Magazine topic: 
Fashion

The ‘ideal’ woman

by : 
BethanyS

Every day we are confronted with pictures of people with perfect bodies. The men in adverts have dreamy eyes and large muscles. The women in magazines are slender women with curves in all the right places. These images are shown as beautiful; the bodies are perfect and ideal. These photographs can often trigger the question ‘why can’t I look like that?’ or declarations of ‘she’s so lucky!’ 

It seems, however, that the women lucky enough to have the ‘ideal’ body change endlessly. The most desired body type is different depending on which country you look at and in what year. The Ancient Greeks thought women should be plump and full-bodied but the people of the Hans Dynasty thought the most appealing females had slim waists.

In many eras and cultures, it was considered beautiful to have pale or fair skin. This was true in the Hans Dynasty, in Renaissance Italy and in Victorian England. In Victorian England, pale skin was a sign of wealth and belonging to a high social class whereas darker skin suggested you had to work outside. Today, different cultures have different opinions on fair skin. It is still preferred in some countries, such as Japan. A lot of people in Japan regard fair skin as beautiful and there is even a market for skin whitening cosmetics. In modern England, however, many women use sun beds or fake tan in order to have tanned, golden skin. They believe it makes them look healthier.

Throughout the 21st century, the ‘ideal’ body has been very changeable. During the roaring 1920s, the ideal woman was flat chested and had an almost boyish physique. In the following decades, during the golden age of Hollywood, Marilyn Monroe set the standard. The dream woman was curvy with an hourglass figure. 

Today, magazines show us photos of people with ‘the perfect body’. According to history, this doesn’t exist. Every body type was considered perfect and the ideal in some culture at some time. Despite what we see in magazines, we have thousands of years of different ideals to show us that, really, no body type is better than any other. Each and every body is beautiful. 

Discussion

What is considered beautiful in your culture? What do you think about Photoshop in magazines? 

Comments

NATALYY's picture
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NATALYY 7 June, 2015 - 19:57

Wow!I like the final sentence "Each and every body is beautiful"...It's true.I think that we should think about health (food) and sport.
Sport!And than we all are beautifull.

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Ken's picture
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Ken 9 June, 2015 - 07:48

Hmmmm, the final sentence sounds like just presenting a blogger's public face.... ! Are you sure, two ladies!??(≧∇≦)

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cash2555's picture
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cash2555 13 May, 2015 - 10:26

In my culture. A lot of net idols must have got white skin like paper, some big eyes like a doll, braces, V-shape face and slim shape body. Sometimes I was confused because they looked alike.

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Coffeenn's picture
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Coffeenn 25 May, 2015 - 18:17

Hi :) Can I ask? Where are you from? I am from Slovakia and here is "nice" if you have got a golden skin. However I think it is comming the idea that white skin is ideal. The ideal body here is VERY slim so the nice girls are always skiny here. But I think it is good to have some fat on my body :) It is good in winter too :D
By the way - Is the boy on your profile picture the boy who I think he is? :D ♥

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Lavender's picture
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Lavender 5 May, 2015 - 17:36

Ideal women, girls in my culture need to be:
- white skin (as much as possible, especially the face)
- tall
- slim body, or with curves but not fat
- V-line chin
- big eyes

- natural make up (but the lips must be red)
- and tatoos have become hot trend recently
I like bohemian style like Selena Gomez or Vanessa but they think this kind of fashion is messy.
I think women there should not be standard of beauty, this can limit human's creativity and development.

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Ken's picture
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Ken 6 May, 2015 - 12:40

Hi Lavendar, interesting! I am curious to know what ideal men, boys in your culture are like! Men should have a right to be discussed as well as women, shouldn't they??

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Lavender's picture
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Lavender 6 May, 2015 - 17:53

Hi Ken. Yes you are right they should. Because the title is ideal women so I just talked about beauty standard for girls.
I think people here like boys/men with Korean actors/singers' look. You know, baby face, tall, innocent eyes. They are fine, I think but sometimes I find them like a girl.
How about the hot trend of beauty for men and women in Japan, Ken?

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Ken's picture
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Ken 7 May, 2015 - 09:18

Hi, Lavender!, right, I'd like to read about The ''Ideal" man as well!
And thanks for the reply about the 'ideal' man in your culture. Interestingly enough, I think we have the similar trends of beauty in Asia!
Hmm… the 'ideal' man looks familiar to me…, the like of me… or a friend of mine??? *-)
Joking aside, J-pop singers (both boys and girls) are the icon for us teens!

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HannaMarin's picture
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HannaMarin 4 May, 2015 - 17:39

In my culture being slim and tall is considered beautiful. Long hair of all colours are popular and I don't think there is any special make - up, you just do it as you feel to do it. As in other American and European countries here is also fashionable to be tanned.

I don't like photoshop anywhere because young girls make believe that their body isn't perfect and then they're trying to get photoshoped body, whisch is impossible. This leads to depression, unconfident ...

I heard that models want to look as they look on photos (made with photoshop). So - nobody's perfect. :D

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Ken's picture
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Ken 1 May, 2015 - 04:16

My ideal woman is such a nice girl who is really beautiful inside and outside! I become happy just being with her and chatting with her. There's no room for culture to judge my taste! And yes, I agree that the 'ideal' body has been very changeable depending on the culture and ages. I heard that our culture considers that a small girl is prettier than taller ones, but which is the other way around in Western culture. I also heard that the 'ideal' woman should be tall and big and have dark skin and mustache in South Pacific countries. What a variety of beauties!

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Lavender's picture
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Lavender 9 May, 2015 - 02:14

Hi Ken. Yeah 'ideal men' sounds intersting. I don't know for men but there are a lot of women (I'm one of them) feel insecure about their appearance. The concept of ideal women is some kind of a beauty standard, many women tend to copy them to become more gorgeous and that way helps us gain self-confident. I think every women is pretty in their way but the problem is we often feel ugly compare to the ideal women's photos on Internet, magazines (which are so many and were photoshopped). This is bad we lose our confident. As you can see there are more and more plastic surgeries nowadays. We know everyone should be proud of their body because we were born like this but it is not easy like that...

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Ken's picture
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Ken 10 May, 2015 - 08:25

Hello Lavender, thank you for your reply! Just wanted to give you supplementary information about 'ideal men' you thought interesting. It was about 'ideal women' …. I mean I wanted to say 'ideal women' in South Pacific Countries were tall and big with dark skin and hairy face. No mustache! Sorry for giving you wrong information! :-) Do you think them beautiful?
I think you're getting a point about women's insecurity about their appearance! As for me, I often feel my English is ugly compared to native speakers and occasionally lose my confidence. But I don't think I should copy them perfectly! That's humorous! It may be a matter of personal choice, but I have no stomach to deceive people around me and myself.... I might be ….. just an idiot!?

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Harabeli Supersweet 30 April, 2015 - 17:13

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it's really hard to say what is considered beautiful in my culture. I can say that trends change with the time. If some years ago thin lips were considered beautiful, now people have plastic surgeries just to have fuller lips. The tendency of a curvy body for females is back again. Now it's prefered tan skin. Girls use dark makeup and solar just to have a darker skin. They're never satisfied with their hair colour, doesn't matter what it is, so they usually dye them black or blonde, since brown is the most common hair colour here.
I'm against photoshop in magazines. It makes girls feel bad about their looks and it creates fake images of beauty. Everyone should feel good about the way they look and not to be focused on perfection, because it doesn't exist. Even the celebrities that we see as beauty icons are completely different without photoshop, makeup or plastic surgeries. So, the best thing we can do is to accept ourselves just the way we are.

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Elsa007's picture
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Elsa007 1 May, 2015 - 12:49

I can't agree more, Harabeli! Great comment! Yep, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and in a balance. It's often the case with people who simply think a plastic surgery will make beauty, I think it actually looses a natural balance! Eventually, there will be no rest in taking surgery one after another!

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hadia's picture
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hadia 1 May, 2015 - 07:50

Hi Harabeli Supersweet!
I love reading your awesome comment!
Well you're absolutely right. these celebrities whom many of us admire a lot are not really what the magazines or TV channels show them to us. They are not much prettier so we should stay happy and accept ourselves in this state because we are in fact really prettier than them!

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Bosnianchild 29 April, 2015 - 18:40

Bosnians love all types of women. Especially, they love overweight women and shorter. But I am the one of tallest girl in my town and I am to skinny. But I don't really care :))

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IloveallinConan 28 April, 2015 - 12:32

I heard this information in a clip. In Vietnam, a beautiful woman is woman have white and smooth skin, slim body. I think magazines only wanted to have beautiful images so they need to edit to get what they desire without complying with the change of time of the woman before.

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