‘Gaining flesh’?

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  • #3117

    Augustine23623
    Participant

    I have noticed in several advertisements and writings from around the beginning of the 20th century (ca. 1880-1910) the phenomenon of ‘gaining flesh,’ as though it is a positive thing. One health resort of the era promised its guests that ‘you will gain health and flesh.’ In modern-day America, of course, the object is usually to lose weight, not gain it. I know that the normal-sized man or woman of 1900 would appear diminutive and slender by today’s standards (this due to different standards of nutrition from childhood on), but was undernourishment so common that gaining weight was actually seen as a GOOD thing?

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    Name : Augustine23623, Gender : M, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 41, City : Columbia, State : SC Country : United States, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #25003

    A.R.
    Member

    Body size ideals are fashion…the fact that we think thin is the ideal is simply the fashion of the time. As you’ve read, it hasn’t always been. A lot of it has to do with wealth and class. In earlier times, people attached leeches to their bodies to be whiter. Only people who worked in the fields and toiled for their meager wages were tan. It’s the opposite now, as being tan implies time to spend on tanning or vacationing in warmer climates. The same with thin/fat. If you had money, you could eat more and therefor be plumper than a thin person who didn’t have as much money and worked off what they did eat. Now, if you’re thin, it may be a sign that you can afford both the money and the time to spend at a gym or personal trainer. I’m generalizing a bit here…but that is one reason for the differernce in body ideal fashion. Of course, today we are taking it to extremes and making fat people feel like criminals for possessing a body that isn’t the national idea. It’s a sick society and I almost wish we could bring back an earlier time.

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    Name : A.R., Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Humanist, Age : 30, City : Astoria, State : NY Country : United States, Occupation : Actor, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, 
    #25856

    Wayne C.
    Member

    I’m not sure, but I believe there was a different standard of beauty. Especially since 1970, the standard of beauty in the US has increasingly emphasised thinness and a lack of female curves (except the breasts). There has some change in this recently I believe, but not much. It seems that in less prosperous societies (and the US was less prosperous in 1900 than in 2002, though still prosperous)the additional flesh is seen as attractive — probably because it is associated with wealth.

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    Name : Wayne C., Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Black/African American, Religion : Baptist, Age : 41, City : Parsippany, State : NJ Country : United States, Occupation : Marketing, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, 
    #39413

    Rick29880
    Participant

    I think that undernourishment was common enough that most people were familiar with its effects firsthand. Combine that with ignorance of the ill effects of being overweight and the result is what you have observed.

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    Name : Rick29880, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Atheist, City : Springfield, State : OH Country : United States, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, 
    #37626

    K-A-Markon
    Participant

    Preference for fatness or thinness is mainly culture-based and has a lot to do with economic conditions. Where there is not a lot of food to go around, a plump body may be preferred over a slender body. During the early part of this century, a lot more people died of malnutrion and starvation than from overeating. Today things are just the opposite. In those days, plumpness would be a sign of economic success – a sign that one could eat all they needed and did not have to do a lot of bone-breaking labor. Today plumpness would be seen as a sign that one had to eat a lot of cheap, high-carbohydrate food and could not afford membership in a health club. I don’t believe, however, that an extremely obese body would have been seen as attractive at that time, either.

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    Name : K-A-Markon, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : American Indian, City : Superior, State : WI Country : United States, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, 
    #36163

    M.K.
    Participant

    I agree with the assessment of culture-specifity. However, attractiveness IS in the eye of the beholder. And pots of cash is a tur-on in anybody’s books.

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    Name : M.K., Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Agnostic, Age : 31, City : Sydney, State : NA Country : Australia, Education level : Technical School, 
    #36694

    manaman
    Member

    Buda was depicted as a fat happy guy because only wealthy, healthy and intelligent (the last one generally precluding the first two) people could become fat and happy. Until very recently this has been true regardless of your nationality. There are still certain isolated (non Americanized) cultures in the world where obesity is desired and is seen as a symbol of health and affluence.

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    Name : manaman, Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Bisexual, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 28, City : seattle, State : WA Country : United States, Occupation : software test engineer, Education level : High School Diploma, Social class : Middle class, 
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