Temporal changes in anthropometric measurements of idealized females and young women in general

Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, Jessica Murray, Yvette R. Schlussel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


This study examined the temporal anthropometric changes in idealized female body images in the media (i.e., Playboy magazine Playmates of the Year, Miss America Pageant Winners, and Fashion Models) and Young Women in general across eight decades. Overall, all anthropometric measures differed significantly over time. Body mass index (BMI) for all women in the idealized groups tended to decline significantly over time, while the BMI for Young Women increased significantly. Models tended to have the smallest bust and hips, Playmates the largest bust, and Young Women in general the largest waist and hips. The general trend for all groups was to move from a less curvaceous body shape in the early part of the twentieth century to a more curvaceous shape at mid-century and returning to a less curvaceous shape at the end of the century. Idealized women have a body size unlike that of Young Women and the chasm between the media-defined ideal and reality is continuing to diverge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-30
Number of pages18
JournalWomen and Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 5 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


  • Body image
  • Idealized beauty
  • Media
  • Women

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