This one is for the ladies tonight but men out there don’t switch off just yet because you too play a vital role in the evolution of a females body image.
What we perceive as the “perfect” body ladies hasn’t always been the same.
Back in the 1920’s the “flapper girls” represented the ideal body shape sporting a thin, flat chested, petitie physique.
From the 1940’s-1950’s women moved away from the no boobs look and started to emphasis the chest and minimise the waist. The ideal shape was one of curves galore, women flaunting a full hourglass figure – think Marilyn Monroe.
Soon after this in the 1960’s the rise of fashion icon “Twiggy” had women once again trying shift the kilos and achieve a thin, small, shapeless figure with narrow hips.
Moving forward to the 1980’s the supermodel frame was what women sought after. Legs for days, thin as a bean pole and 6 foot tall. Elle McPherson was dubbed “the body” and is it any wonder with a nickname like that that women felt pressured to look like a supermodel. The 1980’s also introduced a time where women having muscles also became accepted. With the leotard and aerobics craze women began hitting the gym – and loving it!
The 1990’s took a back step when nutrition moved towards “low fat” eating as rates of heart disease and increasing obesity was rampant. It was seen as eating fat made you fat and therefore the ideal body shape of this era was a waif thin, flat bottomed gal where models like Kate Moss were idolised.
In the 2000’s emphasis began to shift from super thin to “super fit”. Gone was the pale thin skinny look of the 90’s and in with the tanned, sporty chicks with airbrushed abs.
Fast forward 10-15 years here in 2015 the fitness fanatic look is still the craze however with the popularity of Kim Kardashian and the likes of Jlo’ Beyonce and Nicki Minaj widespread in every facet of the media, women now want a fit body, but with curves. This has led to doing squats galore to achieve that bootilicous butt, and scarily increasing rates of cosmetic breast enlargements (in very young women as well!) to achieve an obviously non-natural overtly curvaceous body with athletic legs and abs.
So what’s my point?
In a nutshell, there is no “perfect” or “ideal” body shape for all women. We are exposed to and pressured by the media and celebrities of the time to achieve such a look that is portrayed to us so often we never give it a second thought. These figures though are often unachievable, unrealistic and result in serious body confidence issues when we realise our body doesn’t look like Beyonce’s, and no matter how many one legged lunges we do our bottom just never seems to look the same as KK’s. This is where the men come into play too. By commenting and also idealising these body shapes it further pressures women of society to achieve these ideal figures in order to gain confidence from feeling attractive to men. Ladies don’t get off here either men are under the same pressure these days to look like Magic Mike. We need to cut each other some serious slack!
It’s not easy to resist the pressure to succumb to these ideals. I’m guilty of it too – my social media is flooded with ladies on “clean diets” drinking their green juices, at the gym everyday showing off pictures of their tanned abs in lorna jane fluro wear. I have found myself writing my own diet plans, setting my alarm to get up and kill myself with an hours exercise in the freezing cold so I can look more like those girls.
When it’s so abundant in your life it’s difficult to remove yourself and focus on what’s really important and what is healthy and achievable for your own body.
So whats important?
Your health and happiness. Your goals should focus on eating a healthy balance diet. And you know what? That actually includes a couple of wines over the weekend or a piece of cake on the odd catch up with close friends, mixed in a diet loaded with plenty of fresh fruit and veg, dairy, wholegrains, lean meats and healthy fats.
If standing in front of the mirror comparing yourself to the likes of Miranda Kerr examining every inch of your body you don’t like makes you unhappy… then think about it for a second and make an effort to realise that this is harmful, and start to accept and love yourself. This doesn’t mean give up on trying to lose weight and quitting the gym – its about enjoying a healthy lifestyle, without making yourself feel guilty. Take steps to love yourself and nourish your body and exercise regularly within your limits, to reap the feelings of happiness.
One thing I want you to take away from this – society and the medias idea of beauty will change over time however self-confidence will always be in style.