The cultural impact of the 'feminine ideal' in the 1950s

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The ‘feminine ideal’ is a term used to describe the model female we should all aspire to according to the mass opinion of how women should appear. I will be exploring and investigating this subject surrounding the 1950’s, and the influence of Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and other icons and what impact they had in terms of the lifestyle of 1950's women as well as the development of design in the 1950's. I will then relate and compare and contrast with the present day and ideas about the development of the future. In the 1950's, magazines, television, books, and films all had many angles of influence over women’s fashion choices. One may argue that the media has also heavily influenced the concept of the ‘ideal’ body for women. In the 1950's, the widespread idea of an 'ideal' body was an 'hour-glass', or 'fuller' figure. This had much to do with the mainstream influence of a very well known American fashion and beauty icon; Marilyn Monroe. If she did not exisit, one may argue that the media may not have encouraged this new idea about women's bodies. Therefore, it is not always the media who are the main influence for our ideas about ourselves, it has a lot to do with certain people, whether they are movie stars, designers or models etc, who make a name for themselves and put themselves on a platform to voice their opinions and share them with the world; if they achieve global acceptance, the mass opinion will therefore change. In terms of body image, Monroe was more than comfortable with the way her body looked, however it took a while for others( e.g, the media, the public domain) to accept this; 'Nevertheless prejudices still exists today and only two decades ago a photograph of Marilyn Monroe in a state of nature was traced with difficulty and expensively suppressed when she became a star, as it was thought such a lavish display of her person would

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