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The Evolution of the "Ideal Butt" Over the Last Century

November 12, 2015 4 min read

Butts are beautiful, and they've always been a big topic of conversation. But throughout time, they've changed quite a bit. Right now? Big bottoms are in the spotlight. However, the idea of what an "ideal body" entails seems to leave society constantly trying to keep up. Is that really a good thing? While it's important to celebrate the importance curves are having in today's world, it's also necessary to note how well society does at letting us know what is the right body type to have. If you're skinny, something must be wrong with you, and if you're curvy, you're too big. Then there's the issue of race. A woman of colour had never been on the cover of a magazine until Beverly Johnson appeared on Vogue in 1974. People freaked out over Nicki Minaj's cover of "Anaconda" last year, but celebrated the models in thongs gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated. Plain and simple ... it's hard to keep up. What if one day "ideal" simply meant being blessed with the body you were born with? Here are 11 examples of how the "ideal" butt has changed.

1. Big and round in the 1900s

The evolution of the ideal butt.
Thanks to the illustrations of Charles Gibson, the ideal butt in the 1900s was part of the lovely all-over hourglass shape he depicted. The "Gibson Girl" came to be as a result of these images.

2. Flat in the 1920s

The evolution of the ideal butt.
The fashion of Flappers in this decade resulted in flatter rears being the most enviable. Women even wore special bras to flatten out their chests and starved themselves to avoid curves.

3. A little bit of curve in the 1930s

The evolution of the ideal butt. At the beginning of this decade, weight gain tablets were advertised in magazines to aid women in finding their curvaceous bottoms. From the 1930s to the 1950s, calling someone skinny was frowned upon.

4. Stronger physiques in the 1940s

The evolution of the ideal butt.
Stronger bodies became a thing in the early '40s, since women were left to work outside due to their men fighting in WWII. Having an athletic, angular frame was idealized, but when American soldiers came back home in the mid '40s, rounded hips and butts became a thing to give men that womanly welcome home.

5. Super curvy in the 1950s

The evolution of the ideal butt.
Hip and butt pads became a thing in the 1950s, filling up the shelves in stores. The weight gain ads that emerged in the '30s were also very popular. As a result, skinny women were looked down upon. Because of the love for the hourglass figure during this time, boobs and butts were a big deal, but so was having a tiny waist. Marilyn Monroe and Liz Taylor are great examples of the "ideal" shape of this time.

6. Teeny tiny in the 1960s

The evolution of the ideal butt.
Fashion trends like mini skirts emerged during this time and rail skinny frames were in. Twiggy is an example of the type of body that was envied during this era.

7. Fit and just a bit curvy in the 1970s

The evolution of the ideal butt.
The 1970s welcomes Farrah Fawcett. Due to the powerful ladies of "Charlie's Angel" butts were meant to look fit with just a bit of womanly curve to them. Still, the '70s called for lean bodies. Also during this time was the rise of black pride, which resulted in Beverly Johnson landing the cover of Vogue, making history as the first black female to do so.

8.  Extremely fit in the 1980s

The evolution of the ideal butt.
Perhaps it was Jane Fonda and her aerobic videos that led to this, but the 1980s was all about being physically fit, which meant muscular booties were celebrated.

9. Supermodel status in the 1990s

The evolution of the ideal butt.
It didn't matter if they were small and flat or round and big. If there was a supermodel flaunting her backside, it was desirable. There was the heroin chic look of Kate Moss and Elle Macpherson, and the round yet small booties of Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell. It was in the '90s that women of colour got to flaunt their stuff as well. Model Tyra Banks became the first black female on the cover of Sports Illustrated, JLo became envied for her curvy figure, and "Baby Got Back" was all the rage in 1992.

10. Toned and round in the 2000s

The evolution of the ideal butt.
Having booties that were toned and round but not too big was the ideal look in this decade due to the bodies of babes like Britney Spears, Beyonce and Christina Aguilera.

11. Big and round in 2010 to present day

The evolution of the ideal butt.
When you think of Kim Kardashian and Nicki Minaj, their big and round booties might come to mind. Though their behinds may seem unachievable, it's still nice to note that people aren't trying to tuck and tape their stuff into nonexistence like the Flappers did. The big takeaway of all of this, however, is that there is no "ideal" body or butt, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we can learn to love the skin we're in. What are your thoughts on the history of what an ideal butt entails? Source: Bustle

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