Today’s Definition of a Beautiful Body

Most retail advertisements geared towards women include models with an “ideal” body. They all seem to have bodies that are abnormally thin. The definition of a beautiful body has become hegemonic in modern society as one which is perfectly skinny.

In a 1950’s advertisement, a company promotes products enabling women to gain weight, which is contrary of what most women strive for today. It includes a woman who states that “Men wouldn’t look at her when she was skinny.”

Advertisements reflect popular culture and can illustrate what society’s interpretation of beauty is. Today, girls grow up surrounded by the image of an ideal skinny figure; they are raised with the notion that if they are more thin, then they are more beautiful.

What made the hegemonic idea of a beautiful body become its polar opposite? Do you predict the definition of beauty will ever return to it’s original state?


5 thoughts on “Today’s Definition of a Beautiful Body

  1. In response to your question, asking if the definition of beauty will ever return to its original state, I believe the answer is no. Today’s society has so many differing opinions on what is “beautiful” that there will never be an agreement on what the true meaning of beauty is. It is a matter of personal beliefs and opinions that could or could not be shaped by certain ideologies. Popular culture has had a huge impact on how beauty is perceived. The majority of advertisements, television shows, and even movies portray the leads as the “ideal” women which are seen as skinny and beautiful. Now there are more and more diverse popular culture aspects that showcase different woman varying in all shapes and sizes as the leads and taking control which showcases that there is not one specific definition of beauty. Overall the definition of beauty will never return to its original state because there is not one specific definition.


  2. Another example of a women’s body image is found in the Miss America Pageants. The winner is supposed to be a combination of intelligence, grace, and beauty to create the ideal American girl that people look up to. Unlike today, the first Miss America Pageants were not allowed to wear makeup. They were still judged on beauty and personality, but it was aimed toward natural beauty. The organizers had even tried to dress them as innocently as possible so conservatives and religious groups would tolerate it.
    As society changed, so did the views about beauty. I do not think beauty will ever go back to its original state but I do not think that’s necessarily a bad thing. America is a different place than it was 100 years ago and it should not be judged on expectations of the past. Girls should just be happy about who they are no matter what they wear or look like.


  3. Recently, my roommate becomes too anxious about her gain of weight. She becomes panic, upset and annoyed. She told me everyday if she would skip the dinner and come to gym with me. The interesting thing is that, during these days of “weight lossing project”, she had skin issue such as acne and dark eye cycles. Also, ironically, she gained more pounds. I start to thinking about why the digital number on the weighing machine impacts girls so badly. Do we really looks messy with a little bit muffin top? The model looking stands a daily threaten to every woman that the distance between angle and human is uncrossable and larger the gap, more the despair. Usually, what we put upon more attention, end up with more anxiety and trouble. Sometimes, people need to broad their view and look into themselves from inside to outside. We know we are unavoidable to the age, when we getting old, we should finally find something to support our beauty, like knowledge, like grace, like the optimism and appreciation to the natural and life. The love we received is not always the feedback to our beauty but the first step of being loved is loving ourselves and generously express our love as well.


  4. America has shown in recent history that it will develop an ideal “image” and that image will change based on general tastes shifting from one preference to another. Before the Civil Rights movement, the media had favored women of much fairer skin, which became a very desired trait among women. Now, there are models and actresses of all skin colors, races, even ages. Part of hegemony is coercion, which implies that the general public will feel pressured to adhere to whatever social ideology is being followed in pop culture at the time. From a preference point of view, it seems as if there are more curvy women being idolized, such as the Kardashian sisters or women like Jennifer Lopez, so history shows that national preferences do change with time.


  5. I believe that the definition of a beautiful body will change back to its original state in time. There are more campaigns nowadays that are geared towards the more ‘abnormal’ bodies. This is really shown by the Dove shampoo commercial. In this commercial there are bodies of all shapes and sizes. While there are still commercials like the Victoria Secret ads, that depict the ‘normal’ women, there are very few. There are quite a few critics that say that these women are too thin. Thin or fat is something that has been socially constructed, thus it is definitely possible to revert back to its original definition. It will not be an immediate change, it will definitely take some time.


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