To me, the phrase "endowed with meaning" in relation to the question means the ways in which we use our bodies to send messages about the world we live in. This can be done in a number of ways, mainly through advertisements in which the male and female body is often used to sell products, some that don't seem entirely relevant to be presented only by people with "beautiful" bodies. In this essay I will be talking about how women's body shapes have been represented through a number of different trends in society over the last few decades and how these changes have brought different ideas about what society perceives to be a perfect body, and how this has had a massive affect on society, especially at a time when new technology allows us to change our bodies to our desired image.
The birth of skinniness and beyond.
It is clear that throughout the twentieth century the female form or image has changed a numerous amount of times, and that this is affected by the social climate. Often these trends reappear throughout history and for many different reasons. Near the start of the century, in the 1920's the desired image of women was that of a slim figure. This is perhaps where the idolatry of "skinny" women began. This was at a time when women were pursuing rights of freedom and independence. Changes to women's sexuality had also taken place at this period. Women were starting to be considered more sexual, and it seemed apparent that they should show this sexuality through looking sexy. The hairstyle of the 20's was the bobbed look, and corsets were worn frequently. Breasts were bound to make the women almost look flat-chested. Some women even started wearing suit-like clothing towards the end of the twenties, and were often seen drinking and smoking pipes in public. These were known as "flappers".
It seems ironic that the women's movement for pursuing rights, a movement that began as an attempt to liberate the sexuality of women, ended up with them being seen as nothing more than sexual objects, by themselves and by the men around them.