Get access

Body weight and beauty: the changing face of the ideal female body weight


Professor P Pozzilli, Department of Endocrinology & Diabetes, University Campus Bio-Medico of Rome, Via Álvaro del Portillo 21 – 00128, Rome, Italy. E-mail:


By observing the art of different eras, as well as the more recent existence of the media, it is obvious that there have been dramatic changes in what is considered a beautiful body. The ideal of female beauty has shifted from a symbol of fertility to one of mathematically calculated proportions. It has taken the form of an image responding to men's sexual desires. Nowadays there seems to be a tendency towards the destruction of the feminine, as androgynous fashion and appearance dominate our culture. The metamorphosis of the ideal woman follows the shifting role of women in society from mother and mistress to a career-orientated individual. Her depiction by artists across the centuries reveals this change in role and appearance that should be interpreted within the social and historical context of each era with its own theories of what constituted the ideal female body weight.