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Our changing ideal of female beauty, in one gif

The ideal body type for women fluctuates with every passing decade: the voluptuous curves of the 50s (think Marilyn Monroe) gave way to a waiflike shape in the 60s (Twiggy); in the 80s, super-built supermodels were in (Cindy Crawford) only to shrink back to "heroin chic" in the 90s (Kate Moss). Now, big butts, as you surely know, are the thing (Kim Kardashian).

The Greatist has done a fantastic job tracing these insane fluctuations through time, and reminding us that — no matter the ideal — we are stuck with the bodies we are born with, so we should embrace them.

body image

The ideal body, over 100 years. (Greatist)

Sadly, many women don't and how we see ourselves is written on not only by the times, but also by our culture.

In a recent study, researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago set out to see how African American women thought about their body weight. They used this "body image scale" to determine what women deemed normal weight, overweight, and obese.


(Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior)

"Overweight figures were not considered too fat," the researchers found. So even though medical professionals consider the women in pictures 2, 3, and 4 to be normal weight —and all the other figures to be overweight or obese, the participants in the study only thought the last two drawings (8 and 9) were tipping the scales.

White women
, on the other hand, tend to place themselves in a higher weight group than they actually are.

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