In Marilyn Monroe’s day, curvy was beautiful.
In the 70’s, there was a shift. Twiggy and other stick-thin models were beautiful.
Through the 80’s and 90’s, thin was still beautiful. Models and actresses because the ‘ideal’ while the rest of the population struggled with body image issues. Dieting, anorexia, bulemia and depression were the sign of these times.
In the early 2000’s, people started stepping up to address the issue. Grassroots organizations, with the assistance of the internet, began pushing out materials to speak to the issue. I’m not sure I know anyone who is totally happy with their body, especially the feminine folk. The theme of the 2000’s seemed to be healthy is beautiful.
While these are clearly gross generalizations about a nation, they are designed to show how the standards of beauty change with the decades. It’s kind of like what color is in. I don’t follow fashion, but I’m always hearing that something is the new black. Whatever it is may not last long, but for the time, that’s what’s popular.
Today, 2012, I believe we may have another shift on our hands. I’ve been experiencing it for myself in the last year or so, but hadn’t realized it or put words to it. But it appeared to me randomly in a news story during the London Olympics. In some sort of article that I didn’t read, the headline mentioned this:
Strong is the new beautiful (I think it actually said pretty, but I don’t like that word).
Imagine that…strong. Strength, muscular. I often hear women are afraid of looking bulky like men. I have never felt that way. I love the look of a muscular body – plus, women generally can’t even get bulky, it’s a common misconception about lifting weights. You need testosterone to get bulky, and in much higher doses than women’s bodies typically contain. Some women get big, don’t get me wrong, but that’s not the majority.
As a yogi, I see plenty of strong women (and men)- physically, mentally and emotionally. They are not stick-thin, they are not frail looking, they are not weak; they are strong, powerful, confident and focused. They gain strength through persistance and practice. They cover all age spectrums and abilities.
They are strong.
They are beautiful.
The standards of beauty may not be changing, but with this Olympics, I have seen more coverage speaking to the women athletes being motivators and inspirations to people all over the country (and world). It may not be a national shift, but it’s a personal shift for me. Strong is the new beautiful.