From generation to generation, culture to culture, and from beauty to beholder, the ideal body type for both men and women has changed time and time again. During some periods of time, especially in many ancient cultures, having a little extra weight was a sign of health, well being, fertility, and vitality, especially among women. A pleasantly plump wife was a sign of a husband that could afford to provide ample food and a good life for his family, and feminine curves have always been a sign that a woman is able to bear many children.
But as things always do, times have definitely changed, especially in terms of what society considers to be acceptable aesthetics. Take, for example, that fact that the soft, curvy marble statues and paintings of classic Greek and Roman goddesses and women would most likely be considered plus sized or overweight by American and Western standards in the present day. Similarly, many of buxom pin up models and sex icons, such as Marilyn Monroe, that men drooled over back in the day would be considered a little too full figured by today’s slim standards.
Yet even today’s standards for the ideal female body type can be quite confusing and conflicting. Athletic female body types are celebrated, but bulky muscles should be kept to a minimum in favor of softer curves. Just look at all the backlash professional female tennis player Serena Williams faces. You would think a professional athlete would be celebrated for her physique, but not Serena. Similarly, First Lady Michelle Obama is often depicted and criticized for having toned arms, which many feel give her a masculine appearance.
Similarly, society dictates that women with large busts and behinds are attractive (features that have always been celebrated in minority communities and were later adopted by mainstream society) but these features shouldn’t be too prominent. Oh and it would be great if a woman was also athletic but still appeared delicate and feminine. It’s extremely confusing! Though the push to accept larger, alternative body types continues to gain traction.
Though there has been a societal push to accept larger, curvier female bodies and denounce the slim, stick figure body types celebrated by the infamous fashion industry, the fact remains that society still struggles to accept larger bodies. In fact, the f-word — fat, not the other one — can be downright uncomfortable for many people, and the idea of a large body being beautiful and celebrated can be even more confusing.
Take for the example the popularity of plus size model Tess Holliday, who continues to defy and define beauty standards, especially as they relate to plus sized women. Due to her weight, Holliday was told that she could and would never become a model due to her size. Holliday has since broken many stereotypes about what plus sized women are capable of being and achieving in the modeling industry, with an impressive portfolio to prove it. Despite this, Holliday and other plus sized women continue to be the target of shade, hate, and nastygrams via social media.
Clearly unsettled by the idea that a bigger body can be beautiful, spiteful commenters offer tell Holliday and other plus sized models and beauty gurus on social media to get stomach shots for weight loss, or to enroll in medical weight loss programs such as those found at rapid weight loss centers to lose weight. These mean spirited comments about stomach shots for weight loss are typically veiled under the guise of health concerns, however being overweight isn’t always an indication of poor health. And to tell someone they need stomach shots for weight loss so their body can be acceptable according to society’s standards is downright disrespectful.
While stomach shots for weight loss have been proven to be highly effective, they are far from being required or necessary to be healthy or beautiful. Many plus sized women are actually quite healthy and even work out on a regular basis, as proven by Holliday herself, yet the hateful commentary continues. Holliday has however, received an overwhelming amount of loving support.
It seems that beauty, however it’s defined, is truly in the eyes of the beholder!
Trackback from your site.