Referring to the lecture ” Making cultures ” ( 06.11.2014) Female beauty changed over centuries.

Over the centuries female beauty has changed many times. For the past 100 years, embodiment of perfection had various forms.  The article in the link, depicts in very interesting and clear way, how the image of beauty was changing from 1910s. –  Starting from’ the Gibson look’ from 1910s and ‘the Curves’ in 1960’s with beauty icon Marilyn Monroe on the top ,  through ‘Petite look’ of 1960s, finally to ‘the Waif’ of 1990’s and   the last trend bootylicious with Kim Kardashian as the icon. This fashion for ‘ building up ‘ the body to have big round shapes is associated with post human behaviour. In the book . ‘According to Bordo, the cultural, the cultural practices of shaping or constructing the body through plastic surgery or attending the gym are symptomatic of the postmodern tendency toward homogenisation and normalisation.’ (Cyborgs and Barbie dolls,2007; p.75)

My notes from the lecture :


‘Heroin chic’ look gained in popularity in 90s, when  thin models hit the catwalks. The nineties were definitely the start of trend for ‘ the waif’. Thirty years earlier, the trend for petite figure was very popular . Two models, who popularized this look were Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton, who promoted slim body. In contrast with 50s , when wide hips and big busts were desired attributes of sexy appearance,  petite look of 60s , was the time when a lot of girls were commencing diets.

In 1959 Mattel,Inc. launched Barbie . The first doll varies in the face features of today’s Barbie, but thin, long legs and tiny waist remain the same.  Women in 60s had to face new popularized look of slim body, but the pressure has not been put on them in such big scale as it is now.

Barbie at 50

Nowadays, females are bombarded by media with images of thin, beautiful women , which are fake depictions . Many images of perfect thin women on covers of fashion magazines were photoshopped and digitally altered. One of the examples of photo manipulation , is the picture of model in two different version, who promotes clothes for design company ‘Ralph Lauren’.

alteration of model

Like it’s clearly visible on these two pictures, the same model has completely different body shape. The first picture, which is definitely photoshopped, is depiction of anorexia.  The company in this case didn’t take a responsibility for publication the picture; average woman  while looking at the picture comapares hersel with this ‘image of perfection’ and lower her self esteem. In real , the female on the picture doesn’t look in this way.

‘Ralph Lauren responded: “After further investigation, we have learned that we are responsible for the poor imaging and retouching that resulted in a very distorted image of a woman’s body. We have addressed the problem and going forward will take every precaution to ensure that the caliber of our artwork represents our brand appropriately.”’ (

This is only one of many cases of photoshop manipulation by media. In a nutshell ‘fashion world’ should take responsibility for promoting thin models as embodiment of femininity and perfection and stop digitally slim down women;  in consequence many females suffer from eating disorders and low self esteem.


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