Using your prescribed reading by Comar, choose three historical examples of the ideal body and discuss them. To what extent are they relevant today, in your opinion?
Over the past centuries the ideal way of what beauty is has changed what was seen as beautiful then is not the same as what we see it now. One of the three historical examples of the ideal body as discussed by Comar is from the Ancient Egyptians, Ancient Greeks and Renaissance Europe and how they ‘measured’ beauty.
Egyptians focus was merely on what is permanent and eternal in human beings showing that the way they were depicted was in preparation for the afterlife. Their showed an unequal body making it really difficult to see it as realistic as nothing really was proportioned to each other and the Ancient Greeks focused more on the human figure and how there are one with the universe and unlike the Egyptians it depicts a more natural and asymmetrical form their ideal body was similar to a soldiers body everything was in order because that is what a solider gives off from his posture to his outside appearance (Comar P. 1999)
The Renaissance in a way incorporated what they believed was the ideal form to what the Greeks saw as their ideal form they believed that the human body belonged to the world of senses they used architecture to describe or show the ideal human body (Comar P. 1999)
Today history is incorporated with the present in film we see the use of the Golden ratio as it provides a spiral and almost rectangular pattern that reflects a pattern found in nature and when it is used by cinematographers it can create powerful composition resulting to a powerful shot it is vital to use the correct composition as it might change the visual effect of the film, showing that history has not entirely been discarded (Livio M. 2003).
The past is incorporated with the present but there is still a difference when it comes to determining the ideal body, nowadays the media plays a huge role in deciding what we perceive as the ideal body and these views change almost every day whereas the few examples above are consistent with their ‘ideal bodies’. The slender frames, flat stomachs and thigh gaps dominate media and those who usually fit or represent this mould are female models and actors this has led to low self-esteems and eating disorders to those who did not fit in this mould but in recent times curvy is the new ‘skinny’ and a lot of women are undergoing breast and rear implants in order to achieve a curvier look.
The relevance that the ideal body type has in our film, both the internal and external construction of men and women’s gender identities as binary and supposedly ‘natural’ complementary pairings opposite’s, heteronormativity sustains and bolsters a gender order where men and women are meant only for each other ( Butler. 1990-2000) this ideology naturalises straight sexual relations and discards homosexuality which shows the inequality that our film is trying to discard and instead promote equality and freedom.
Comar, P. 1999 The human body: Image and Emotion. London: Themes & Hudson pg. 18-30
Dean, J.J.n.d Heterosexuality in Post- closeted culture Chapter 1: Thinking Straight Gender, Race & (Anti) homophobia
Mario, L. 2003 The Golden Ratio: The Story of PHI, the World’s Most Astonishing Number (Broadway Books)