Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Rubens has been a very very long time ago

Today, women of good weight are at risk of suffering from depression and anxiety, and few of them may know that once they would have been of supermodel size.

Peter Paul Rubens, a very respected painter of the seventeenth century, knighted by the kings of England and of Spain, loved women of a size that nowadays is labeled as "obese" but then must have been the ideal of female beauty.

But we live in very different times now. Our supermodels are of a size near to starving, and they are on so many billboards, posters and screens that the inner standards of beauty have been changed inevitably. When a normal woman of today looks into a mirror, what she sees is a big difference to that standard. A difference that may make her unhappy.

This has been scientifically proven in a study about youth body weight and depression in later years: More than seven hundred young people of New York have been measured in height and weight back in 1983 and then, three more times during the following twenty years, their mood status has been observed. It came out that girls with the highest body mass index, so-called "obese", have a nearly fourfold risk of major depression and anxiety in their later life, compared to girls with a lower weight. In boys, weight does not play any such role.

Why men and women look differently at weight

Obviously, for men, being fat is much less of a problem than for women. Men are more concerned about the size of their bank accounts, knowing well that not the beautiful but the rich men are seen with the most beautiful women.

For women, even for modern women, beauty is of much more importance than for men. It seems that this is an old biological role model that never will change. But what should change, definitely, is the beauty standard of women. A standard that must be wrong because it throws millions of young, healthy, many of them very beautiful women into depression and anxiety. Why not return to Rubens?

Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/maitri/353290328/

No comments: