Essay on How the Ideal Body Image Has Changed Through History

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How the ideal body has changed over time and what the future holds This painting was created in 1509 and a section from the plaque below the painting reads “This mysterious painting is meant to be an allegory of Poetry, whose symbols – the flute and the pouring water – are shared between two nude women of ideal beauty. These unreal figures exist only in the imaginations of the two men they inspire.” This painting shows that just over 500 years ago the ideal body was one of robust and physically larger women. This painting was created in 1863, just over 350 years after the painting above. This shows that in over 350 years the ideal body did not change as this painting still depicts women whom people today may classify as…show more content…
This showed that the idea of changing a woman’s figure had started in the early 1800’s but for quite a long time these two ‘ideals’ ran alongside each other. Some women were starting to alter their physical appearance whereas many other women had bodies that were similar to the ‘ideal’ larger body which has been commonplace since the 1500’s. In the 1920’s, after World War 1, active lifestyles were dominant and body fat became associated with being self-indulgent. Adding to this, women were starting to gain more independence and so to reflect this women desired a freedom of movement and comfort in the clothes they wore. Anne Bolin, an anthropologist at Elon College in North Carolina explains that, “during… the 1920’s… the ideal shape for women de-emphasised their reproductive characteristics such as nourishing breasts and wide, childbearing hips”. Due to the emergence of the flappers, dresses skimmed over the hips, rather than accentuating the waist and some women bound their breasts to create a more androgynous silhouette.This was the first time that women embraced something other than the traditional womanly figure seen previously. With the flappers it was generally the first time that women made a conscious decision to try obtain a thin body, something that changed the ideal body for many generations to come. Although the idea to embrace thinness occurred in the 1920’s for a short while afterwards in the 1930’s and 1940’s
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