Where are the times when curves were arousing?

13.09.2011 | By: Alex S.

There were times when chubby women were considered to have a beautiful body. What is the ideal size for a woman today?



ideals of beauty

Can you imagine women without cosmetic accessories? Most men probably never had contact with a woman who had a natural look of her face. (PhotoXpress)


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Everything has its history

Standards of beauty defining a desired shape of the female body differed through history. Ideal shapes of the female body were subjected to various changes. R. Coward says that the “aesthetic sex” is the subordinated sex because beauty is one of those empty ideas that are only given a meaning by a certain society in a certain historical moment. She says that if a woman is considered beautiful in a society, we believe that, with her body, she expresses the values that surround sexual behaviour of women at that moment (Coward, 1989).

Ideal of beauty in Renaissance

According to Coward, the emphasis placed on the appearance of women in a society becomes a key element in controlling the sexuality of women in the society. In Renaissance, an ideal female body was considered to be full-figured and well built. In the Victorian Age, the ideal of a full-figured body changed into a body that was built in the form of hourglass, which was helped by wearing corsets. In 1920, it was popular to have a boyish, immature and puberty look, in which the trademark Chanel was also interested.

Arrival of the “Twiggy” look

In the 1950s, standards commanded a full-figured body, but a change was brought about with the Twiggy look in the 1960s – the look that commanded a slender body (Macdonald, 1995). R. Coward says that since the 1960, when the key image was Twiggy, there’s been a tendency towards idealising the female body without an ounce of fat in writing and comparisons about fashion and beauty.

Hardly attainable ideals

The height of the “perfect” female body is therefore between 162cm (5ft 4in) and 170cm (5ft 7in) and she has to have long legs, a tanned skin, be vivacious and, above all, be without an ounce of fat. This has remained the ideal of a slender body to date. The standard image of the female body in today’s Western society is a slender and tight body without “excess and flabby fat”, shaped by exercise and subjected to various diets and cosmetic surgery. Such a body is disciplined and subjected to self-control.

Effect of cosmetics industry on “normal” state

Today, a woman is focused on reshaping her body, above all, by demanding practices of discipline, such as make-up, diets and fashion that normalise the female body. Women focus their attention on care for their image more than men (although men aren’t immune to maintaining their image by far), which goes hand in hand with the fact that we live in a narcissistic and visually oriented culture.

Therefore, cosmetic advertising in fact communicates to women that their body is incomplete. In addition, many advertisements are run every day, representing the perfect female body, and they can raise doubts in a woman that she hasn’t achieved the desired body contour. As it seems, in the regime that prescribes heterosexuality, women have to turn into objects and pray for men. In other words, this is an assumption that men are the dominant sex and women are the prestigious sex, which triggers competition among men.

Feel your body

Shaping one’s body has become a highly priced activity. Muscles are no longer associated with a lower status, lack of intelligence, a brutal nature and insensibility, as they used to be. A tight and shaped body has become the way to behave properly. This means that people take cares of their body and present themselves before others as a person who is capable of shaping his/her own life.


Read more about sex and sexuality in our Lover's Guide.



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