In the world today, images of beauty are everywhere you turn. Pictures of muscular macho males and thin beautiful females fill magazines, television and the music business. Women go through diets faster than they go through socks. Men are at the gym, striving for that toned body they think is the answer to all their problems. But why? How did so many people become obsessed with this supreme image? .
Ever since civilizations were around there were different ideas of beauty. Historical research has uncovered ancient Egyptian formulae for things such as the removal of stretch marks, reduction of wrinkling, and diminishing of scarring. Art in Ancient Egypt illustrated men as broad shouldered and muscular while women were showed as having round busts and small waists.
In China, a beautiful women would have what was called a "Three-inch golden lotus." From around 950-1912 A.D., women in China practiced something called foot binding. At age three Chinese girls" feet were wrapped with long strips of cloth beginning at the foot. By age five all the toes on the foot would be broken except the big toe, and the two first years of the binding were filled with excruciating pain. The bones in the feet never healed, and after a few years women had trouble walking.
In England in the 1700's, hoop petticoats were popular with actresses. These were calf-length underskirts made in starched cloth. Actresses wore them to fill out their skirts and make their waists appear smaller. Surprisingly, corsets have been worn since the Minoans and fashionable women of Tiryns and Thebes. The function of the corsets was to accentuate a slim waist and bare breasts, and to hold the skirt flat around the hips.
Completely different from the curves of the nineteenth century was the straight silhouette of the 1920's. Some women bound their breasts or wore special corsets to flatten their chests because in this era a flat chest was something to be proud of.