After the New York Post published an article stating that Heroin Chic was ‘back’, waving bye-bye to the ‘big booty’ trend, they were slammed on social media by women who are tired of their bodies being considered a forthcoming craze.
It raises the question, why, as a society, are we so focused on this idea of a ‘body trend’?
From a newer generation’s perspective, many may think that the hourglass look first emerged from famous personalities, such as Kim Kardashian, which resulted in masses going under the knife to achieve an unrealistic curvature; a large chest, cinched waist, and wide hips.
So, it became a global media frenzy when at the 2022 Met Gala, she admitted that she had lost 16lbs in three weeks to fit into Marilyn Monroe’s iconic ‘Happy Birthday’ dress.
It became apparent to the public how much her body shape had changed, conforming to the current ‘thin’ body trend as opposed the ‘hourglass’ one she herself created. Rumours started circulating that she had supposedly dissolved her Brazilian Bum Lift (BBL) fuelled by the appearance of the images that showed significant changes in her body.
However, if you look back through the decades, body trends against women have always been a concept. Since the early 1900s, women’s bodies have been viewed as a fashion statement, with many agreeing that it was done to capture the attention of males at the time.
From the 1920s, when the majority of women desired a straight physique devoid of any curves, to the 1950s, when Marilyn served as an inspiration for the bigger bust and broader hips era.
It is only now, due to social media and damaging articles such as the one released by The New York Post, that the brisk way women’s bodies are considered a trend is becoming noticeable to them.
Women are tired of it, with many female talents such as Billie Eilish changing the narrative by not allowing the media to patronise their body, by opting to only be seen out in public wearing oversized clothes that make noticing her body shape impossible to the hawking media.
In an ad campaign for Calvin Klein, Eilish revealed that reason she chooses to wear baggy clothes is so that people won’t judge or sexualise her, exclaiming: “That’s why I wear baggy clothes. Nobody can be like, ‘she’s slim-thick,’ ‘she’s not slim-thick,’ ‘she’s got a flat ass,’ ‘she’s got a fat ass.’ No-one can say any of that because they don’t know.”
Kate, who studies womenswear at the London College of Fashion believes that body trends are more female focused due to the different standards that society has created for men and women: “You could argue that the male gaze is a big reason for the creation of body trends,” she told Artefact.
“You don’t see anything like this about men. Body trends imply that you can chop and change whenever you like, you can do something and then revert back and it’s because a woman’s beauty is more important to society than it is for men.”
She explained that: “Many women feel their as if worth is equal to what they look like, so how we look is what we invest in, and if there are ‘trends’ telling you the best way that you can look, then you’re going to go after that because that’s what you see first in a woman: what she looks like.”
Kate related this to award shows: “Most men wear suits and so their bodies are not exposed. Whereas with women you are exposed to their skin, you see their legs, their chest, there’s more focus on a woman’s physical body than what she is wearing because they are simply more visible. Quite rightly, but this shouldn’t mean that’s all we focus on.”
But she believes that the implication of a trend is a concern: “Bodies have always been a trend, however we call them trends now because they are so quick to change, years ago I don’t think they changed so quickly and so they were more the standard of the time period,” Kate said.
“If you look back to the Victorian era, the ideal body type was to be larger as it meant you were wealthy and could afford to eat. In our day and age, we can’t call a few years a standard of its time, the ideal body changes so fast that we now have to call them trends. It’s quite scary.”
Featured image by Alexander Krivitskiy via Unsplash CC