Oblong TorsoThe hourglass figure, characterized by a waist that is narrower than the width of a woman’s breasts and hips, conjures images of classic Hollywood stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, and Jayne Mansfield.  Today’s A-listers, however, have lost many of their curves, in favor of a more androgynous square or oblong shape.  Marked by rock-hard abs, often fueled by pilates, yoga, and extreme dieting, this ultra-lean body shape, sported by Cameron Diaz (left), Kate Hudson (center), and Gwyneth Paltrow (right), appears to have developed as womens’ fitness has become more focused on strength, often emulating male ideals.

But is this evolution healthy?  According to celebrity personal trainer, James Duigan, founder of London’s exclusive Bodyism gym, “Often a six-pack is not healthy, for women in particular. It’s a biological thing,” he explains. Yet, the fact that not everyone is able achieve this look only makes it more desirable.  “It’s a lot to do with body type, meaning that’s just how it is for some people. For others, no matter how much they exercise, they will retain their waist,” Duigan adds.  So why not embrace the curves a la Jennifer Lopez, Scarlett Johansson, and Christina Hendricks?  Perhaps its backlash from Kim Kardashian-West and Nicki Minaj, whose hyper-curved physiques have almost become cartoonish.

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  1. Ashley says:

    What happened to the hourglass figure? Nothing happened to it. The women who are still able to achieve it have still got it. These ladies simply don’t have that body type. It doesn’t matter what I eat or whether or not I work out, I will never have an hourglass figure. This article was clearly written by a man, and an ignorant one at that. You probably shouldn’t be writing in a field that you know nothing about. Really? You aren’t aware that there are apple-shaped bodies, pear-shaped bodies, etc? Stop harping on women so much to fit your personal ideals. Our bodies are what they are and these women should be proud of what they have achieved, not shamed. Embrace the curves? Shut the hell up. For every Jayne Mansfield back in the day there were 10 women who were too thin or too round to be put up on the damn pedistal. Get a grip.

  2. Robin Bryant says:

    Ashley, you go girl!!! We are women, we come in all shapes. You don’t have to be hourglass to be beautiful! It’s like looking at a great piece of art, you have to take it ALL in.

  3. Peace Love says:

    The fashion industry has changed since so much in the last 50 years that the high streets struggle to cater to every size, shape and taste, therefore, the push is toward a uniform shape toward the one size fits all. We live in a society where the races and the genders are becoming more fluid. The lines between black and white or male and female are disappearing. The only constant is the devide between rich and poor. The author was not judging but seemed to be merely observing this trend. If he should be criticised it should be for his head and not his heart.

  4. Sarah says:

    Ashley – yes – and thank you for educating this ignorant writer. Perfectly said.

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