Monday, September 14, 2015

The Hourglass War

To many people in today's world, the "hourglass figure" is almost mythical.  Since the 1960s with waif-like girls such as Audrey Hepburn and Twiggy have started to become the fashion norm.  Since those times, there has been a bit of a war on the hourglass figure from waif-like women and fat women.  It's now moved to use the term "curvy" to be equivalent to "fat".  Are fat girls curvy?  convex maybe, but I don't believe they are curvy in the sense that they want to be.

The basic definition of a hourglass figure is: "A body shape where the bust and hips are the same or are almost the same size with a well-defined waist approximately 10-inches smaller than the bust/hips."

In the vintage world, the hourglass figure is revered as ideal.  Women try to achieve it by using the proper undergarments such as a bullet bra, shapewear, and corsets/waist cinchers.  As a bonus, this also helps to prevent chub rub, a loose belly, and other little issues like that.

Other body shapes are not awful, I'm just not focusing on them with this article.

Did you know that women used to compete for the best hourglass figure?  That was a thing.  I'm sure now that it would have such a harsh backlash that it would be scratched before it even started.  In all honesty though, the hourglass figure only represents around 8% of the current population, while in the 1950's it was higher at 14-16%.

In the 1960s, when the ideal body shape changed from the hourglass to the banana, women with busts and hips were seen as outdated or overweight.  This also happened in the 1920s, 1990s, and 2000s.
Below: 1920s, 1960s, and 2000s.  The rectangle/banana figure.

Can you be thin and still be curvy?  Why yes, you can be.  I'd like to point to modern actresses like Scarlett Johanssen and Selma Hayek.  These women are gorgeous, curvy, and stay very trim.  It's silly to think that you have to be overweight to be curvy.  Thinking like that sounds like an accident waiting to happen - like a heart attack.

The other figures that you probably know are the rectangle/banana (currently makes up about 51% of womanly figures), the spoon/pear (currently makes up about 23% of womanly figures), and the inverted triangle/apple (currently makes up about 18% of womanly figures).

When I was in middle school, my mom and one of my aunts started getting into the Dr.Abravanel's Body Types.  It's based on which gland functions more than the others to regulate body shape.  It works for men and women.  With this system it categorizes you by your glands: gonadal, thyroidal, adrenal, and pituitary.  It focuses on eating right based on glandular output.  It's interesting.

Do I think that diet can alter appearance?  I sure do.  I don't think it will get you big boobs or a uniquely small waist, but it will benefit you to the best of your natural abilities.  I should point out that in several Asian areas that have been modern for a while (as opposed to say - rural China), the use of soy is so prominent that it has physically altered the people.  Men and women tend to look more like each other for one simple reason.  Soy contains isoflavones which mimics estrogen and increases the amount of estrogen produced.

I want to bring up fat women again.

Let me say that I am 5'-3", my dress size is 12/14, pants size 8, and with my weight-lifting I'm in the 180 lbs range last I checked.  I tend to buy Sm/Med clothing, but I still feel like a bigger person.  I was comfortable when my pants size was down around size 4.  With that being said, I have felt pressure from people larger and smaller than me about body issues.  I've been criticized by a lot of people.  My little sister (she's 5'-9 3/4" tall and is very much a banana body) thinks my vintage/retro style is a little daunting.  She like MCM stylings, but prefers ultra low cut jeans, tall boots, tunics with leggings, scarves, and athletic wear as day wear.  Pretty typical modern woman.  Most people believe she's thinner than me because she's taller and wears more skin tight clothing (yoga pants, leggings, etc), regardless to the fact that I believe she wears pants size 8/10 (we're close).

I've had large women tell me that working out is ridiculous and that I obviously don't love myself and how I appear.  I have also had skinny girls tell me that I need to workout more, stop being so lazy, and eat better.  It doesn't help that in today's society it seems like everything is "skinny cut".

I want to take a moment to reflect on my personal size.  I love having big boobs.  Right now I'm wearing a 36DD bullet bra.  I love having big hips and a small, but high natural waist.  I feel hefty at a pant size 8.  I felt pretty comfortable with myself when I was down to a size 4.  I was super active, very much a big follower of the paleo diet (unlike last night when I scarfed down two cookies), and my attitude was a bit more positive regarding myself.  I will admit that I get disgusted by fat.  NOT FAT PEOPLE.  The person can be awesome.  I just get disgusted by their fat.  Two separate things.  I realize that it's strange and I don't think I've actually told anyone about it.  So, surprise internet, you're the first to know.

A good self exercise is to reflect on how you feel with your size and appearance.  Are you happy with how you appear?  Do you want to slim down or tone up or put on 10 lbs to look healthier?  Do a self-assessment.  Know what you want to have happen to your body.  Does weight matter to you or do you regulate yourself more by pant size?

Why has society deemed it okay to start calling fat people "curvy?"  I've had people jump on my case about my use of the word "convex", but it literally means "an outward curve" which can be a descriptor for fat people.

Do you think there is a war on the hourglass figure?  Tell me about your body issues.


  1. I do think that there's a war on body shape standards in general. I myself am hourglass shape and plus size size (22/24). I have always been hourglass shaped even when I was younger and thinner. I'm perfectly fine with the way that I look. Now my best friend, she's rectangle in shape. People who don't really know her think she spends hours working out. What people do realize is that she has a very rare form a cancer that affects certain parts of her body. For her, working out has the potential to give her a heart attack and die. She has a very small stomach because of her cancer, so she can't eat much which means she doesn't really gain weight. Her doctors were concerned when she was pregnant 3 years ago because she wasn't gaining enough weight. The only way you could tell that she was pregnant was by her belly and even when she left the hospital, she wore her size 3 jeans(her "fat" jeans) out. She hates the way she looks. I know her well enough to know that she looks sick to me. Every time I talk to her, my second question ( since my first is, "How are you?") to her is, "Have you eaten today?". I still believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Everyone is beautiful no matter what shape or size you are. Everyone should love themselves and not worry about what society thinks. :D

  2. I love corsets. They’re so great for posture. Mary Montoya


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