Evolution of the “Ideal” Female Body
If you are a woman or consider yourself as such, then you understand the struggle of being expected to look a certain way and act accordingly as well. Now you may be wondering, how did we as a society evolve from idealizing curvaceous, voluptuous body figures to a changing bust-to-waist ratio? As early as the prehistoric era through the 17th and 18th centuries, our obsession with the portrayal of the female’s figure has continued to change. Leading into the 1920s-1950s, women began to obsess over their bust-to-waist ratio which then influenced many eating disorders during that time. A more “slender” preference became prominent between the 1960s-70s, then came the rise of the obesity epidemic in the 1980’s-90’s, which in turn caused a loss of self-confidence in the 2000’s. Looking at society today, we are finally embracing all types of body figures and moving towards promoting diversity.
That is a rough, historical timeline in a nutshell of how much the “perfect” womanly body has developed throughout time. Many women, including myself, even today in the 21st century–where we claim to be more accepting and mindful of diversity. Most women feel as if they are still put on a pedestal to look a certain way which makes us uncomfortable in our own body. Is it because every time we scroll through our Instagram feed we see a fitness model, friend, or foe glorifying their own bodies provocatively either in a bikini or revealing clothing that you know you will never look like? Or is it a combination of things including women’s magazines or billboards that depict a slender, or curvy woman with large breasts, tiny torso, and enormous base? Well, I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t have to feel this way!
Before you try everything in your power to try to look a certain way whether that is like Kim Kardashian’s large bust, tiny waist, and delusional butt, an extremely thin supermodel, or athletic fitness model; that kind of body is not genetically possible for many women. I am not saying this to crush all your hopes and dreams of the kinds of people you follow, who or what motivates you to look a certain way, but this is unrealistic and detrimental in countless ways not only physically, but mentally to your overall health.
Think about how many times your self-esteem went to complete trash after browsing through Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, or other social media platform. Now, reflect back to why did it make you feel that way? Is it because you perceive yourself as too thin or too fat or too this or too that? Of course, it is! Women will never be 100% truly satisfied with the way they look whether that is their body, skin, or hair. There will always be something standing in your way or that little voice inside your head telling you: “You look fat in this dress, don’t buy it.” or “You look ugly in this skirt.” or “OMG your arms look like you’re anorexic, get a long-sleeved shirt instead!” The excruciating list goes on…
It’s much easier said than done, but stop listening to this NEGATIVE “voice!” This kind of mentality will never help you attain your goals! Whether that is to shed off those extra 5-10 lbs. from the winter, gain some weight, or simply maintain your “ideal” weight for the summer, you will remain stuck. Nobody wants to be in that position.
It is so unbelievably difficult to be a woman, let alone try to fit this facade of perfection that we are constantly exposed to. Though, the evolution of the “perfect” female body has changed drastically over the years, this expectation to look a certain way still remains problematic. As a society, we are ridiculously obsessed with looks more than anything else to the point where it becomes a part of our identity. We allow looks to define us and control us.
I am not a feminist or a body image activist, but I am a woman.
In more ways than one, I know how it feels like to constantly be told:
You are not good enough.
You are not skinny enough.
You are not tall enough.
You are not pretty enough.
No, this kind of negativity does not stem from any specific person in my life. More often than not, this voice comes from within. You are telling yourself this so much that you eventually start to believe it. It is mustered after years of fluctuating weight, shape, form, social media, relationships, and anything else that goes wrong.
Do not fall victim to this voice. It is all inside your head.
Be stronger than this, be greater than this. The only way we can feel better about ourselves is if we allow ourselves to be content and satisfied.
On a concluding note, if you are healthy both mentally and physically, that should be plenty to remind you of just how blessed and beautiful you truly are. Don’t let any man, woman, social media platform, family member, or most importantly–yourself, tell you any different!
The moment you start to realize this, is the moment your self-confidence will sky rocket.
I understand it may not always be easy, but remember: it is not easy for any of us. It never has been…