It wasn’t so long ago that curves were celebrated. In the history of man, the renaissance was just yesterday. Look at any portraits and paintings from the renaissance, and there were certainly no Nicole Richies or Calista Flockharts. Women had curves, the way that nature intended them to have. Hips made for child bearing, breasts made for nourishing children, and a having a tummy? Well that was a sign of wealth. No wealthy person was ever found to be stick thin and lacking those womanly curves. Even today, in tribal Africa, a bigger bottom, a larger tummy, and sizeable bosoms are what men look for in a potential mate. A woman is not considered a healthy mate in tribal Africa if she is lacking these attributes. In fact, in preparation for marriage, women are often sent to “fattening” huts.
Beauty is certainly defined differently based on culture, from bound feet in China, to carved body tattooing in Africa, and curvaceous bodies in renaissance Europe to modern western culture dictating thinness and flat chests. How have we gone from appreciating ourselves as we were born to wanting to change nearly every aspect of ourselves? Well, the question is, have we? They’ve been binding feet in China for centuries, carving marks in bodies for millennia in Africa. What has changed is the technological abilities at our hands. We are able to make minor changes (or even major ones) with minimal trauma to the body. So now we can use body sculpting to help give a person curves in the places they want them, and remove curves from places that they just do not fit.
Even in Milan, on the fashion runways, the change in ones interpretation of beauty has come to fore, with new rules being put in place for the minimum body weight for a person to weigh before being allowed to participate in the fashion shows. It seems that the fashion world is ever so slowly coming to recognize the affect that these models have not just on fashion, but also on body image. And it’s interesting to note that this new trend is beginning, where renaissance Europe began, at the heart of Italy. If they were able to make us love our curves once, maybe they can help us love our curves again, albeit with a little help to get those curves where we want them.