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Old 12th June 2006   #1
M. Lopez
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Join Date: August 2005
Posts: 587
Default ''The good old days''

I came across an article today that was so positive, that it seemed like it was taken right from this forum.

The reporter describes finding an ad from a woman's magazine of the 1930s, and states how amazed she was that this ad advocated becoming fuller figured, not skinnier, to improve in the beauty department.

The ad contains inspiring cut lines such as:

“Now there’s no need to have people calling you ‘skinny,’ and losing all your chances of making and keeping friends. Here’s a new, easy treatment that is giving thousands healthy flesh and attractive curves — in just a few weeks!”


and even better:

“Day after day, as you take Ironized Yeast, watch ugly, gawky angles fill out, flat chests develop, and skinny arms and legs round out attractively."


The newspaper even posted a picture with the story. And although the curvier image is still on the thin side, it's revealing to see that the dreaded SKINNY image - the one that the ad wants to help women avoid - looks just like a modern straight-size model:



It's especially nice to hear the reporter herself expressing the same preference for the plus-size look as the ad that she describes.

The link to the article is here:

http://wvgazette.com/section/Columns/2006060849

or if it asks you to register, here's the link to the "printer" version:

http://wvgazette.com/webtools/print/Columns/2006060849

but I've posted most of the text below:


.................................................


Oh, for the days when plump was pleasing

June 11, 2006
Karin Fuller


Now I know why they’re referred to as “The Good Old Days.”

While cleaning house recently, I ran across an issue of Woman’s World from November 1933. (And no, smart aleck, it hasn’t been that long since the last time I cleaned.) Of course, such a find called for an immediate break from my work so I could peruse the pages, and upon doing so, I ran across the following ad:

“Special quick way to put pounds on fast!”

Huh? People actually once wanted to do that? I read on.

“Now there’s no need to have people calling you ‘skinny,’ and losing all your chances of making and keeping friends. Here’s a new, easy treatment that is giving thousands healthy flesh and attractive curves — in just a few weeks!”

The clever copywriter continued. “Day after day, as you take Ironized Yeast, watch ugly, gawky angles fill out, flat chests develop, and skinny arms and legs round out attractively. Life becomes a thrilling adventure.”

And then the tone turned grave. “Skinniness is a serious danger. Authorities warn that skinny, anemic, nervous people are far more liable to serious infections and fatal wasting disease than the strong, well-built person. So begin at once to get back the rich blood and healthy flesh you need. Do it before it is too late!”

Instead of being ahead of my time, I now realize I’m way behind it instead. My day came and went long before I was here to enjoy it. Back then, I’d have been the picture of robust health. A model of physical perfection. Why, oh why, wasn’t I born in a time when hipbones were meant to be pleasingly padded instead of protruding?

Reading that ad made me wonder when and why our society’s perception of beauty had changed. I have an old picture in my house showing a long row of — by 1930s standards — bathing beauties. By today’s standards, many in that picture would be considered at least 20 pounds overweight.

In paintings from the 19th century, beautiful women were full-figured. Rubenesque. Even into the 50s, celebrities were curvaceous. Now, the “beauties” are emaciated, sharp-boned. Calista-Flockhart-esque.

That ad from 1933 warned that “skinniness is a serious danger.” I wonder if perhaps it wasn’t the perceived danger of thinness that ended up creating the allure...

The public, in their desperation to be just like their gaunt role models, began dieting and exercising to excess. Somehow, skinny became synonymous with healthy, and the women whose figures once would’ve been considered appealingly shapely came to be viewed as rotund. Instead of hearing how pretty they were, they began being told how pretty they could be.

Thankfully, a few celebrities have entered the scene who don’t fit the past few decades idea of standard beauty. There’s no denying that Queen Latifah is anything less than gorgeous, or that Kate Winslet isn’t as glamorous as one of the many starved-looking waifs with coat-hanger collarbones...
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Old 12th June 2006   #2
Emily
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Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 517
Default Re: ''The good old days''

It's interesting to see this reporter discover that the "good old days" really were "good" -- and in some ways, even better than modern times, especially in the areas of femininity and beauty. I wonder if the writer will make an intellectual leap and consider other ways in which the "old days" were better as well.

Everything about the article (and the ad that the reporter described) pleased me, but this excerpt really caught my notice:

Quote:
Originally Posted by M. Lopez
And then the tone turned grave. "Skinniness is a serious danger. Authorities warn that skinny, anemic, nervous people are far more liable to serious infections and fatal wasting disease than the strong, well-built person. So begin at once to get back the rich blood and healthy flesh you need. Do it before it is too late!”
This underscores how ludicrous today's fear-mongering about weight "epidemics" really is. In another time, being underweight was understood to be the real health threat -- and that makes a lot more sense than present-day fretting over women's naturally healthy appetites.

And considering the prevalence of eating disorders among young girls today, I think this ad's warning is extremely timely. Pointing out that "skinniness is a serious danger" may have simply been good marketing back in the 1930s, but today, the "health threat" of self-starvation is all too real.

Fortunately, the solution isn't anything as arcane as "Ironized Yeast," or whatever the ad was selling; just nature's own method of beauty enhancement: food.
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Old 12th June 2006   #3
HSG
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Join Date: July 2005
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Default Re: ''The good old days''


The ad that the reporter describes is similar to a 19th-century promotional poster that came up for discussion on our previous forum. That 1890s promo likewise inverted the aesthetic values of the present day, and encouraged women to develop fuller figures, precisely in order to appear more beautiful.

We titled our discussion of that 19th-century poster "Advertising in the alternative reality"--the point being that it is our modern world, with its unnatural fetish for thinness, that actually constitutes an "alternative reality," whereas both the 1890s promo and the reporter's ad (both of which assume a universal preference for the fuller female figure) represent a truer reality, one more in tune with the essential ideal of feminine beauty.

The fact that this reporter was so elated to discover an expression of the historic preference for full-figured beauty is not surprising. Our Web project continually references the aesthetic tastes of every age prior to our own, precisely in order to prompt readers to think outside the box of modern media culture, to burst the bubble of perception in which we all live, and to compare the aesthetic values of the past with those of the present, in favour of the former.

But when this reporter writes:

Instead of being ahead of my time, I now realize I'm way behind it instead. My day came and went long before I was here to enjoy it. Back then, I'd have been the picture of robust health. A model of physical perfection.

what she should actually recognize is that she is the "picture of robust health," and "a model of physical perfection"--not "back then," but right now--today--this minute. The essential ideal of beauty has not changed in the intervening years. Society merely no longer recognizes it. Because what has changed between then and now is that mass-media influence on popular culture has proliferated, and has warped society's standards of appearance. But true beauty itself remains unaltered.

Furthermore, the reporter should realize that she is neither "ahead of [her] time," nor "behind it," but is living in precisely the correct time, for the natural ideal can be restored--through her efforts, and the efforts of all those who still recognize true beauty. The better world of the past can be brought back to life, and can exist once more, in the present day. It was the human will that gave birth to this timeless ideal, and the human will can recover it once more.

Christina Schmidt, "a model of physical perfection" (of the past, the present, and the future):

- Source of the above image

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