Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thursday Thoughts... And A Giveaway!

So usually I try to give you three thoughts from my head, but I'm grappling with one that has me quite perplexed at the moment. This week you just get one big thought, and I want your feedback and musings in return.

1) We know that it used to be considered attractive for women to be a bit plump, all you have to do is look at historical art to know that fat chicks used to be all the rage. I've been told this is because having some extra pounds was a sign of wealth and health. Of course we can all have a big discussion about how looking like you might die any second has become all the rage (although I sense the pendulum swinging back... oh please, let the healthy Cindy Crawford look come back in), but I'd rather talk about something else.

Men's bodies.

Actually - the historicity of men's bodies.

Here's what happened that made my thought gears click. I was watching a random movie set in a historical time and Mr. Dude Man was totally buff. And sure, he looked great in his breeches and all that, but I had to think... were guys really built like that back then? I mean... honestly.

My thoughts - anybody who was wealthy and healthy probably didn't do a lot of physical labor. Sure, some leisure sports might have kept the protein-fed in some semblance of shape, but not the finely-cut look that we're told is attractive these days.

Anybody who wasn't wealthy and healthy probably didn't have a fantastic diet. Men that had high labor jobs probably didn't have huge amounts of muscle-building protein in their everyday fare so what are the chances of them having bulging muscles? Furthermore - even those who did do a lot of physical labor - for example, a blacksmith - probably had one set of big muscles, but that's it. In this case I'm seeing a dude with great arms from manning the forge all day but a little paunchy and with chicken legs, because it's not like he's going for a five mile run after work to make sure he's well-honed all around.

So I have to wonder - did anybody (aside from The Strong Man at the circus tent) look like this dubious cinema god in breeches back then? Are we being fed 21st century sexuality along with a dash of our history lesson when we watch a movie like this?

What was considered hot for dudes, historically?

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7 comments:

1000th.monkey said...

Well, depending on the country, and the *historic* time-period I suppose... as one example off the top of my very tired head, the Industrial Revolution certainly changed things significantly, so there would probably me a marked difference before/after for those who worked jobs in the cities vs. farmers.

Debra McKellan said...

Yeah, I imagine men who had active jobs were probably buffer than Mr. Darcy, but probably not ripped. lol

mfantaliswrites said...

You are pretty much right on. Rich men padded all parts of their clothes (even calves!) to get the look of a manly shape without doing any real work. According to "Regency House," they did all kinds of ridiculous things like throwing logs to try to burn off their huge meals and get good shoulders. Fun thing to think about for a change of pace!

Derrick Camardo said...

Yeah, but look at old school statues. Zeus is pretty buff.

Not saying the movie is realistic, it's all fantasy. All art has that kind of fantasy element. And you can see the artist's perception of beauty. Look at Eve from Michelangelo's work. Look at his men. You can see that masculine qualities were attractive to him even on women.

Whereas, some artists have portrayed men with feminine qualities.

But again, all these paintings and even modern pictures/movies are fantasy. The reason we can attach to them so easily is because we can interact with art without it interacting with us.

I can look at a painting of some woman and think she's attractive and my mind can create a good personality for her too. I can never disappoint her. She can be what I want her to be.

If we attach too hard to these things, it will eat away at our humanity. Because we are now seeing a human as an object and if we ever do that, subconsciously we are seeing ourselves as objects.

No matter how 3-D we make our characters, they can never breach the 4th wall enough to be anything more to us than objects (sorry writers).

I guess my point is that beauty is subjective, and even back then they were creating a subjective fantasy. And we can't attach to hard to that perception.

One day, the random movie will be remade with that present day's fantasy that speaks to the physical attributes the artists of that time make desirable to the masses.

/end rant

Richard Hughes said...

Generally speaking, in the olden days, people were smaller/shorter than they are today. But, I suspect, there was a wide variety of shapes and sizes, just as there is today.

Mindy McGinnis said...

Good thoughts, everyone! I have now created a new goal for myself - build a time machine, figure out who was hot in 1800.

Paula Stewart said...

I received my book and can't wait to start reading it. Thank you!