An interesting research paper was released attempting to describe the progression of body shapes through the ages and what was perceived as “attractive.” While seemingly a very hard concept to pin down, there seem to be “trends” in body shape, especially for women. Board certified plastic surgeons discuss on the latest episode of No Spin Live, speaking to how things have changed even within their own history as surgeons.
Plump, Skinny, Athletic – The Changing Female Body Type
It’s certainly a fascinating tale to see if there are legitimate reasons why certain body types were desired during certain periods of time. Ancient times tend to lean towards plump, as some have speculated a plump person (or even an overweight male) was a sign of wealth back in the day. As the middle class began to become the largest factor in developed societies, the changes come more rapidly, changing over decades.
“It was an interesting story because they showed the progression of body shapes throughout the ages,” explains board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Jason Pozner. “They looked at ancient times – when a more plump figure was considered sexy and attainable. Then they went to a more modern age, where they looked at the roaring 20’s when people were flappers and thin, to the heroin generation of the 90’s, to a more athletic look that we have now.”
Not only do trends wax and wane across the world and in specific countries, even regional differences can be unique.
“I live in Boca Raton, Florida,” continues Pozner, “and you guys all live in areas that are somewhat sunny where we have a lot of fit people. I think 2017 is the era of fit. People don’t want to be too thin, they don’t want to be too fat, but they want to be tone, they want to look proportional, and not over the top.”
The Modern Body Type? Athletic
While thin was once in, women seem to desire a little more heft in an athletic fashion in the 2000’s. An admiration for being fit and in shape has allowed body shapes to become less thin and more toned.
“I do think the fit body type is definitely in,” shares board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Ned Snyder of Austin. “You see more of it now as opposed to 15 years ago. People don’t want giant butts, giant boobs. They want things that seem natural. A lot of the cosmetic surgery world is moving towards things that are natural, that are just fixing – from a liposuction standpoint – problem areas where people can’t lose wait.”
Instead of patients seeking procedures that affect major change, many patients come in nowadays with their bodies almost as shapely as they can be with dieting and exercise. They’re seeking that final step, whether that’s augmenting the breast (adding volume with implants or reducing) to liposuction for pocket areas of seemingly exercise-resistant fat. Fit is in and still finds a place in cosmetic surgery for improvement.
Even with Curious Scientific Conjectures, Beauty Remains Relative
There seems to be growing evidence from anthropologists that what is attractive over the ages can, to a reasonable degree, be pinpointed. These discoveries are telling when given a wide berth of population and time, but do not take into account very well personal taste.
“It seems like this study was done by a few anthropologists who were looking to see what is an attractive figure is evolutionary dictated – is this hard-wired in our genes?” asks Dr. Kevin Smith, a board certified plastic surgeon in Charlotte. “Realistically, there’s no accounting for taste! Some women look good in one size, it goes on and on. It’s all a very individual thing.”
Additionally, when science or the news or anyone of any audience begins to discuss “what’s trendy,” it may lead some to desire that over their own personal tastes. This could lead to unrealistic expectations, which often translate into plastic surgery desires beyond what will look natural.
“One of the problems with papers like this is it really gives women unrealistic expectations,” explains Smith. “They come in wanting this socially-perceived ideal body type, and that leads to disappointed women because we can’t do that for them. Women need to embrace themselves and find beauty in that, and we help them along with realistic expectations and surgeries. There is no perfect body type for everybody.”