If you are tired of seeing size 0 models plastered on magazines, or feel "thinner" used as a synonym for "beautiful", come on!
And 'only relatively recently that the cult of skinny has taken hold – for centuries, women with a much more healthy, plump figure were considered more attractive.
The historical evidence of this is well documented, but I wanted to pick out a few quotes from pieces of literature (which are a good reflection of the social conditions in which they are written) to show the type of women who were considered attractive.
Three thousand years ago
The Song of Songs, or Song of Songs, was written about 3000 years ago and is one of the books of the Old Testament in the Bible. This quote is in chapter 7, verse 2:
Thy navel is like a round goblet
Which never lacks mixed wine
Your belly is a heap of wheat
Fenced about with lilies.
- New American Standard translation
This piece is part of a love song, the man who speaks to the woman. The line "Your belly is like an heap of wheat" struck me when I read it – many women in the West today would consider that a compliment? Flat bellies are a modern standard, and there is no reason why rounded bellies can not be too good.
Renaissance – 16th century
In his poem Venus and Adonis (published in 1593), Shakespeare gives these lines to Venus:
My beauty as the spring doth yearly grow-
My flesh is soft and plump, my marrow burning-
It 'clear that being "fat" is considered to be beautiful. Classic paintings and depictions of Venus (Roman goddess) on his show as a voluptuous woman.
Margaret, the eldest of the four, was sixteen, and very pretty, being fat and fair, with large eyes, plenty of soft brown hair, a sweet mouth, and white hands, of which he was a bit 'useless.
He [Margaret suitor] seemed to think it was worth it, because he smiled to himself as if quite satisfied, pressed the plump hand gratefully … -
Both quotes are from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. (Published in 1868 and 1869.)
In both of these examples, it is clear that Margaret (familiarly known as "Meg" in most of the book) is considered beautiful for its roundness. The first quote appears next to the description of the younger sisters Margaret and her plump figure could also be an indication that she is to be seen as a young woman rather than a child like his brothers.
At the beginning of the 20th century
He looked at the drop beautiful curve of her hips. What fascinated him for days. How inclined with a rich down-slope to the heavy roundness of the buttocks!
- The Lady Chatterley's Lover, by DH Lawrence (written in 1928.)
The "heavy round" Lady Chatterley's back appears to be fully approved by her lover. In this case, it is difficult to imagine that this is used as a compliment today – but in the course of history, women were considered beautiful when they are rounded, solid bottom (and curved shapes in general).
Do you have a favorite quote from a poem novel, or game shows women a natural, sinuous praised as beautiful?
Are you also from time to time raise their hands in despair at another picture of a stick-skinny model?
Are you proud of your curves?
Let us know in the comments … -
For a look at recent attitudes to see the shape of the body shape of the female body in the 20th century.