Body image, now and then

Just a quick thought today on body image (because ya know, swimsuit season is upon us yet again). Below are pictures of the ideal body before 1960 (and all throughout history, really).  In my opinion they look strong, sturdy, and like the epitome of health. I believe this is what women’s bodies would look like today if they ate a traditional diet, were active without killing themselves, and also were content and celebrated their curvy physiques. Imagine, what would it be like if these women were the role models for young girls today?

Thought this ad was funny

Thought this ad was funny

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Found here. here. here. here. here.

In the 1960′s a model named Twiggy came along and changed the face (and body) of women’s fashion. She became the new ideal. It was said that people loved her for her slim, androgynous look.

bodyimage7via here.

After this, beauty became synonymous with having no fat on your hips, legs, or bottom. Also, a decreased breast size became more desirable as well (admittedly not in the baywatch community of the 80′s). Behold, the shrinking woman:

vogue fashion shoot 1970's

vogue fashion shoot 1970′s

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bodyimage101_2via here. here. here. and here.

Though admittedly the stick skinny faze of the 90′s is starting to wear off, women are still at war with their bodies. However this time they are exercising them to death, until in the end they have very little fat left (which is terrible for your fertility). A NEW type of androgyny, I think. Our new ideal looks like this:

bodyimage13bodyimage16via here and here.

This all reminds me of a quote actually:

“The dictionary defines fitness as: possessing a quality of strength and overall health. Nevertheless, for many people today, fitness has become more about how one looks than how one feels. This is a cultural standard that has nothing to do with what is natural to our species’ design.” - Kathleen Porter

Here’s how I feel about all of this. I think women’s bodies are naturally shapely and a bit softer, much like the ladies before the 1960′s. I think if a woman is eating a healthy whole foods diet and moving her body often, it will end up where its supposed to be. Which most of the time is NOT where we want them to be, due to the media’s constant pressure to be ‘perfect’. But its what’s healthy, beautiful, and supports our womanly systems. I think its time we stopped measuring our health by how skinny or ‘ripped’ somebody’s body is, and start measuring it by their health. We should instead ask ourselves questions like:

1. Is my heart healthy and do I have good circulation?

2. Am I fertile? Do I have regular periods?

3. Do I sleep well?

4. Do I get sick easily?

5. Is my mental outlook healthy?

6. Can my activity level match my needs and goals (and not that of society’s)

7. Is my digestion optimal?

8. Can I think clearly? Not “fuzzy headed”?

I think if you can answer yes to all of those questions, and you are eating traditionally and moving a lot, then you are at your perfect weight. No need to change AT ALL. Accept it and be grateful for what god (and yo mama) gave you! After all, when did you ever hear a man say that this:

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via here.

Looks better than this?:

bodyimage24via here.

I rest my case.

 

  • http://weheartvintage.co Mary

    What a thoughtful and thought provoking article, I totally agree that 90% of women are at war with their bodies and it’s a terrible waste of time and unhealthy emotional stress! Thanks for linking to my blog too :)

    • mindy

      Thanks, and no problem! :)

  • Elizabeth

    I know it’s not as common, but I’ve had a few friends who are naturally very slender and who desperately wish they could put on a few pounds in some select places. We must keep reminding ourselves that there are a million ways to be beautiful, healthy, feminine and confident! How boring would the world be if we all looked the same?