It’s Amazing How Much The ‘Perfect Body’ Has Changed In 100 Years.
Sex symbols have varied in terms of body shape, height, weight and tone, from the hourglass figure of Mae West to the waif-like Kate Moss. Though the diversity of these icons is limited — they are all white, and none could be accurately described as plus-size — it’s gratifying to see that different body types have been construed as sexy, and likely will be again.
The Gibson Girl, 1900-1910s
The “Gibson girl” was the creation of illustrator Charles Dana Gibson, a type of woman that came to epitomize the ideal feminine beauty at the turn of the century. Gibson described the figure, who was tall with a large bust and wide hips but a narrow waist, as a composite of young women he’d observed.
The Flapper, 1920s
Flappers were known for their bobbed hair, shortened dresses and “scandalous” behavior such as smoking in public and driving cars. Flappers rarely wore corsets, downplaying their breasts and waists, and often showed their ankles or knees.
Mae West, 1930s
Hollywood star Mae West could not have been more different from the flappers. She emphasized her waist and hips, flaunting her figure through close-fitting dresses.
Rita Hayworth, 1940s
During World War II, the ideal moved away from the unattainable curves of Mae West and the carefree attitudes of the flapper. Stars like Rita Hayworth had flawless skin and healthy, slender bodies, a look not too far away from that of the average American woman.
Marilyn Monroe, 1950s
Sex symbols of the 1950s include Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield and Betty Page, known for their long legs and busty hourglass figures.
Along with the sexual revolution, the 1960s brought with it a new beauty ideal — slender and long-legged. High-fashion model Twiggy Lawson became famous for her small frame and “androgynous” look — a nod to the flapper ideal.
Farrah Fawcett, 1970s
The ideal 1970s beauty was tanned with flowing hair and a slim, toned body — an athletic look with minimal or “natural” makeup. Actress Farrah Fawcett was considered one of the decade’s most beautiful women.
Jane Fonda, 1980s
Actress Jane Fonda was the face of the fitness craze and the epitome of the “hard body” — her aerobic exercise videos sold millions of copies.
Kate Moss, 1990s
In the 1990s, models got drastically thinner. Kate Moss’ waif-like appearance in her 1993 Calvin Klein campaigns coined the term ”heroin chic”– pale skin, angular bone structure and extremely thin limbs were in fashion.