Ideal Body Types Throughout History

There is no “ideal” body type. That’s my biggest takeaway from Buzzfeed's recent “Ideal Body Types Throughout History” video. From those of Ancient Egypt to the modern day, the body types featured in the video explore what is actually a small range of women's body types. We go from slender shoulders and a high waist in Ancient Egypt to the rounded stomach and full hips of the Italian Renaissance to the flat chested, boyish figure of the '20s to today's ubiquitous (on Instagram, anyway) thigh gaps.

If there’s anything to be learned from this video, it’s that the whims and fancies of society are just that: whims and fancies. And make no mistake, when I say “society,” I mean men. Because historically, and sadly, currently, men are often the determining factor when it comes to how women view their bodies. Even if women ultimately make the fashion and body shape decisions, they are swayed by what they think is more appealing to men. This has resulted in some various forms of body modifications throughout the ages, from tight corsets in the Victorian age to some forms of present-day plastic surgery.

But this video gives us another peek into how past societies thought. For instance, the little tidbit about Ancient Greek society considering women to be "disfigured" versions of men is kind of hilarious — although it probably wasn't funny to Greek women at the time. I’m also curious about what the male version of ideal body types throughout the ages would look like. I wonder what era Jake Gyllenhaal would fit in with.

Image: BuzzfeedVideo Screengrab/Youtube