Women's Ideal Body Types Throughout History

Young Woman Holding a Mirror
by Giovanni Bellini
Date of Creation: 1515

This video shows how women with full figures (considered overweight by many) were often regarded as having the ideal shape in their time.  An example of the opposite was the extremely skinny shape of the model Twiggy.

The descriptions in this video are difficult to read because of the white print on a light background. The speed of the film is a little too fast.  It may be good to stop the video every so often so you can read the descriptions.


  1. Marilyn Monroe was considered to be the ideal of beauty in the 50's and early 60's. By today's standards she would be fat. I once read that in times of plenty heavier women are considered more attractive because their weight reflects the amount of money they have to feed themselves. In leaner times thinner women are revered because they have less money to eat. I am confused. Why can't we be what we are?

  2. I believe that the two extremes of "ideal" female body shape reflect how men keep women under social control. Larger body size is celebrated ("good childbearing hips") when the method of control is via the obligation to produce large numbers of children. Now that women have birth control in our own times, the "necessity" to be thin to the point of anorexia itself acts as the form of social control.

  3. It is so sad that women are still being judged by how much they weigh. Poor choices by women to please public opinions of how they should look have led to eating disorders. Karen Carpenter is one example. Very talented but considered overweight by some of her she and her talented voice are no longer with us~

    Food for Thought...pun intended~


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