Never even for a second you feel like you are (physically) unattractive just because the beauty standard that society has set for us is not even close to how you actually look! Beauty is fluid, and not only about how media portrays beauty but also how you express positive vibes within you to radiate beauty from the inside out—of course you should feel beautiful in order to look glowing. If you look at the bigger picture of how society defines beauty then you can put your smile on, because by knowing that beauty standard is evolving, you may now realise that all body types and physical features are beautiful.
The 1950s: The Age of Glamour
When firstly introduced in the 1910s, makeups have been every woman’s best friend ever since. In the 1950s, makeup was very essential for women to be considered as pretty, women were suggested and encouraged to wear some layers of stunning makeup to look elegant, this is why the 1950s was marked as The Age of Glamour.
The 1950s is also the post-war era where women were back to their harmonious home with typical domestic chores. This era has taught women—especially the single ones to attract men and start a family while still be responsible for doing some chores at home. Thus, no wonder women in the 1950s looked so sharp and elegant even when they just stayed at home. Not only that, the hourglass figure—a narrower waist, a quite wide bust, with balanced bottom and bust lines—was very popular in the 1950s, that even skinny women were suggested to take some supplements to fill out the curves.
The 1960s: The Return of the Androgynous Style
After the celebration of ultra-feminine style, the world turned its head to a more androgynous style that was originally introduced in the 1920s. This also affected the beauty standard as the hourglass figure was out and brought a new ideal: petite, skinny figure, androgynous style with girlish face. Being underweight was considered attractive in this era; look at Twiggy, the icon of the 1960s.
Also, the 1960s marks the time where women started to be objectified for advertisements of men-related products, such as alcoholic drinks, cigarettes, even for magazine covers to attract more men to buy the products. In this time, the objectification practices were seen pretty normal for marketing purposes, making it clear it was the time when society still perceived men as the sole powerholder.
The 1970s: The Disco Divas
For all the party girls out there, any glitter and sparks you put on your face was once very popular in the 1970s! Yes, it was the age of disco diva! This period of time also celebrated black women, and fairer-skinned women tried to get their skin tanned as a result of the black pride movement that emerged in the ate 1960s. Thus, many black women started to be models for magazines and advertisements.
Adjusting to the disco era, women in the 1970s loved to cut some body fat in order to look slimmer with flat-stomached signature so that they could fit to the fashion trend that mostly used tight materials such as spandex or polyester. Unlike two decades before when elegant and full-make up looks were more appreciated, in the 1970s women wore less makeup to embrace their natural beauty.
The 1980s: Everyone Wanted to be Supermodels
There came the age of more unrealistic body figure that society perceived as beautiful. Everyone wanted to look like supermodels in the 1980s with thin build and long legs—petite women strategised their height by wearing heels. Because of the figures of supermodels that had been dreamed by many, toned figures and more muscles in women’s body started to be desired. It was somewhat empowering in a way that more people joined a gym and more non-European women were given chances to appear in media and advertisements. However, due to the unrealistic expectation to look like supermodels, many women became both so obsessed and depressed that it led to a high number of women with eating disorder throughout the decade. Because of this obsession too, nose jobs and other aesthetic plastic surgeries began to be well-known in the 1980s.
What considered as stylish in this era was loose or oversized shirts paired with skinny trousers. As for the makeups, women became more expressive in what they could put in their face—neon-coloured eyes, full coverage complexion, and dyed hair could be found in every corner once you stepped into hyped places in town.
The 1990s: Casual Chic Era
Simple shirts, hoodies, and jeans, these all got the spotlight in the 90s! The proper way to dress was defined more of by our personal styles, not to mention the rise of working women demanded efficient and more comfortable outfits. On weekends, women were encouraged to put on their street wear clothes to add more comfort while at the same time, the style was affected by the rising fame of grunge and ‘darker’ music that some people referred it to as “heroin chic” when it comes to correlate the music trend with the way people expressed it through fashion.
Also in the 1990s, due to the popularity of Baywatch, women were encouraged to have a fuller bust with slim-to-skinny overall body. However, you would still be considered as attractive with classic hourglass figure, but in a slimmer fit version. This period of time also celebrated the equality between women and men that unisex fragrances begun to catch public attention.
The 2000s: Celebrity Culture
If there is one thing you might notice from the total look of Britney Spears from 2000 until 2009 is definitely her transformation from pretty innocent to a more glamorous and sexier pop icon. It did not only happen to her, I mean, look at Christina Aguilera. Moreover, the transformation of some teenage celebrities to became sexier and more glamorous-looking icons was actually the result of the development of technology and internet in this decade. More senior celebrities acquired additional income by establishing their own business and easily promoting it online.
The glamorous-looking style was also translated into the makeup trend in the 2000s where everyone loved to put on some highlighter, glowing bronzer, often combined with lots of fake tan—the more gold you put on your face and skin, the better. Yet, the trend in this era did not support the appearance of plus-size bodies to be the star on screen. The queen was always depicted as slim-to-skinny body figure, leaving only a small room for chubbier women to do the supporting roles. In sum, women in the 2000s focused severely on diet culture that supported skinnier-looking figure instead of promoting body positivity
The 2010s: Booty Bonanza
No more skinny or very slim body—or if you opt for skinny body, then be curvy-skinny instead—and most likely we are all the witnesses of how fuller buttocks nowadays has become a trend, thanks to Nicki Minaj and the Kardashians. Because, let’s face it, how many of you who regularly hit a gym to do some squats to achieve that “bootylicious” body and maintain the healthy curves that you can post it on Instagram to show off the progress? (oh, it is getting firmer down there!)
Moreover, since women nowadays are encouraged to be more independent, expressive, and tougher, supported by the fact that beauty campaigns to appreciate beauty in all shapes and colours are everywhere in the world; modern ideal has given more space for women to express their own ideal types of beauty—be it embracing their fuller bodies, proud of being skinny, feel enough with common girl-next-door type, or mastering the masculine look; all can be beautiful. However, this trend also brings some drawbacks: tanned women want to appear lighter, wear coloured contact lens to achieve the typical Barbie look, and straighten their hair; and it also applies to the other way around; fair-skinned women want to have darker skin with curly hair, the skinny ones want to tone their muscles and the fatter women cut some body fat to look skinnier.