Video: Watch How 'Ideal' Beauty Has Changed Over 3,000 Years

Photo: Nina Buday / Shutterstock
Video: How The Beauty "Ideal" Has Changed Over 3,000 Years

The ideal beauty standards over the years, 3,000 years to be exact, have changed.

In ancient Egypt, slender shoulders and a narrow waist were seen as attractive. During the Renaissance, a round stomach and fair skin were desired, whereas, in the 1980s, athletic-curvy bodies were the top trend in body types.

When you're overweight, a little or a lot, people who are trying to be kind but still struggling with a positive adjective will call you Rubenesque. Rubenesque means plump, fleshy, voluptuous — the kind of women that were featured in a number of Peter Paul Ruben's paintings.

During Ruben's time (the 1600s), women who would be considered plus-size today were thought of as very sexy and desirable then. In the Renaissance and Baroque eras, women who were fleshier were thought of as healthier and wealthier.

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Every time period has its own idea of beauty, and these standards or ideals can vary drastically. In the Victorian era, it was tiny waists and large butts; in the 1920s, no curves and boyish figures were beautiful; in the 1960s, super-skinny was the trend. 

Society seems to determine what kind of beauty is in and what is out. But perhaps the best plan of action is for us, as individuals, to determine our own beauty ideals, instead of trying to conform to someone else's.

In this video by Buzzfeed, they demonstrate the range of women's ideal body types and beauty standards over the years.

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The video has received almost 50 million views and thousands of comments.

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Eugene Lee Yang, a video producer at Buzzfeed, said in an interview:

"We intended to compare these idealized figures in an editorial fashion that evaluates the aesthetic of each era while displaying how much and how often these standards of beauty change over time.

We're so often preoccupied with current trends that we lose perspective on how fleeting our obsession with physical perfection has historically been. As demanding as our perception of an ideal body type may be, we should remember that yesterday's ideal will, without fail, evolve into something completely different tomorrow."

How about we call the next trend "Everyone is beautiful in their own way," and think of all our bodies as ideal.

And don't forget, a lot of the times, beauty comes from within. You can change your outlook on life by first coming to terms with your inner beauty. You deserve to find love, happiness, and acceptance for who you are.

Once you do, you will shine your beauty for the whole world to see.

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Editor's Note: This article was originally posted in October 2015 and was updated with the latest information.

Christine Schoenwald is a writer and performer. She's had articles in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, Bustle, Medium, and Woman's Day. Visit her website or her Instagram.

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