Beauty experts today are realizing that a well defined body can be more attractive, but, thousands of years ago, classical cultures knew women with abs were sexier.
Ever wonder why all those sculptures of Grecian Goddesses have six pack abs?
In recent history, men have been the sex with all the muscles – abs on women were rare. Activity that could result in abdominal development was strictly men’s work or play.
Employment of women was restricted by social convention and only the poorest women worked outside of the home. Still fewer worked at physical labor. The odd exceptions to the rule were acrobats and circus performers, neither of which was a socially respectable occupation.
Until the last century, most women did not participate in sports or outdoor activities that would lead to well toned abs. While housework was backbreaking at times, unless you were out back chopping wood, it did not lead to abdominal development.
If you did get muscles, you couldn’t show them off. There was no one to appreciate them.
The accepted view of attractive feminine appearance had been soft and round since the early Christian Era. Muscles and tans were out. It meant you worked, which wasn’t attractive back then.
Going back 2,000 years to the periods of Classical Greek and Aegean History, artistic depictions often showed strong musculature and women with abs would have been the rule. Young girls were expected to compete athletically against males, on equal terms, and most of that competition was done naked!
They ran, jumped, threw the javelin and discus, and even wrestled. A beautiful female body was well developed and it would have been natural to see women with abs competing in the nude, or semi-nude, with men in their own age group.
Like athletics, labor was more physically demanding, and the kinds of exercise women did resulted in more developed physiques, as well. In general, average people were healthier, and their view of beauty reflected that.
During the Renaissance, many classical themes were revived, but the view of feminine beauty was still drawn from Church convention. Most women were depicted as images of saintliness. Icons that were delicate and divine had flourished for centuries, and all artists found it hard to break with the formula.
Going forward again, 2,000 years to Victorian times, bare skin was not only immodest, it was illegal. Only women of the lowest moral character exposed any part of the body below the neck.
With the invention of the modern bathing suit, women had the first real chance in centuries to participate in athletics that were demanding enough to improve the way they looked. Waists got slimmer, corsets came off, and fashion began to emphasize other areas of the body besides cleavage.
Feminine beauty has had many guises, and after centuries of social manipulation, the ideal feminine form has finally returned to the classical. Women with fit abs and cut muscles are the ideal of what is attractive, again.
For the sake of health and appearance, maybe the current trend can stay around for a while.