CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Monday, January 19, 2015

The struggle to feel beautiful in an airbrushed world

 

 

Sex siren, flapper, waif or bootylicious, how the shape of the ‘perfect’ body has changed over the last 100 years

  • Women were inspired by Charles Dana Gibson's illustrations in 1910
  • Curves came into fashion in 1930s and 1940s
  • Kate Moss personified the Waif of 1990s
  • Today, Kim Kardashian and Beyonce champion curves and a big bottom

Kim Kardashian's famous curves may adorn glossy magazine covers today but that would not have always been the case.

Rewind 100 years and the perfect female figure was an altogether different story.

Inspired by Greatist, FEMAIL has taken a look back over the past few generations to examine exactly how the female ideals have changed.

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FEMAIL has taken a look back over the past few generations to examine exactly how the female ideals have changed, beginning with the 1910s Gibson Girl ideal inspired by the illustrations of Charles Dana Gibson

From the Gibson Girl of the early 1900s to the Bootylicious Beyonce of today - via Heroin chic Kate Moss - just how much the most desired shape of the day has changed over the years may surprise you.

In 1910, it was all about the Gibson Girl look: the pouty, curvy woman who personified beauty portrayed by the illustrations of Charles Dana Gibson.

Her physique was tall and slender but with a buxom bosom and large hips; essentially an 'S' shaped body achieved by wearing a super-cinched corset.

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By 1920, the flapper girl was well in fashion and a trim figure was all the rage

The housewife did not need a personal trainer to keep the surplus pounds at bay. In a world before vacuum cleaners and washing machines, housework kept her - and her legs - trim for her short-hemmed dresses

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The housewife did not need a personal trainer to keep the surplus pounds at bay. In a world before vacuum cleaners and washing machines, housework kept her - and her legs - trim for her short-hemmed dresses

By 1920, the flapper girl was well in fashion. Times were hard for the Twenties flapper girl. A quarter of a century before the creation of the egalitarian Welfare State, poverty meant many British adults and children never had enough to eat.

The housewife did not need a personal trainer to keep the surplus pounds at bay. In a world before vacuum cleaners and washing machines, housework kept her trim.

But while the majority of women had no problem keeping slim, it was the Twenties which saw the invention of dieting.

Upper-class women who ate a richer diet and exercised less bought the new women's magazines which featured weight-loss diets designed to give you that fashionable, streamlined figure that worked so well with the iconic flapper dress.

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Hemlines fell in 1930 and curves seeped their way back into fashion

With her curvier figure, Jean Harlow was the sex symbol of the 1930s

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With her curvier figure, Jean Harlow was the sex symbol of the 1930s

Hemlines fell in 1930, when morale was low following the stock market crash. Curves seeped their way back into fashion and women dared to bare their shoulders.

This slightly more voluptuous look was embraced by the media, which lead nicely into the screen queen era of the 1940s.

The Forties woman was one inch larger all round than the Flapper simply because she was better nourished.

The Forties laid the foundation for women becoming taller as the Government decreed that every child was entitled to one-third of a pint of milk a day, so promoting the growth of strong bones. This continued in schools until Margaret Thatcher scrapped it in the 1970s.

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With their men off fighting, fashion changed in the Forties and the curvy feminine look to cheer returning heroes became the order of the day

Again, it was their highly energetic lifestyle that kept Forties women slim. There was no petrol for cars, and people cycled or walked for miles every day. Girls thought little of walking ten miles home after a Saturday night dance.

With their men off fighting, fashion changed. The curvy feminine look to cheer returning heroes became the order of the day, with fitted suits and belted flowery dresses to show off the waist, and the Flapper's flattening bodice giving way to the circle-stitched bra.

Those ideals heightened in the Fifties, when weight gain tablets were promoted in magazines to help women fill out their curves.

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In the Fifties, weight-gain tablets were promoted in magazines to help women fill out their curves

This was a stark contrast to the 1960s, which ushered in a more much gaunt figure popularised by supermodels such as Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton.

Dresses shrunk to suit the favoured petite frame and women craved smaller busts and tinier hips.

Many women embarked on diets to fulfill their goals and Weight Watchers was founded - and welcomed - in 1963.

Back came the curves in 1970 - the era of the long, lean dancing queen.

Farrah Fawcett was the poster girl of this decade and waspish frames were on their way out.

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In the 1960s, dresses shrunk to suit the favoured petite frame as sported by Twiggy

 

The 1960s ushered in a more much gaunt figure popularised by supermodels such as Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton The 1960s ushered in a more much gaunt figure popularised by supermodels such as Twiggy, left, and Jean Shrimpton

The 1960s ushered in a more gaunt figure popularised by supermodels Twiggy, left, and Jean Shrimpton

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Back came the curves in 1970 - the era of the long, lean dancing queen

The typical 70s look was embraced by (L-R) Kate Jackons, Farrah Fawcett and Jaclyn Smith

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The typical 70s look was embraced by (L-R) Kate Jackons, Farrah Fawcett and Jaclyn Smith

By the time the Eighties came along, the British woman was well on the way to an irretrievable pear-shape, with her hips measuring two inches more than her bust.

Women idolised the 'supermodels' of the era - including leggy Elle MacPherson, Naomi Campbell, and Linda Evangelist.

It was, of course, in the Eighties that exercise classes became fashionable, with women looking to Jane Fonda in a bid to achieve lithe, muscular bodies.

Alas, despite huge numbers of videos sold and classes attended, the inches continued to increase.

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By the Eighties, the British woman was on the way to a healthy figure with Elle MacPherson being the ideal

 

Women idolised the 'supermodels' of the era in the Eightees - including leggy Elle MacPherson, who became widely known as 'The Body' Women idolised the 'supermodels' of the era in the Eightees - including leggy Elle MacPherson, who became widely known as 'The Body'

Women idolised the 'supermodels' of the era in the Eightees - including leggy Elle MacPherson, who became widely known as 'The Body'

Then came the 1990s - and Kate Moss. The supermodel and pin-up of her time, became known as 'the waif' and she and fellow catwalk queens such as Jodie Kidd popularised the 'heroin chic' look, which was gaunt with hollow eyes.

The look, thankfully, came to an end thanks to Gisele Bundchen, who promoted a healthy lifestyle and washboard abs.

Britney Spears also jumped on the bandwagon and shocked the world when she revealed she completes 600 sit-ups a day to achieve her toned tummy.

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The Nineties was the decade of 'the waif' popularised the 'heroin chic' look seen on Kate Moss

 

Then came the 1990s - and Kate Moss, left, and Jodie Kidd The supermodels popularised the 'heroin chic' look, which was gaunt with hollow eyes

Then came the 1990s - and Kate Moss, left, and Jodie Kidd. The supermodels popularised the 'heroin chic' look, which was gaunt with hollow eyes

By the year 2000, the pearshape became even more marked, with the average waistsize having ballooned four inches in 20 years.

The wasp-waisted Twenties woman would be shocked at the dimensions of today's Kim Kardashian and Nicki Minaj, who champion the bigger is better mantra.

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By the millennium, women strived for an athletic figure like Britney Spears

 

Gisele Bundchen, left, and Britney Spears, right, promoted a healthy lifestyle and washboard abs in the 2000s Gisele Bundchen, left, and Britney Spears, right, promoted a healthy lifestyle and washboard abs in the 2000s

Gisele Bundchen, left, and Britney Spears, right, promoted a healthy lifestyle and washboard abs in the 2000s

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Today, the Facebook generation look to body icons such as curvy, big bottomed Kim Kardashian

 

Today, it's all about the big behind, as championed by  Kim Kardashian, left, and Nicki Minaj, right Today, it's all about the big behind, as championed by  Kim Kardashian, left, and Nicki Minaj, right

Today, it's all about the big behind, as championed by Kim Kardashian, left, and Nicki Minaj, right

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The struggle to feel beautiful in an airbrushed world

 

From the Gibson Girl of 1910 to the Bootylicious Beyonce of today via Heroin chic Kate Moss, just how much the 'perfect' vision of the female figure has changed may surprise you.

 
   

 

Body Issue: Venus Williams is following in her sister's footsteps and posing nude for ESPN the Magazine's Body Issue

Body Issue: Venus Williams is following in her sister's footsteps and posing nude for ESPN the Magazine's Body Issue

Brrrr: U.S. bobsled brake woman Aja Evans ditched her Team USA unitard to pose nude behind her sled

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Brrrr: U.S. bobsled brake woman Aja Evans ditched her Team USA unitard to pose nude behind her sled

Surf's up: Hawaiian-born professional surfer Coco Ho traded her wet suit for her birthday suit for ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue

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Surf's up: Hawaiian-born professional surfer Coco Ho traded her wet suit for her birthday suit for ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue

This year's issue features 22 athletes posing in their birthday suits, including five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams, 18-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, Texas Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka.

'We somehow manage to raise the bar each year,' ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com editor in chief Chad Millman said in an article announcing this year's issue.

'This year's collection of exceptional athletes and stunning photography showcases an array of sports and body types. It inhabits our mission to pay tribute to these athletes' bodies and all they are capable of,' he continued. Baller: U.S. Women's Olympic Soccer star Megan Rapinoe even took off her gold medal for the magazine

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Baller: U.S. Women's Olympic Soccer star Megan Rapinoe even took off her gold medal for the magazine

Muddin': X-Games motor sports legend Travis Pastrana and his skateboarder wife Lyn-Z Pastrana get a little muddy during their photoshoot

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Muddin': X-Games motor sports legend Travis Pastrana and his skateboarder wife Lyn-Z Pastrana get a little muddy during their photoshoot

The often-controversial issue previously included beach volleyball star Kerri Walsh, who posed for the magazine while 8 months pregnant, and PGA great Gary Player, who disrobed for the publication at age 77.

 

 

More than 150 'normal' women of all shapes and sizes pose naked for project to embrace their bodies

In a world where women are bombarded with Photoshopped images of supermodels in magazines and perfectly sculpted specimens on the runway, one photographer has made it his mission to glorify the natural beauty of the naked female body.

Matt Blum, a Minneapolis based photographer, and his wife Katy launched 'The Nu Project' in 2005 and have captured more than 150 women in the buff in the comfort of their own homes.

He asks women to volunteer for the project and shows up at their door, having never seen them before, for the nude photo shoot.

The women are of all colors, shapes and sizes. Participants heard about the project through word of mouth or Craigslist.

'I believe that women are judged more harshly by appearance, and that’s why I’ve focused this project on women,' Blum said in a description of the project on his website. He hopes the experiences encourages women to embrace their shape and not feel ashamed at their bodies.

All women must be 21 years of age to participate and sign a release before the shoot.

'From what I've experienced, 99 per cent of the women who've participated have told me that they saw themselves differently and that they felt more beautiful,' Blum said in a Reddit discussion on the project.

'I got into this work because I didn't like the amount of nude photography that was either focused on a) perfect bodies or b) making women look extremely average just to prove that everyone is average.'

Scroll down for video

Beauty

Beauty: Photographer Matt Blum and his wife Katy joined forces to photograph naked women in their element

ease

At ease: He asks women to volunteer for the project and shows up at their door, having never seen them before, for the nude photo shoot

Embrace yourself:

Embrace yourself: The Minneapolis based photographer, launched 'The Nu Project' in 2005 and have captured more than 150 women in the buff in the comfort of their own homes

Calm

Calm: The women are of all colors, shapes and sizes. Participants heard about the project through word of mouth or Craigslist

No regrets

No regrets: 99 per cent of the women who've participated told the photographer that the photo shoot made them feel differently and that they felt more beautiful

Acceptance

Acceptance: The photographer said he started the project because he didn't like the amount of nude photography that was either focused on making a women's body look perfect

Happy:

Happy: This woman exuded calm and confidence posing for the photographer

Celebrate

Celebrate: The photographer wanted to allow women to experience the natural beauty of their bodies

home

At home: The photographer captured women in the comfort of their own homes

 

 

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