How Female Beauty Standards Changed Over 3,000 Years


How Female Beauty Standards Changed Over 3,000 Years


Female beauty standards change over time, and what was considered attractive only 10 or 20 years ago might not be anymore. But how have these ideals shifted over a much longer period of 3,000 years? Buzzfeed Video created a short, fascinating feature that examines the different body types seen as beautiful throughout history.

Using a diverse cast of women, we get a compelling look at praise-worthy bodies starting with Ancient Egypt (circa 1292 to 1069 BC) and ending with Postmodern Beauty (circa 2000s to today). Each has their own specific set of desirable characteristics. Ancient Greece lauded full-bodied women with light skin, while the Han Dynasty preferred large eyes and small feet.

What’s clear from this video is that a definition of beauty constantly changes over time as different trends fall in and out of vogue. Some aspects make a comeback many, many years later while other traits already saw their heyday. What’s for certain though, is the fact that nothing lasts forever, not even beauty.

And these are just light examples of what female beauty standards actually mean. For example, the Inca people found that cross eyed people were appealing, so from a young age, infants were fitted with a plank between their eyes as to force their eyes to look inward. Some Native North Americans loved elongated heads so again, they fitted their children between two planks at an angle, as so their heads would grow outward. Japanese women of old used to break their toes and squish their feet into tiny shoes as to make their feet small, and they also blackened their teeth.

If you find these examples as just cruel, imagine that there are people today who undergo dangerous surgery where they insert pieces of plastic under their skin in order to look beautiful. Those practices back then are no different than what we do to our bodies today.


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