When we investigate the creation of the first ideal body form, we need to go back to the times of Pythagoras, who scaled the earth with numbers and ratios in ancient Greek philosophy. Pythagoras, who is the inventor of the concept of ‘ratio’, advocated the idea that physical education is required to be accompanied by live music. According to the tradition of Plato, the smoothest triangles have been allocated for the production of the mortal body. The Middle Ages was probably the period, during which the human body was undervalued the most. Moreover, Gregorius the Great mentioned about the body by saying “that hideous garment of the soul”. The body was something constantly abased in the ascetic practices of medieval monks, who were adopted as a role model by medieval people. In the Renaissance period, different ideal bod forms were obtained as a result of the measurements of the god and goddess sculptures from the ancient period. Those measurements covered the estimations of the ideal dimensions and ratios of all body parts; from the arm lengths to waist girth, and from the measurement of feet to the ratio of the face to the body. In that period, the harmony of the whole body within its own structure was considered to me more important, as an approach beyond a simple weight and height calculation.
“Our bodies are where we are most ourselves and where our individual differences are most apparent.” (Fiske, 1991)
What is the danger that may come from the body, and what is the place that the body’s strength comes? So, what is the body?
Body is a human who both produces and destroys. It is both a woman who gives birth, and a soldier who kills. It is sometimes the prison of the soul, and sometimes the concrete symbol of freedom. It is both beautiful and ugly. It is me in the mirror.
Body is “the beauty that evokes admiration and pulls millions of people toward it”
Beauty is not only a quality that rouses the emotion, enthusiasm, and the sense of liking, but is also something that evokes admiration with also its spiritual and moral aspects. In daily life practice of this century, the concept of ‘beauty’ became something tangible; and its meaning became limited to the physical body, far from being something mentioned together with the concepts of thought, morality, and kindness.
In the modern world, beauty completely got out of being a social norm and culture indicator, and turned into a giant industry. Today, the fact that gender reassignment has been possible with the developments in plastic surgery urges us to think about the nature and limits of the body, besides thinking about only the concept of beauty. Piercing, tattoo, clothing, cosmetics, jewelry, aesthetic operations have a series of meanings. This physical designs having transiency or continuity are used to manifest the genders, statuses, lifestyles, interests, roles, and other personality characteristics of individuals.
There is a woman type presented in the media as a woman role model in terms of beauty and consumption patterns. A type of woman who dresses up smartly, takes good care of herself, uses certain brands, and remains within certain physical limits is described. And the media repeats this. Of course, this is something unnatural; in other words, if today all the media and big companies that determine consumption patterns come together and say “as from now, we will describe women 145 cm tall and weighed 60 kg as beautiful women”, and if we all repeat this for a period of 40 years, it will become the description of beauty. The thing described as beautiful by society turns into beauty.
If we classify the woman’s body in general, two different types of body come into the picture as androgen and estrogen types of bodies. In androgen type bodies, the legs are thin and free from cellulite; the buttocks are small and a little bit flat; and an excess layer of fat on the buttocks, an obvious reduction in the waist concavity; and a dome-like structure on the upper part of the belly are observed. In estrogen type women, also defined as the Mediterranean type women; narrower shoulders, smaller breasts, a thin waist, wide buttock, and sagging skin that tends to have cellulite are observed.