Culture & Technology

Understanding Beauty – Beauty Standards in Time

modern beauty

Body and beauty standards are always shifting. Not only do they vary across culture, but they also tend to change over time. Keep reading to delve into the evolution of beauty standards through the decades.


ancient egypt beauty standards close up egyptian statue

egypt ancient paintings woman dancers performin a dance


Ancient Egypt

The ideal woman in ancient Egypt (1292-1069 B.C.) was slender. She had a high waist, narrow shoulders, as well an asymmetrical face. It was ok for Egyptian women to be independent, to have premarital sex and divorce their husbands without negative consequences.



beauty in ancient greece marble sttaue close up in amuseum


Ancient Greece

According to ancient Greek beauty standards (500-300 B.C.), the ideal woman should have light skin, as well as a plump body. It is interesting to mention that ancient Greek society placed less importance on female beauty. This is so because people perceived women’s bodies as ‘disfigured’ versions of men’s ones.
In ancient Greece, male physical beauty was a sign of a good character. However, being a beautiful woman spelt trouble. This was so because an attractive woman (i.e., Helen of Troy) could easily turn into a weapon of mass destruction.


ancient china beauty standards colorful art women dressed in traditional clothes


Ancient China

For centuries, Chinese people have been favouring ultra-feminine pale women who have small feet, large eyes and a slim waist. Beauty standards during the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – 220 A.C.) also included white teeth, red lips and long black hair.


Italian renessaince woemn dancing standards of beauty in Italy


Italian Renaissance

According to Italian Renaissance beauty standards (1400-1700), the ideal woman has light skin, light hair and a full body. The most important wife’s duty during that historical period was to reflect her husband’s status. This referred both to outward appearance and behaviour. Therefore, Renaissance women had round stomachs and full hips.


victorian england woman in front of a mirror applying make up with a large dress


Victorian England

The feminine beauty ideal has kept on significantly changing in the last centuries, too. In Victorian England (1837-1901) the ideal woman had a full figure and was desirably plump. Nevertheless, women also used to cinch their waists with tight corsets so they could look like an hourglass.


women beauty women in dresses walking with parasoles and hats on a street


20th and 21st Century

In the 1920s women often shortened their hair and flattened their chest in order to achieve an androgynous look. Yet, in the Golden Age of Hollywood (1930-1950) the ideal woman had rather large breasts, curves and a slim waist.
Next, in the Swinging Sixties, most people favoured a thin teenage body look. On the other hand, the Supermodel Era (the 1980s) was all about exercise and being fit, not only slim.


three women in dresses with beautiful hairstyles retro photography


Later on, the ideal body type in the Heroin Chic Era (the 1990s) was once again androgynous, frail and extremely thin. Nevertheless, Postmodern beauty now is all about being healthy skinny and having a flat stomach and large bust.


modern beauty standards woman in colorful shirt and heavy make up looking straight


As you can see, there have been significant changes in beauty standards over time. We hope that this will act as a valuable reminder that our self-esteem should not depend on temporary beauty standards.


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