First, this is not a question, but something I wrote after a short period of hating my body. I want to share, and I think this is the appropiate forum:
I am wondering what people here think of the medias defination of feminity verses classic feminity.
For instance from ancient times to the 1920's, feminity was curves. Not overweight, but tummy/hips/ass.. this was what was considered beauty. And feminine. Which is, by nature, soft and curvy.
Then the 1920's came along, and to a degree curves were out. Not completely. Look at the erotica of that era, there was still curves in it. Which I find interesting, even if the mainstream was striving to be thin and straight with no curves and definately no bust or hips, the erotica maintained it's curves.
Then the 40's, 50's.. curves were back. Marylan Monroe definately was curvy, I still think she has the best body of any actress, short of maybe Kate Winslet.
The 60's and 70's were not curve friendly (except maybe in the hippie subgroup, although that stereotypically is very thin.) The mod looks of that era did not lean itself to curves very well. Interestingly enough the clothes were in many ways similar to the clothes of the 1920's.
Now, there is a mixture of what is feminine or beautiful. There is both, it seems that curves are coming back though, only very slowly.
My point isn't that naturally skinny girls are unfeminine. I believe feminity should be based on how you carry yourself, and how you see yourself. IE: A crossdressing male can be feminine, while a crossdressing female masculine. It's not super gender specific, nor written in stone. But for the most part, girls are naturally curvy. If they were not, there would not be a society of anorexia and bulmia and I would not have the option of finding "pro-ana" sites, or buying diet pills, or of reading articles on how to "hide my fat".
I am a curvy girl. 150 lbs, 5'5. I am not fat. I am soft yet muscular. I am healthy. I am for the most part comfortable with this weight. But only in retrospect, or when studying other cultures. America (and probably britan/australia/etc) have a distorted view of what is sexy.
As far as I can tell the ablity to be sexy is not defined by a weight.
Everyone who disagrees I request look at some Pre-Raphaelite art, and tell me they were not beautiful and sexy.
Actually, flappers in the 20's were very much not the mainstream historically, but on the trendsetting fringes, much like the "mods" in the 60's, which you'd see on High Street or in Vogue, but the majority of women in the western world were no more inclined to look like the catwalk then than they are now.
Overall, in western culture, women in the 20's still carried on the sort of fashion and style you'd see in the Victorian era.
As well, you'll find that body negativity and distortion in terms of women has gone all over the globe, not just in Western culture. Look at some of the "beauty" traditions in Asia, for instance. I'd hardly call tooth-blackening and foot-binding accpeting of the natural female form.
What you're saying is important and important to hear. But I'd also put in a poke here and there to not leave it as what is "sexy," if you follow me: it's a bigger issue than that, and our bodies and their appearance are about more than our sexual appeal to onlookers. I'd also suggest that things like anorexia are bigger than simply body issues and an attempt to conform to ideals -- personally, I think it also has a good lot to do with socioeconomics (you rarely see very low-income girls who are anorexic), with identity sturggles, and with a need/desire to suffer to some degree when one's life is terribly comofrtable. Not always givens, but some additional factors in many cases.
I think if you look around a little further you'll also find this hardly stops at women.
Also, this goes for guys as well as girl... but in the past wasnt it more attractive to be white as a ghost, with pale skin, men and women wore powder to try to look white. And these days, its better to be dark and tan... am i mistaken?
Posts: 351 | From: US | Registered: Jul 2002
| IP: Logged |
It all kind of boils down to cultural relativvism and what group you're talking about.
beauty ideals aren't defined by one media or one culture, but from a variety of groups and sources, cultures and locations, and it tends to differ pretty darn widely.
Americans in particular often make the mistake of thinking the standards we see in our culture not only are the same throughout, but also set the standards for other cultures, which isn't at all so.
So, even words like "better" aren't very helpful, as we then simply ask, "Better according to whom? Better where and when?" Now is pretty diverse, and even more so "the past" is a WHOLE lot of time in a whole lot of places and cultures, not something limited and abbreviated.
[It's funny, blond ambition - the 'tan' thing you mentioned seems to work like this:
If you were poor, you might have a job working outside in the sun all day. Thus, a tan meant you were "lower-class."
If you were rich, and well-kept, you'd either have an inside job or no job at all - giving you that pasty-white skin.
Nowadays, people who have tans (esp. in northern climates) either get them outside in more tropical climates - signaling that they have the time and money for a Hawaii vacation - or get them in a tanning parlor, showing that they have enough money and time to keep up their expensive deadly habit.
Me, I have relatively pasty olive-y skin all year round, 'cause I cover up completely or stay out of the sun. ]
It was something that my freshman teacher had mentioned when we were reading romeo and juliet, and how shakspear described a women with such beauty and white skin, he said it was funny how back then it was attractive to be fair skinned, and now, everywhere you see people are buying self tanners and whatnot...and also during the period where men wore white wigs and wore powder as well as the women...i donno, i just rmebered him discussing that.
Posts: 351 | From: US | Registered: Jul 2002
| IP: Logged |
Yeah, I definetly agree that it varies across the culture. I see it with me and my own friends...we are a very diverse group. My best friends are Caucasian, Asian and Indian (the from India kind) and I'm African American. I also have many friends who are Latino/Latina and African-American. We all have different ideals for our own bodies and what we consider beautiful and natural.
One thing that I noticed is that we have different body makeups, as every individual person does. I am very Nigerian (heh, though only half) and I can trace my body type back to my father's side. I know because my arms, head and feet are shaped like his...haha. :-D I look at pictures, and I think I must be shaped like my Grandmother on that side (who died long before I was born), Ngozi.
My mother calls me "voluptuous." Hehe. Pretty much 160 lbs, 5'7" (or 5'6"...depending on your measuring tape ;-)). I'm comfortable with my body now, but I always have complaints about my thighs. I knew no one else with thighs as big as mine. Most of it is muscle, but it's covered in a layer of fat (the infamous thunder thighs of puberty). My mother told me that I was comparing myself to unrealistic models, and the fat in the areas that I had aquired it were just signs of my increasing fertility...or something.
Dunremember, it was a while ago when we had this discussion.
The point of this was, I'm not shaped like any of my friends. My Asian friends are generally much smaller, skinnier than I am. Naturally, people do not all look the same, but, as I am really connected with my relatives, I see things that I get specifically from my family...for instance, the shape of my thighs, my butt...as well as my face, my hands. Things that have been twisted as sexual in this society and things that have not.
And so that this reply won't turn into a gross generalization, I'll say that looking at different cultures, there are definitely different appearances valued...because this is what comes naturally. My Nigerian culture does not value fair skin (heh), long flowing hair or thin figures, because it just doesn't happen. Although I don't know of any particular appearance in a woman that is valued, if there were one, I'm sure it be the short, boyish cropped/fro cut, no makeup...all natural beauty. From individual to individual.
So yes, it varies. It also varies within the country, the standard. Not only what women want for themselves but what males find attractive (though, in the end, it really doesn't matter what they think).
Btw, what Chinyere is describing in looking at her body and her ancestors and relatives is actually a very cool and excellent body image project.
(And Chinyere, I also have very big legs -- they're my Italian grandmother's in my case. Took me a decent while to love them, but now I do, have for about ten years now, precisely because they are so different... okay, and because they enable me to fire off some fairly amazing roundhouse kicks.)
well im 5ft 115 pound, 34b 26 36..i am for the most part happy about the way look, because i my opinion you should mae the most of what you have, beig sexy isnt limited o a bod type..it can be a smile,or eyes, or hair, ..somethig that catches others eyes...i like to wear clothes that show my curves, not make me look thinner..i like the hourglass look, which is why marlin monroe or kate winslet were/are so beautiful.. up untill i was 14,i didnt weigh over 100 pounds,and i hated it, i was so tiny. now that i can fill out a piar f jeans i feel better. and dressing up can make me feel sexy too, although theres something i wearing ur fav pair of worn out jeans and a tshirt that makes me feel attractive. honestly sexy is a wide opinion. i like guys that have nce shoulders, hair, and smile. think of how many guys fit that catagory..lol k i went way off subject but u know what i mean. vanessa
Posts: 17 | From: iowa | Registered: Feb 2003
| IP: Logged |
Copyright 1998, 2014 Heather Corinna/Scarleteen
Scarleteen.com: Providing comprehensive sex education online to teens and young adults worldwide since 1998
Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.