Has Thin Always Been ‘In’?

I’m sure many of us already know the answer to the question (No, of course), but what’s interesting is HOW the perception of sexy has evolved over the years to what it is today!

To understand the evolution of beauty standards worldwide, how can we not start off with the West where the “thin” trend began in the first place!

“The arrival of cable television and Western fashions and films has given today’s teenagers the idea that thin is beautiful…” BBC

“But standards of beauty have changed dramatically… as South Korea’s government decontrolled TV and newspapers, allowing in a flood of foreign and foreign-influenced programming, information and advertising.” Dr. Sing Lee, psychiatrist, Chinese University of Hong Kong 

So, here goes:

 A poster pin up girl in the 1920s 

Hollywood celebrities in the 1930s and 1940s, the beau in the middle being the famous actress, Thelma Todd, who was at her peak in the 1930s and 1940s

How can we not mention Marilyn Monroe, the sex bomb of the 1950s and 1960s?

 And… Elizabeth Taylor, a famous Hollywood actress in the 1960s!

THIS is where it all began. Presenting… Twiggy Lawrence, the skinny androgenous model with a sweet angelic face who surprisingly took the world by a storm in the 1970s when curves were sexy!

Goldie Hawn, in the 1980s, when the ideal body weight was beginning to dip, thanks to Twiggy Lawson!

The figure you would have wanted to have in the 1990s!

Beauty standards today as depicted in the hit show, America’s Next Top Model!

Not surprisingly, beauty standards in Asia have undergone a similar evolution pattern, with the thin trend kicking off in the 1970s and 1980s when Western media became increasingly popular in Asia!

Evolution of Beauty in Japan:

 A Japanese pin up beauty in the 1930s! 

 Japanese beauty standards from the 1950s to 1970s

Momoe Yamaguchi, a Japanese hottie in the 1980s! Clearly beauty standards are shifting away from the curvier and fuller figures appreciated in the 1930s!

SPEED, the girl band that was overwhelmingly popular in Japan in the 1990s!


Last but not least, Ms Japan 2007!

Evolution of Beauty in Hong Kong:

 Lin Dai, a phenomenal actress in Hong Kong who was the epitome of beauty in the 1950s and 1960s!


Beauty in the 1970s which is clearly beginning to move towards the “thin”

Anita Mui (left) who enjoyed widespread popularity in the 1980s and represented beauty standards in the 1980s

 Thinner ideals in the 1990s

Beauty ideals today!

I don’t know about the rest of my dear readers, but for me at least, just looking at the evolution of beauty in both the West and in Asia over the years reminds me that at the end of the day, chasing beauty standards is not unlike chasing trends, meaningless after a while. And, perhaps, even if we’re not considered beautiful in this time, it does not reflect that we are any less valuable. It just means that we’re not conforming to the beauty standards of our culture in our time. If we do not follow the fashion trends of today, does it mean that we are any less forward-thinking? Trends will be trends – there will always be followers and rebels. Whichever we choose to be, it’s a choice, not a reflection of our worth and value. I sincerely hope that this post will be as comforting to my dear readers as it was to me.

Till the next time!


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35 Responses to “Has Thin Always Been ‘In’?”

  1. crystaljadie Says:

    i’m wondering.. Does beauty play a role in evolution too?

    When choosing wife, almost all men prefer beautiful women, and the
    standards of beauty seem to be universal across races and cultures. So
    I assume the preference to beautiful women is in our gene. So how did we get this…. thru the media?

  2. notjustskindeep Says:

    hey crystaljadie!

    i have to agree with you that the quest for beauty does probably have some biological roots and origins! 🙂 but is it possible that even though men have sought beautiful wives since time immemorial in order to fulfill a biological need, that the perception of beauty is psychological and influenced by the media? in other words, yes, men have always chased the beautiful but the definition of beauty evolves over time and across cultures?

  3. amal Says:

    the beuty standards is redicolouse , marlyn monroe I heard was a size 16 ! she looks hot !

  4. Kitten Says:

    Size 16’s are beautiful! There was a time when a size 12 was not considered plus size. The beauty standards are ridiculous in this way, Marilyn Monroe and many other actresses of her day all were made to get surgery. Try looking up pictures of Norma Jean(the girl she was), although still gorgeous, she looks much different than the Marilyn persona.

  5. mercedo Says:

    Interesting analysis!

  6. alexlynn Says:

    Beauty standards today are ridiculous, I wish I lived in Marilyn Monroe’s time…

  7. John Z Says:

    bueaty is to the beholder

  8. Anonymous Says:

    I don’t see what the big deal is about whether “skinny” is beautiful or not. Working out and eating healthy = being thinner and looking better. Look at men for example, I’m sure most girls prefer a man who is fit and has muscles, and how do they achieve that? By working out and keeping healthy. So why is it so bad to expect a girl to do the same?
    Also, I’m sure that if you ask any man he will tell you that Marylin Monroe was indeed beautiful, because she took care of herself and she looks to be in pretty good shape. Yes its true that some girls are big boned and have naturally wide hips but if you take care of yourself you can look good too. Today’s media may portray a very skinny girl to be what is supposed to be beautiful but then why is it that America is the most overweight country? Maybe their just trying to give us a motivational boost to lead a healthier lifestyle.

  9. maris Says:

    i can’t help but notice that beauty and sexual attraction are tied to the concepts of “healthy” and “well off” more than to anything else. going back before the 20s, but centuries ago when poor people couldn’t eat very much and were skinny, plumpness was considered beautiful because it was a sign of wealth. nowadays, skinniness is considered beautiful because it’s a sign of taking care of yourself (having time, effort, money to do so. at least, in ideal). similarly, (at least for white ppl), centuries ago, paleness was considered beautiful and tanness ugly because wealthy people didn’t work outside under the sun all summer. nowadays, tanness is beautiful and paleness is ugly because healthy people get a good, “golden” dose of sun (and vitamin D).

    also, one must remember that the main difference between marilyn and the size-16 of today is how we got here. she didn’t eat mcdonalds on a daily basis. she ate healthy, tasty, natural things. and so her size-16 is quite a bit healthier than the size-16 of today, which is full of cellulite and horribly deficient in nutrients.

  10. katie Says:

    re Maris says:

    Actually, i’m reading a book on Marilyn. She didn’t always eat healthy, she would binge eat. However this was all home cooked food, not Macdonalds, so you are right. Also, she was addicted to pills and alcohol, which didn’t help.

    However i still love her and think she is gorgeous with a healthy sexy body, we should be striving to look like her.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Being skinny does not make a girl beautiful. I believe that a girl who is happy with herself is beautiful. There is nothing wrong with skinny girls, just as there is nothing wrong with curvaceous girls. It really isn’t fair to women to be told nowadays that their body is imperfect because it has curves, and so they are starving themselves in order to fit in with today’s standard of beauty. It would be great if the standard of beauty was the way it was in the fifties, when women looked healthy rather than emaciated. I prefer my women with breasts and hips rather than the figure of a prepubescent boy. But that’s just me.

  12. Kimas Says:

    I think that being your healthiest is EXTREMELY sexy. Skinny girls get a lot of bs too in Hollywood when they begin to look too waify. Kate Winslet, Beyonce, J. Alba and S. Johannson almost always get rave reviews from men and women around the world because they look healthy and glowing. I am a size 14, I consider myself to be pretty damn fine tho I hav gained unhealthy weight. I can never go below a size 10 and I don’t want to. I love my hourglass body and rock my bf’s world with it all the time. Btw unhealthy skinny girls are always crabby n unhappy cuz they’re hungry so don’t let them pressure you healthy girls out there.

  13. Kimas Says:

    Oh and btw some guys like thin girls cuz the media tells us that is what is beautiful but thin ppl are overrepresented. How many ppl really are 35-25-35? Unsurprisingly very few ppl can maintain this size and be healthy. At the end of the day, they healthy girl always gets the guys cuz even tho the media says thin is in, we hav been hardwired over hundreds of years to chose what is best for our offspring’s health. So guys, that is y u can’t help going gaga over Jlo and her curvy friends. The irony tho is that these “curvy” celebs are no more than a size 6 in most cases while the nt’l averageis 14. Still good tho. They may still be small but healthy.

  14. sydney & EDDY Says:

    all those girls are ugly except marilyn monroe and that JAPAN girl is fucking fine! im fine.

  15. Susan Says:

    Healthy, Healthy, Healthy. That is all that matters. I am 6′ 2″ tall and I was made to be thin. Although I wear a size 10-13 people always think that I wear a size 3. I am 24 year old and a couple of year ago I had to stop listening to everyone else and what they thought that I should look like. I had to accept that I am tall, skinny, and white. I used to try to get a tan, gain weight, wear flats. But what kind of life is that? I am proud of who I am on the inside. I have found out that if you are able to be proud of who you are, then you will take care of yourself (eat healthy and exercise) and that will affect how people perceive you. If you take away any “beautiful womans” makeup and self confidence then she will not be perceived as beautiful anymore. Of course love has a way of bringing the beauty out of a girl. So even if a girl is makeup less and has low self confidence then her man will still see her beauty.
    There have been several people that have tried to get me into modeling but I have always told them that I have the “ideal body”and I do not want to encourage other children or women to give in to this idea that skinny is the way to be. That just happens to be my body type. I would love to see some full figured (healthy) women on our magazine covers and movies and TV shows.
    Please, girls out there stop listening to what everyone else thinks (except me). I am happier with this mentality than I have ever been.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    I think these body facts are very annoying. A girl is beautiful when she is curvy and so is skinny. A girl and a boy as well is beautiful no matter what the looks everyone!
    The truth is, famous people are skinny (or at least hide their fat) because they do not want to show any fat and be criticized for it. In real life, women should not follow celebrities, because celebrities are meerly hiding their fat.
    And yeah..

  17. Anonymous Says:

    Marilyn was a vintage size 16 – equal to a modern day size UK 12.

  18. vera Says:

    the problem now is only a very few people are naturally skinny, movie stars work out everyday for a couple of hours and are on a strict diet. The problem is today is that there is difference to be a little chubby, chunky and obes. Obes should never be promoted and skinny shouldn’t be either because both are unhealthy. I think in order to fix it is by showing different body shape in the media that way people can choose who they think is beautiful instead of choosing what they think is beautiful because the media thinks that is beautiful.

  19. Anonymous Says:


  20. Berneda Gilmore Says:

    I was very interested in your analysis, but I can’t blame this on Twiggy. That was just how she was shaped. I resent that women aren’t allowed to be all sizes like men. You think a male 42 long dreams of being a male 34 short. Not likely. Women come in all shapes and sizes and it’s time someone recognized that. Things are getting out of hand when a size four is fat because she isn’t a size zero.

  21. K. Says:

    Besides the cultural influences there also seems to be a quite important influence of food. The feeling of hungre has a significant effect on what men find attractive. If a man feels hungry more often he begins to prefere bigger women. I don’t no exactly why this change in sexual behavior occurs, you should search the research on internet.

  22. sweeet Says:

    wery interesting

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