire to look like the favourite stars. Women were encouraged to always be well groomed in the hopes of catching a husband (ouch)!!
40’s and 50’s
Marilyn Monroe was, and still is today, the embodiment of the real woman! No thigh gap, womanly curves, full face and an estimated size 12…she still had men swooning!
The 60’s introduces Twiggy
Salvation in the 70
Although still lean, Farah Fawcett was a salvation to women across the globe. She replaced the skinny ideal with a more healthy, energetic and fitness orientated goal for the women of the 70’s. With her natural beauty shining through, she embodied a girl next door vibe and was loved for it! The thinking thin phenomenon was now out in full force!
The 80’s reign of the Supermodel
Cindy Crawford rose to fame in the late 80’s and was one of the first lot of Supermodels! Having grown up in this era myself, Cindy Crawford was one of my icons. Following the footsteps of Farah, she was an image of health and fitness and still maintained her femininity and curves. It is appalling to think that in todays time, she would be classified as a plus size model!!!!!!!!!!
Heroin chic 90’s
And then there was Kate…who infamously said that “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” and changed the face (and taste) of beauty forever! Thigh gaps, bony hips and flat chests ruled the runway (and still does), media and red carpet. Everyone wanted to be that thin! Size zero became an actual thing, and eating disorders were on the rise…
Turn of the Millennium
The turn of the century introduced us to a new type of beauty in the form of bootilicious babes JLO, Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian. Curvy was the new skinny and finally there were real representations of the female form once again. But it also brought with it digital enhancement…salvation, short lived!!
The present day woman has many resources at her disposal. Media has become multi faceted, and more and more real women are stepping out of the shadows and reclaiming their power, yet there are still some who live with the expectation of being impossibly thin. Truth is there is not just one body type! How we should look cannot be dictated to us. We are all different and all beautiful. There is NO perfect size…only a perfect size for YOU. It’s time we each find our own happy medium (or large, whatever makes us happy) and stand proud! We have ourselves become ‘media’, so let US dictate what the new age woman should look like…Tall, short, boyish, curvy, hourglass, renaissance curves and all…strive to be the best possible YOU!
*All images in this post have been sourced