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21 September, 2005

Shape of change

There's an interesting article in today's Guardian, alleging that the female waist is in decline; not getting smaller, but less distinct.  In Western Europe, typical (human) female proportions seem to have become more like those of males.  Since the 1950s, the waist-hip ratio has gone from 0.7 (supposedly an aesthetic ideal, genetically-programmed as sexually attractive) to more than 0.8. It's 'blamed' on changing nutrition and stress.

As Alizon said (pers. comm. ;) ), it's not entirely new news: clothes (and body image stigma) are still sized according to a system devised in the 1950s whereas shapes have changed fairly radically. It's self-evident that overall sizes have increased, and that applies to males too, but I hadn't consciously appreciated that female proportions have changed so much.

A secondary question is that if the link from the Guardian home page to the article hadn't been illustrated by a corset, would it have caught my eye? Those hardwired imperatives still apply....

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