Cinnamon asked in Beauty & StyleSkin & Body · 1 decade ago

Why has body image changed so drastically over the years?

Back in the 40s, 50s, etc, all the divas were healthy sizes. Marilyn Monroe was like a 14, which with the update in the clothing sizes chart would be about an 8 today. But today, the toothpick look is in vogue and being a healthy weight is scorned upon, even in Hollywood. Take a look at Kate Winslet who is a healthy size, even though she's considered by many to be extremely fat, compared to say Lindsay Lohan who is known for her drug use as a way to slim down.

Why did we as a society decide that the skeleton look is better and more attractive? It had to originate somewhere or else it wouldn't be as widespread as it is, where young girls don't know any better because their "role models" are almost skin and bones so they feel like they have to do the same or else face ridicule. Look at Karen Carpenter from the 70s who eventually just killed herself from anorexia. I'm honestly curious as to why the healthy look is so taboo anymore?


No I'm not a larger girl. I'm simply curious as to how the current trend originated and why.

7 Answers

  • Favorite Answer

    I think it all revolves around the look of high fashion. There were a few who broke the mold in the 30's, 40's and 50's with long and lean looks, such as Katherine Hepburn and Audrey Hepburn. In the 60's, Twiggy popularized the "waif" look, and soon the fashion industry mimicked the appearance as well. And now we see tall, thin women on the runways, not normal people.

    And then body image deconstructed. Body image represents the culture at the time (for example, in the middle ages, women who were portly were considered beautiful because it represented wealth; now wealth is represented through youth, body and attire -- just think of Beverly Hills socialites.) And women follow what think they should resemble by cue of magazines, movies and television. When women are exposed to these media, they think it represents society beyond their world, and try to emulate it. Thus, eating disorders follow.

    I think one day there will be a day when health will take more precedence than appearance to be rail thin, but it will take awhile, since sadly, most people respond to thinness, because it has a societal norm that gives grace and delicateness.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I totally agree with your comments. Having suffered with Anorexia, I can honestly say that society's influence is very destructive and detrimental to the minds of young girls today. I think the main problem is the modelling industry, that deems any girl over a size 4 as fat by modelling standards. I just wish some of those in the modelling industry could see some of the questions posted on this very site by girls as young as 10 and 11, who think they are fat, because they don't weight 80lb. It's absolutely sickening and something needs to be done to change the whole perception of what is healthy and what is not.

    Take care : )

  • 1 decade ago

    Hi there, like minded person would like to chat about this too.I too am not Fat as people would like to perseive me as, I am a healthy Australian size12. And anyway, what happened to being beautiful within the inner self, the very essence of being a Beautiful person. I believe personally, & actually so do many Australians believe that the forced self image of a perfect person is personofied by the modelling agencies.And then placed upon certain models.Here in Australia the models, eg.:Megan Gayle are non believers of the waif body image and are encouraging others/all women to celebrate their own healthy body.I can mention many here who are in the spotlight ,but don't want to go there for certain reasons,as you can understand why, who encourage love of self image & to celebrate being a REAL WOMAN. I do of course believe that yes all of us should be able to be who we want to be, but the issue of also being healthy plays a big part of who we are too. For the benefits of having good health,avoiding obesity, diabetes,heart problems etc.Thankfully a majority of younger adults are looking at being a healthy weight,which incorperates healthy eating,exercise and basically being HEALTHY as a whole.I have 3 grown daughters who are very good looking, all different sizes, but are very aware of body image & size, but also know from hearing it from me & the media that a person doesn't have to be a stick to be beautiful, it has got alot to do with what impression we give our own children right from the get go, & that will influence their image & how they see themselves later.It is vital that parent give their children a positive affirmation of how beautiful they are as they are from a very early age,as this I believe takes them through the teasing or pressure that they may endure at school, which happens and crushers the persons beleif of any self image they may have of themselves.As you mentioned no one started out this way, it is the pressure from others, media, the basis outside industry that can destroy any self confidance one may have of themselves.So if we as parents give them the base start to be able to continue in life with the thought and knowing that they are special, no matterr what the outside world may expect, or place upon them.Hopefully as a caring Nation we can slowly repair the ongoing dammage being done to so many.And Karen carpenter was one of our own , & her death to some degree did not come as a shock to the people in that generation,as we saw the decline of her beautiful essence just breakdown.To some degree a person also needs to take responsibility of the disease that is of ones own body image.Anorexia is an awfull disease that needs more support not only by the families of these people , but more funding is also needed as much as Clinics are needed for Anorexia.To be & look healthy will only be taboo if one makes it that way, so i personally take pride in who I am, my body and my being.And no one can ever take that away from me.It takes COURAGE to go through ridicule and come out of that still strong & sane.I say good on any one out there that fights back,by believing in themselves,as this alone is the only weapon that can actually make the the people who do ridicule ,stand back,by getting no response.

    Source(s): Like minded person
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I wish I knew the answer to this one myself....seems anorexia has replaced curvaciousness. Ladies, looking like un upside down broomstick with teeth is not sexy

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  • 1 decade ago

    Just out of curiosity, are you a larger girl yourself? Because only someone with some extra weight would be asking this type of question... anyway... thin is in... clothes look better in magazines and in person on women who are small in my opinion!

  • 1 decade ago

    i like the COKE bottle figure rather than the toothpick one ;) ... but seriously i think it has got to do with fashion trends that change for unknown reasons ...

    Source(s): myeslf :D
  • 1 decade ago

    You gotta have curves to hang with the Guv!

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