Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Changing Body Shapes Throughout History: Men's

After looking into the changing image of women's body shape we were interested in whether or not men went through the same changes through out history. In our previous post, it's no question that women faced high beauty standards. But that doesn't mean that men haven't felt the pressures. 

Nickolay Lamm, a graphic designer from Pittsburgh, created 3D images for Lammily dolls in 2004, to show how the perfect body for men has changed over the last 150 years.

1870 Wider Waists
The ideal figure of this time would not be desirable by many in today's society. In fact, it would be seen as overweight. It was seen as more attractive to have a plumper figure because this suggested that the gentleman would have more wealth and come from the upper class. A wider waist showed that you could afford feasts and the finer things in life. 

In 1866, the 'Fat Man's Club' in Connecticut was founded, which you could only join if you weighed over 200 lbs. By 1903 the club ended as food was becoming more accessible and the overweight look was less desired.

1930 Hollywood
With the rise of Hollywood, new body expectations came about. Actors needed to be youthful, fit and slimmer for the camera because we all know the 'camera add ten pounds' 

1940 - 1960
As the forties came about, men became a bit more muscular but nothing in comparison to modern cinema action hero's. Some might say they looked like 'wimps'. In 1940, Harvard psychologist, William H. Sheldon introduced the concept of body types. The ideal body type was the muscular mesomorph, which at the time was represented by Hollywood but not nearly to the extent that modern cinema does.

Between 1945 and 1960, a man's identity was tied to his job. To get ahead in the corporate workplace, height along with angular facial features were considered beneficial.

1960 Counter Culture Figure
As the sixties came into swing, men started to care less about fitness and body image. They no longer worked out and morphed into a thin young man. Men started to become interested in drugs, ate natural foods and began expressing themselves through interesting fashions and longer hairstyles. Inspirations no longer came from Hollywood actors, but from rock stars such as Mick Jagger and John Lennon. They set the agenda for male fashion and overall body image.

1980 Body Builder
Health clubs and working out became popular in this era and with that skimpy clothing was a necessity to accentuate the body. Thanks to the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jean-Claude Van Damme, body building was on the rise. As job security and wages started to decline, men turned to sculpting their bodies as a way of self-validation.

1990 - present The Everyman
Another shift in the ideal body type came with the minimalism of the nineties. From being completely obsessed with working out, men no longer wanted beefy bodies. Brad Pitt, in Fight Club, became the poster boy for men's fitness. His not too-muscular and lean physique was the go-to look and is still popular to this day.

So, it just shows that women aren't the only ones who feel the pressures to keep up appearances and no matter what the idea of beauty will always be subject to change.

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