Throughout history there have been many different ideas of what constitutes beauty. Some cultures revered the obese as rich and powerful, while others used height to measure their worth. Across American history, the idea of the perfect body has changed dramatically. Like any other trend, media followed with aggressive versions of what the ideal was at any given time, mostly shown to the public through:
- Movie stars
- Music legends
- Popular toys
In any given era of the male body, you could find examples of it that took it to almost outlandish levels, thus influencing young minds and perpetuating the stereotype of beauty. It has gone through several very distinct changes though, even just in the past 150 years.
Artist Nickolay Lamm, the designer who brought us Lammily dolls, a more life-like response to Barbie and Ken, has recreated the “perfect” body from each era after studying photos and stars from the time in question. While not considering skin color (which explains why they’re all white) he build the 3D models seen below.
In the 1870s, being slightly overweight wasn’t a bad thing – in fact, it meant you were wealthy and powerful.
They even had a “fat man’s club” that spread across the country. You could only join if you were over 200 pounds.
In the early days of cinema, the ideal changed due to the first few Hollywood stars. Angular jaws and a slim physique looked much better on camera, which distorts the human body already.
Actors like Cary Grant, Clark Gable and Gregory Peck were the ideal man. Dark hair, tall with lean bodies and muscle tone.