The 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.