The “ideal” woman’s body type has taken on a number of forms over the past 3,000 years. In ancient Egypt, it was slender shoulders and a narrow waist; during the Italian Renaissance, it was a round stomach and fair skin; in the 1980s, it was an athletic build with curves.
Buzzfeed compiled these trends and more into one video titled “Women’s Ideal Body Types Throughout History.” The video shows a variety of archetypes through the years, and how those archetypes were directly influenced by society, art and media — thus proving the notion “ideal” is constantly in flux.
“We intended to compare these idealized figures in an editorial fashion that evaluates the aesthetic of each era while displaying how much and how often these standards of beauty change over time,” Eugene Lee Yang, a video producer at Buzzfeed and co-creator of this particular video, told The Huffington Post in an email Wednesday.
“The key visual component of the video is an objective, diverse showcase of women’s bodies, and that alone sparks a strong reaction,” he told HuffPost. “Many viewers had a poignant response after seeing how ephemeral our concept of ‘the ideal’ is. Other viewers focused solely on the way the models look and missed the point entirely. Case in point: there are some people who can’t get past a woman’s image, and there are others who are able to see and think beyond that.”
Individuals who chose to criticize the models through a twenty-first century lens may have missed an important message: every body type has at some point been “ideal,” and every body type is beautiful.
“We’re so often preoccupied with current trends that we lose perspective on how fleeting our obsession with physical perfection has historically been,” Yang said. “As demanding as our perception of an ideal body type may be, we should remember that yesterday’s ideal will, without fail, evolve into something completely different tomorrow.”
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