Women’s beauty standards throughout the history
Women’s beauty standards throughout the history have been changed over time. Women have strived to be beautiful and have made great efforts to conform to the existing canons of beauty. Nowadays, a slender girl with high cheekbones, sunken cheeks and plump lips is considered a beauty, but a hundred years ago, her appearance would have been considered unattractive. And this is not surprising because the image of the beautiful lady had different features at different times. So, what is feminine beauty, and how have its standards changed in human development?
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What is female beauty?
Female beauty is a source of inspiration for poets, writers, painters and sculptors. All women strive for beauty. Having a beautiful woman is every man’s dream. But what is a woman’s beauty? Why is it so important?
Regarding biology, a woman should be beautiful to attract men and continue the human race. By making a representative of the stronger sex fall in love with her, she provides the birth of offspring and its further care.
Such a strategy is observed in many species in the wild. It is advantageous for animals that produce few offspring and require considerable food resources to grow such offspring.
The stronger the relationship between the female and the male, the longer he will feed children and help his chosen woman raise them. As a result, the offspring grow strong, healthy, and able to reproduce. It is necessary for the preservation of the species. And humans are no exception. That’s why women always want to be beautiful, and men are picky when choosing a life partner.
Since ancient times, the main signs of female beauty are:
good health (good teeth, clean, smooth skin with a blush, correct posture, etc. )
external characteristics that indicate her ability to give birth to healthy offspring (e.g., wide hips and a thin waist that emphasizes their width);
The presence of childlike features that cause a man’s affection and desire to take care of his beloved woman as a child (big eyes, high voice, absence of hair on the body, soft and bouffant hair).
These standards of beauty have not lost their relevance today.
A beautiful woman is healthy, sexy and defenseless like a child. However, there are other canons of female beauty. And they were different at different times.
What were the beauties of antiquity?
One of the first female beauty standards could be the Paleolithic Venus. It was a prehistoric sculpture carved by primitive man.
The ancient men considered a beautiful woman to have wide hips, a big belly and massive breasts. Such appearance indicated that the woman ate well and was in good health. Having children would not be a problem for her.
Such preferences for the stronger sex were not strange. In those harsh times, men were concerned only with survival. But as the quality of life improved, the problem of survival took second place. Rich people came along. Some women got more time and opportunities to take care of their appearance. Women’s beauty standards throughout the history have also changed.
A beautiful woman in ancient Egypt was a slender woman with a boyish figure. She had narrow hips, small breasts, a long neck, a face with pointed features and high cheekbones. Cleopatra was like that.
Noble Egyptian women lengthened their eyes with paint and whitened their skin because swarthiness was a sign of a woman who worked hard under the scorching sun. Beauties did not limit themselves to applying face paint. They even whitened the soles of their feet because, at that time, they had to walk barefoot, and their heels became black.
But the ancient Greeks valued healthy beauties with rounded shapes and symmetrical faces. Aphrodite of Knids, sculpted by Praxiteles, is an excellent example.
The people of the Arab-Persian world also preferred chubby beauties who were rounded and smooth. Such beauty is in the song in the tales of “A Thousand and One Nights.
Women in the early Middle Ages had their requirements for appearance. Church established the fashion for beauty.
A woman was supposed to be thin, pale and dull, devoid of rounded forms. With all her appearance, she had to show modesty and obedience.
Girls of that time tightened their breasts, hid blush under whitewash, plucked eyebrows and shaved foreheads, and wore a false belly. Their lo
With the advent of the Renaissance, the view of female beauty was changed.
Beauty in those days was considered a plump and tall lady with a small chest, broad sloping shoulders, rounded abdomen, powerful hips and tiny legs. She had white skin and blush and thick, golden hair.
A striking example is the Venus painted by Botticelli and the ladies from Rubens’ paintings.
Feminine beauty in the nineteenth century
Following fashion trends, ladies began to slim down again in the nineteenth century, becoming more pale and graceful.
Thus, in the middle of the 19th century, a miniature girl-woman was considered a beauty. A woman was distinguished by her short stature, doll face with large eyes and small mouth. Wrapped in a corset with a magnificent crinoline, she had feminine shapes. We can see a similar beauty in the painting “Woman with a Book” by Alfred Stephens.
The technological revolution was gaining momentum by the end of the 19th century. Ladies are becoming more liberated and more courageous. They assert their rights and are willing to work on par with men. The fashion for a thin waist and a pleasant roundness remained. The standard of beauty was a waistline of 55 cm.
Female beauty in the 20th century and nowadays
20th-century cinematography appeared which set the fashion, and the canons of beauty began to change as rapidly as the frames in the film.
In the ’10s, viewers of black-and-white movies admired a languid beauty with an enigmatic eye. She was tall and lush-breasted, had a waist and a hank of hair, and did not overuse cosmetics. A prime example was Mary Pickford.
In the ’20s, ladies strive for equality with men. They appeared on the screen with short, smooth haircuts, wearing pants and men’s shirts. The beauties of those years actively used makeup, made up their eyes and flushed their cheeks. All ladies wanted to look like Greta Garbo and Gloria Swensen.
In the 30s, beauties plucked eyebrows with a thread, carefully made-up eyes with arrows and used pink lipstick. Hollywood wave hairstyles were in fashion. Marlene Dietrich was the ideal of beauty.
In the ’40s, all girls wished they looked like Rita Hayworth. Lush black eyelashes and pink blush on the face are in fashion. Beauties returned to lush curls and natural styling.
In the 50s, actresses such as Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn were the ideal of beauty. A beautiful woman should have porcelain skin, paint her lips with bright glossy lipstick and have thick makeup. Slimness, a narrow waist, and rounded breasts are in fashion. Blondes are especially popular. Girls lighten their hair with hydrogen peroxide and curl it into curls.
In 60’s Elizabeth Taylor and Twiggy, a popular model with a teenage physique ruled the ball. Makeup was more moderate with an eye-catching style.
In the 70s, girls tended to be more natural and athletic. Doll-like appearances and flashy makeup are no longer in vogue. Jane Fonda was the ideal of beauty at that time.
Madonna won the sex symbol title in the 80s. Brilliant makeup and bunches of hair with a comb-over are back in fashion.
In the ’90s, supermodels ruled the roost. All girls aspired to the cherished 90-60-90 and dreamed about a modelling career. Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista were unbeatable beauties.
In 2000, model Gisele Bundchen was the most beautiful woman. The standard of beauty is a slender and athletic physique and pumped-up abs. Makeup became more moderate. Girls limit themself to a foundation, lip gloss and mascara. Another sex symbol of those years was a young Britney Spears.
In 2010, all girls dreamed of looking like Angelina Jolie. Vital signs of beauty are now plump lips, high cheekbones, and fluffy eyelashes.
Over the past decade, the appearance of girls and women are becoming more and more artificial. Plastic surgery and professional makeup, which increase in popularity each year, have contributed to this. It is no wonder that in 2020, Kim Kardashian, famous for her extreme body curves and thick makeup, became a beauty icon for many ladies worldwide, changing their appearance beyond recognition.
So, what does the future hold? How will beauty standards change in the future? As they say, time will tell.
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