Do you have a favourite body type? It is a simple question to some and a complicated one to the others because they would say, “looks are not everything.” Well, they are not wrong, but looks are still something. This means we as humans have our own sense of attraction and we will always base our desire scale on the appearances on some level. Regardless there will always be someone for every body type who genuinely appreciates them whether they are curvaceous, lush and spotlight-stealing, or slender, graceful and built. But we are not here to understand the boundless beauty in every body type. We are here to discuss the body type that has constantly been appreciated through time and what will proceed to gain the applause for its impeccable features.
When the goddess Aphrodite emerged from the foam of the blue ocean, her unimaginably enchanting beauty had all the nymphs and nature spirits star-struck. They couldn’t comprehend the beguiling nature of the goddess. We can imagine the goddess’s appearance to our liking, thin and tall, slim and short, or whatever suits our perception of ultimate beauty, but the people of ancient times saw the goddess to be of a curvaceous body, an hourglass figure. Ample bosom signified a woman’s ability to nurture and provide for her child and her slim waist broadening into wide hips denoted the ease of childbearing hips. And so, we can say that most women considered to be beautiful in that time period were girls with hourglass figures and in general curvy girls. Many goddesses were depicted in similar descriptions because goddesses in general were considered to possess beauty that no mortal could bear to see with their bare eyes.
In the early 1660s, the fans for curves were noticeably increasing. The artist, Sir Peter Paul Ruben painted ‘The Three Graces’ in 1639, depicting three goddesses having the time of their life in a bare body fitting the beauty standard of that period. They soulfully celebrated and admired women of curves, folds and cellulites as the epitome of beauty. If you were a curvy gal in the 1660s, better expect a herd of suitors at your doorstep.
Since then, curves have been the ruling standard which was modified and maintained by including corsets to bring in the proper hourglass figure by accentuating the bosoms and the hips while the waist was required to be tiny and slim. This still meant women were considered beautiful if they were “desirably plump”.
In the early 1900s, corsets had been discarded and a completely new body shape was placed on the pedestal. Gone were the voluptuous body shapes and in came the slender bodies. This would also be the same time when clothes were beginning to be made in sizes. Soon around the 1930s, the curves began to resurrect. By the 1950s, the hourglass figure had become a golden body shape. Weight gaining pills actually started to become a thing around this time and to compel the beauty of the body shape, this was fuelled by the irresistible beauty of the well-known icon, Marylin Monroe.
From the 1960s onwards the slender figure took over yet again as fashion idols such as supermodel Twiggy and Paris Hilton. The 2010s was the slow rise of curves, full credit to the quick rise of body positivity spreading throughout the world. If not appreciated like it used to be, the curves definitely started to make its own way and we have come to a point where bodies of every shape are accepted and appreciated with open arms. Truly a harmonious victory, but who do we think will be there to drink the last sip? With reference to history, the hourglass figure seems to be the body shape that will be constant and unerasable.
Men too had their fair share of standards for body types which was not always about being buff and big. At some point that body type was considered to be that of a peasant’s so men focused on thicker thighs and muscular legs alone. And then they moved up a level and decided bigger tummy and ample frame expressed their higher economic status.
Soon but not sooner, they slowly became more toned, lean, and clean-cut around the 1900s and around 2010-2015 the famous dad-bod figure was added to their list of desirable body types, but, the athletic built fall under the timeless body shapes because it has come to be a standard body type when anyone immediately thinks of a physically attractive man.