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    What’s the Ideal Body?

    By Kristen Houghton     

    Do you like your body or are you forever trying to undue what nature gave you in your pursuit of the “perfect form?” Society and culture put a great deal of pressure on women to fit an abnormal ideal of what the female form should look like to be appealing. We see these so-called perfect women in the media. Though some advertisers have tried to incorporate what “real” women look like into their ad campaigns, there are too many other ads who make the average woman feel as if she will never measure up to “perfection.” Fashion only exacerbates the problem.

    What women will do today, and have done in the past, to achieve the so-called ideal image is incredible. Let’s take a walk through fashion history in the search for the perfect form.

    In Victorian times women wore corsets or “cages” made of whale-bone, that were designed to achieve the perfect figure-a miniscule waist which emphasized the fuller top and bottom. Women damaged their bodies in the rib area by the constant and painful pressure of these cages. Even pregnant women had no reprieve from the corset and endangered both themselves and their unborn babies by wearing these devices of torture. The marks left by the corset were permanent.

    Besides “holding you in,” the corset restricted activity and breathing. No wonder fainting was popular among the “delicate sex” of that era. Just walking from one room to another made you breathless and tired!

    The Edwardian age of the early 1900’s kept a form of the torturous corset, adding a large metal bubble called a bustle. While a woman’s stomach was to be as “flat as a pressing board,” the rear was enlarged by means of a bustle. The chest was still large and made to look even larger by the addition of drapes of lace.

    Fast forward to the 1920’s and the feminine ideal was the flapper who was supposed to have no noticeable curves! Many healthy women with normal curves would bind their “unruly” bosom close to their bodies to achieve the lean boyish look that was fashionable.

    The ’30’s, ‘40’s, and ‘50’s brought back the “fuller” normal figure that most women had but still had uncomfortable garments to “hold everything in.”

    The ‘60’s? Let’s just say it was a throwback of sorts to the flapper era-Twiggy and starvation. No curves anywhere. Looking like an adolescent boy was the perfect bikini body of that time.

    In the decade of the nineties the “lollipop” look was popular. This was an unnaturally thin body with a large head of hair. Some people called it the head on a stick look.

    We’d like to think that we’ve gotten far from following silly fashion and the latest fad diets but if that were the case then eating disorders wouldn’t be on the rise and weight loss groups would be out of business. Hopefully this is beginning to change.

    The healthiest, most perfect body is one that is taken care of through proper nutrition and healthy exercise. If you take care of yourself, who’s to say that your body isn’t the ideal?

    Be smart, be healthy.

    Written by Kristen HoughtonRate this article:

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