Today, I decided to dedicate a post to the subject of female-specific physical fitness and cosmetic enhancements. My aim was initially to explore the globalised female ideal, after a few hours of research, however, I find that while there is a trend in the direction of glamor and “bigger is better” type of aesthetic, which draws in a certain kind of woman, it is not necessarily the case baring in mind that some cultures are more feminine oriented in the sense that they do not aggressively encourage physical alterations unless necessary.
I promise that this post will not be too lengthy in text and that there will be some visual depictions on this small exploration of the subject of the ideal female body.
Let us assume that you are active on Instagram or Youtube, if that is the case, then you have seen the popularity of having a big bum, a trend that I have analyzed here . Let us start with just addressing that trend, where did it emerge from?
American IG celebrity and businesswoman Kim Kardashian has been largely responsible for starting the trend of a cosmetically enhanced body, particularly, wider hips and bum achieved by the fat transfer procedure known as the Brazilian Butt Lift.
This is not just about Kim Kardashian, she is just one of many influencers responsible for shaping the bodies and lives of many women. Let us at least start by analysing the most popular trend of 2019, big bums.
As we all know, beauty is a subjective matter, so let us at least try to make some rules in our analysis.
I ask, readers, is big always better in the female body?
We start with three examples of big butts below, let us analyze each.
Is the protrusion of big butt taking away from Kim Kardashian or enhancing her? Let us look at example number 2.
Does Vida Guerra’s butt take away from her? I think it adds to her because it blends in well with the rest of her body, she actually looks way more attractive to me than the first example. We move on to our last example, with Jennifer Lopez as number 3.
While Jennifer Lopez does sport a big butt, I want to bring the attention to the ratio of legs and bum, this small distinction is enough to answer that while her bum is also quite large, it does not necessarily equate to beauty by measure of attraction, it does, however add to her sex appeal, yet it does not distract.
Lopez walks the line better than Kim Kardashian whose butt overpowers her and almost reduces her to a caricature of female form, although I wish it not the case as I preferred her previous body.
So, is big better? I personally would not base my beauty preference on size, I will get to that after we look at our last example. First, let me mention that out of the three examples, I personally prefer fitness model Vida Guerra’s overall shape, ironic as she is the one without the enhancement of heels in he picture.
Our last is example is American fitness model Ashley Kaltwasser in the picture below sports a big butt that works harmoniously with the rest of her body. She also tops Kardashian and Lopez in that her well developed legs are an asset to her large bum, making her body largely congruent with the ideal of strength and beauty, walking a fine line that makes her stand out without overpowering her.
Now to the point of measuring beauty. What criterion can we learn to make body judgments on, if we were inclined to be more objective?
Beauty can simply be measured by symmetry and proportion.
It is safe to say that spending $7,000 on a surgery like a brazilian butt lift will have careful consideration of proportions as surgeons are considerate of “carving out” a feminine frame. So could the reason why Kim Kardashian’s body not appeal to me be because it is over-feminine? Or could it be something else?
Let us analyse previous trends to find out.
Previous Trends: Big Breasts and the hyper-sexualised female body.
Breast Augmentation surgery was initially popularised in the year 1962 and became incredibly popular in the year 2018, with women now asking surgeons to have a “natural look”. This is quite a shift from the previously stereotypical “fake silicone boobs” that were popularised in the porn industry and even Hollywood. What could this shift in female consumer preference mean?
Let us first acknolwedge the force that media has on women’s bodies. Is it any surprise that years after the big breast trend was popular, most women are removing their implants or reducing their cup size? Is the industry friendly towards women with low self esteem?
“LOW SELF-ESTEEM IS OFTEN THE FORCE THAT DRIVES PEOPLE TO THE OPERATING TABLE OF THEIR OWN VOLITION”(dazeddigital.com,2019)
Could this same shift be apparent in butt augmentation surgery? Could surgeons be trying to walk the fine line that bodybuilders and fitness models work hard to master? Women try to be “natural” yet many choose to hyper-feminize themselves, or on the other end, masculinize themselves, in order to stand out. This call to bring attention through the physical is what could be globalised, as collectivist-identifying Lebanese women and men, for example, are now opting for more body-related cosmetic enhancements than ever. This is more of a characteristic of an individualist society like the United States.
The dance with American fitness model Paige Hathaway here is not between “too much silicone” or largeness. Ironic by the way as the lexicon is often used to scare women from weight lifting, “do not get too big” is the phrase of choice in this particular dialogue. Is it part of a polarising narrative in assessing female beauty?
It may perhaps be for a good reason as it encourages subtlety, a force that could be a factor in assessing attraction and beauty. As an avid fitness freak myself, I chose to see her choice to increase attractiveness through physical fitness in the way that she has perfect. I do not see a cry for help in her choice of body alterations even if looking this way is what she does for a living.
Hathaway has chosen where to add muscle tone and just how much, I think she even has the symmetry and proportion factor down to a tee, in addition to having a healthy waist to hip ratio, she looks so healthy.
Beauty Ideal: Female fertility indicator; Waist to Hip Ratio
Specifically, a waist-to-hip ratio ranging from 0.6 to 0.7 are highly attractive to males as it represents fertility and reproduction.
In conclusion, could subtlety be an indicator of beauty on top of fertility, symmetry, proportion and culture? This seems to be an important factor in what men and women seek when making physical alterations, while there is not way to test the validity of this, it could be a factor. Or could it just be the media’s influence in shaping beauty ideals?
Media and Culture
As we have noticed, most of the images are of famous and beautiful American women. What is to be said about the relationship between global beauty trends and the United States? Well, we can thank Hollywood for most of the trends which include the Brazilian Butt Lift and Big Breasts. I would even go as far as to attribute the fitness wave to the likes of exposure of the American lifestyle on Instagram which includes exercise, and an emphasis on wellness.
Needless to say, after my visual analysis of the female body, I start to think as physical alterations as more of an art and less of a destination. I hope that this translates to you as you read this.