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Sunday, 17 July 2011

Stylish approach to Malthus' theory.

"I gained extra half an inch!" is one of the most common exclaims by women all over the world. Popular magazines hire thinner and thinner models for cover photoshoots, well-known designers want extra-slim models for their runways and it is repeated every year. Seems like the slimmer the better for woman to look. But how did we end up with this? Why is it considered that woman can not be pretty if she is not 90-60-90? Who dictates perfect body parameters and when was the turning point in fashion industry? To answer these question let us take a look at common body shapes through a perid of time.

Trends in the 19th century
When discussing body shapes and fashion it is impossible not to talk about Rubens' works of art. Rubens is a baroque painter of the 17th century born in Siegen, Westphalia. The most efficient decade of his career was spent in the studio in Antwerp, Belgium where he drew a portrait of "Infanta Isabella Ciara"(painting is a part of exhibition of Kunsthistorisches museum in Vienna). He is famous for history paintings and landscapes but most importantly world knows him for his breathtaking portraits. It is worth seing the greatest paintings by Rubens in National Gallery (London, UK). Women drawn by Rubens show that being slim was not so fashionable in the 17th century as it became four centuries later. Nevertheless, fat woman was a symbol of healthy life and wealth. 

Trends in the 20th century
Now, lets move on to the very beginning of the 20th century to see the contrast. Models of the 1920s such as Betty Grable, Nita Naldi, Olive Thomas did not show any signs of "extra-slim-fashion-trends". Thirty years later models and style-icons Gina Lollobridgita, Sophia Loren and Marilyn Monroe were not only pin-up for men but also perfect models for women with their "not-thin-shapes". Turning point in industry when parameters changed abruptly was late 1960s. Twiggy was the one with whom all stereotypes about shapes varied and a model of 90-60-90 was created.

How change in parametres is related to the economic theory?

Thomas Robert Malthus was an English Economist of the 19th century. Malthus is one of the most influencial economists in history. He had a great impact on such great figures such as Keynes, Marx and Darwin. He is especially famous for his book "An Essays on the Priciple of Population" where he introduces new theory. According to the theory demand for food increases geometrically( 2,4,8,16,32...) when supply for it can only increase arithmetically( 1,2,3,4,5...) creating shortage of food. Malthus was basically trying to explain that if nothing is changed earth will not be able to supply the demanded amount of food.

Although, now being slim is a way too stylish, if to look more deeply the reason is not fashion but economics. The best way to avoid food shortage was to introduce new idea. Idea that being slim is beautiful. So simple and easy.

17 July, 2011
Istanbul, Turkey

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