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This Is How Male Body Ideals Have Changed Over Time
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History5 years ago

This Is How Male Body Ideals Have Changed Over Time

The ideal male physique of today’s modern man might be all about bulging biceps and rippled six-packs, but as you can see from this fascinating series of images, the ideal body wasn’t always like this.

They were made by a Pittsburgh-based graphic designer and researcher called Nickolay Lamm, who also makes a range of ‘standard human body proportioned‘ Lammily dolls designed to challenge the unrealistic proportions of Mattel’s Barbie. For his latest project, the artist used 3D computer modeling to show how the ideal male body has changed over the last 150 years. Taking into account several variables such as changes in culture and availability of food, and influenced by various images that Lamm collected from each decade he focused on, the results are often surprisingly different from what you might expect.

In the 1870s, for example, wide waists were all the rage because they symbolized wealth and prosperity. There was even a Fat Man’s Club in Connecticut for people who weighed at least 200lbs. However, the club closed down at the turn of the 20th century because public perception about body image began to change, especially with the dawn of Hollywood. Actors had to be lean in order to compensate for the fact that the camera would often make them look bigger than they were, and this trend culminated in the 1960s when skinny became the most desirable body type for men. This all changed again in the 1980s though when the rise in popularity of gyms and health clubs saw the ideal male physique begin to bulk out with muscle. This was also influenced by a growing interest in bodybuilding inspired by actors such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. Scroll down to learn more about how the beauty standards for the male body have changed over time and see what it looks like today. Which one do you prefer? Let us know in the comments below.

More info: Lammily | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

1870s – The Fat Man’s Club

“Today, obesity is often associated with poor economic status, but before people had easy access to food, plump figures were considered attractive because they suggested upper-class status.”

1930s –  The Muscular Mesomorph

Clark Gable

John Wayne

Charles Atlas

1960s – The Lean Rocker

Mick Jagger

John Lennon

“In the 1960s, beautiful bodies hadn’t been very important. Young Americans, and some not-so-young ones, relied on dramatic clothing and masses of hair more than perfect measurements to express individuality and sexuality.” — Lynne Luciano

1980s – The Muscular Man

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Sylvester Stallone

“In the 1970s, instead of being expressed through political activism and protest as in the 1960s, youthfulness would be projected by the body – a body that was as sexy, fit, and lean as an eighteen-year-old’s.” — Lynne Luciano

1990s to present – The Everyman

Brad Pitt

“He looks great, but he’s not massive. He’s just got really good abs, good arms, nice muscle tone, and an alright chest. And that’s what people want: to be lean, have a six-pack…It used to be bodybuilding…but that looks unattainable — you have to take steroids. With physique training, instead of spending ten years trying to build mass, you just get really lean.” — Esquire

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Katie Smith
Community Member
5 years ago

I just like a man who looks like he takes care of himself.

Aurelia Grey
Community Member
5 years ago

I appreciate a man that wears pants/jeans that fit! If they don't, uses a...a...belt! Doesn't have to let the world know what brand of underwear he's wearing! I appreciate a man that knows how to wear aftershave/cologne. If I can smell a man approaching from 10 miles away, yeah, that's a bit f a problem.....

Load More Replies...
djinnjeannie
Community Member
5 years ago

Brad Pitt's cut form in Fight Club is the "everyman"?!? Where and how fast can I get there?

Matleena Korhonen
Community Member
5 years ago

Yeah, talking about impossible beauty standards! How is that "everyman"??

Load More Replies...
Daria B
Community Member
5 years ago

The title is a wee bit misleading (it's not "over the last 150 years" if you skip so many timelines), but the article is interesting and informative otherwise.

Марко Миловић
Community Member
5 years ago

Actually, It's not. Those were the moments when the idea of what is a desirable male body type changed.

Load More Replies...
June Pixeld
Community Member
5 years ago

Interesting to see the timeline though i gotta say some of them arent as much body ideals as much as iconic figures.and their bodies shape&weight were simply the result of their eating habits/lifestyle / health. Like , not everyone was a rockstar or bodybuilder matter how popular a celeb was?

Ivana
Community Member
5 years ago

How is Brad Pitt the "Everyman"? I never see men with that body running around.

Martin
Community Member
5 years ago

My body type has been described as Ewok... where's my body type?? ewok-435-5...258cc9.jpg ewok-435-59892ab258cc9.jpg

Starflower
Community Member
4 years ago

Lol! Short, round and hairy?

Load More Replies...
Pobin Rice
Community Member
5 years ago

Just imagine we did this for women the backlash would be astronomical

Darryl Kerrigan
Community Member
5 years ago

I've seen that article. Victorians in corsets, fuller figures in the 50's, stick thin in the 90's and the Kardashians...

Load More Replies...
Sharon Pemberton
Community Member
5 years ago

There's the body a man gets from going to the gym and working out. And then there's the body a man will get from working (as in hard, physical labor). There's a difference.

DancingToMyself
Community Member
5 years ago

I prefer thin long muscles, like young Jagger, Iggy Pop and Bowie. Brad Pitt is fine in Fight Club. :)

Ivana
Community Member
5 years ago

I started dating my husband because I thought he looked like Jim Morrison from the Doors. Love the thin, lean look on men, not to mention the long hair. The rocker is my favorite body type for men. Plus, they can contort around your body really well making for great snuggling. Bulky men are uncomfortable to curl up with in my opinion, feels like their body is pushing me off of the bed.

Load More Replies...
Rebekah
Community Member
5 years ago

1. If Brad Pitt is "The Everyman", then we don't stand a chance. 2. Young John Wayne. Woooo.

Daniel Losinger
Community Member
5 years ago

The 1960s guy looks like Steve Jobs.

Community Member
5 years ago

Can we go back to the 1870s where it's okay to be overweight :)

June Pixeld
Community Member
5 years ago

Please no. There was no proper dental care and tampons.

Load More Replies...
Peter Hogan
Community Member
4 years ago

So I guess I would be considered "hot" in 1870.

Ann-Marie Lavoie
Community Member
5 years ago

I have an appreciation for all body types. I like guys that are just themselves. They can have muscles or not. It is their personality that gets me more. Make me laugh and you can look like a marshmallow and I'll be fawning over you. My one rule though is that you have to take care of yourself. Hygiene and clean clothes.

RaroaRaroa
Community Member
5 years ago

The lean rocker - the best male body type in my opinion.

Melissa Hanson
Community Member
4 years ago

Am i the only one who is most attracted to the 1930s build?

Kimberly Puchniarz
Community Member
4 years ago

1990's to today? I think not!!

SRAMLNS
Community Member
5 years ago

Everyman because Everyman has a six pack

Angie W.
Community Member
5 years ago

Lean or muscular mesomorph for me. Never liked the other extremes. My hubby is lean, he has the weirdest metabolism as well, can't gain fat easily, I used to count his ribs, but he can get pretty fit very quickly when he excercises. On the other hand, I'm an hourglass and a pringles junkie, I fight to get in my jeans, thankfully he likes my figure, phew...

Melody Paredes
Community Member
5 years ago

Seems like a six pack is kind of hard to achieve. I prefer lean and healthy men. Height is not too important as long as they feel confident.

hyenacub
Community Member
5 years ago

Looks like we're back to the 40s.

Susan Ho
Community Member
5 years ago

like the present...

The Archer Frog
Community Member
5 years ago

I just want a guy who likes reptiles and herpetology

Sam Raleigh
Community Member
5 years ago

Who's the idiot who thinks the current model is more attainable than the bodybuilder? Most men can't ever get a six-pack. Genetics prevents it!

Pi...
Community Member
5 years ago

Brad Pitt being an "Everyman"?! Yeah.. sure!

Rhon
Community Member
5 years ago

I actually prefer the 1930's look!!

Kizito Obeya
Community Member
5 years ago

White Bodies Matter. Only the media says they are the standard. Not for me.

Vervelende Panda
Community Member
5 years ago

I wonder if these ideals were held by people of all cultures, or just white americans?

Lulu Machete
Community Member
5 years ago

Those are some creepy ass depictions !'

Hisseefit
Community Member
5 years ago

I'm just hooked on men. I can find a sexy man in every era. James dean, Robert Redford, John travolta... And it's great if they cook as well

catherine waite
Community Member
5 years ago

It's nice to see something around male body's, instead of the norm of women. Though would have been nice to see more other than the most recent years.

Isabel Tamayo
Community Member
5 years ago

Brad Pitt and Mick Jagger.

Sarah White
Community Member
5 years ago

True,but all body ideals at different. I personally prefer more feminine looking guys like Matthew daddario. :)

Julietta LaBlanca
Community Member
5 years ago

The results ARE shocking! Every single male is white. I am still looking for sources, is there a reference list? Or was this a brilliantly racist opinion piece? How were characteristics collected? How were they evaluated? What exactly guided this idea to seem like a good one?

Milo Rastapopoulos
Community Member
5 years ago

Stupid and inaccurate as usual. In 1870 nobody thought it was esthetically ok for a man to be overweight. At that time like today, the guy on this reconstitution would have been judged ugly. Look rather at the classical paintings and sculptures from this time, where you can see what was 19th century ideal male body. Muscles, muscles, muscles. Already.

Zatch
Community Member
5 years ago

Those 3D models are kind of terrible. Aside from that the article is interesting. Wish we could see more from other times.

Miklós Nagy
Community Member
5 years ago

None of these could put on a "skinny" jeans.

Daria B
Community Member
5 years ago

Except rock stars.

Load More Replies...
Leni
Community Member
5 years ago

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

I like the 80ies one. Mostly the breadth of the shoulders that does it for me. I prefer it when a man isn't too lean, even lean muscles aren't attractive to me. I always figure it's because my dad is a lean type and I'm looking for opposing genetics :')

Katie Smith
Community Member
5 years ago

I just like a man who looks like he takes care of himself.

Aurelia Grey
Community Member
5 years ago

I appreciate a man that wears pants/jeans that fit! If they don't, uses a...a...belt! Doesn't have to let the world know what brand of underwear he's wearing! I appreciate a man that knows how to wear aftershave/cologne. If I can smell a man approaching from 10 miles away, yeah, that's a bit f a problem.....

Load More Replies...
djinnjeannie
Community Member
5 years ago

Brad Pitt's cut form in Fight Club is the "everyman"?!? Where and how fast can I get there?

Matleena Korhonen
Community Member
5 years ago

Yeah, talking about impossible beauty standards! How is that "everyman"??

Load More Replies...
Daria B
Community Member
5 years ago

The title is a wee bit misleading (it's not "over the last 150 years" if you skip so many timelines), but the article is interesting and informative otherwise.

Марко Миловић
Community Member
5 years ago

Actually, It's not. Those were the moments when the idea of what is a desirable male body type changed.

Load More Replies...
June Pixeld
Community Member
5 years ago

Interesting to see the timeline though i gotta say some of them arent as much body ideals as much as iconic figures.and their bodies shape&weight were simply the result of their eating habits/lifestyle / health. Like , not everyone was a rockstar or bodybuilder matter how popular a celeb was?

Ivana
Community Member
5 years ago

How is Brad Pitt the "Everyman"? I never see men with that body running around.

Martin
Community Member
5 years ago

My body type has been described as Ewok... where's my body type?? ewok-435-5...258cc9.jpg ewok-435-59892ab258cc9.jpg

Starflower
Community Member
4 years ago

Lol! Short, round and hairy?

Load More Replies...
Pobin Rice
Community Member
5 years ago

Just imagine we did this for women the backlash would be astronomical

Darryl Kerrigan
Community Member
5 years ago

I've seen that article. Victorians in corsets, fuller figures in the 50's, stick thin in the 90's and the Kardashians...

Load More Replies...
Sharon Pemberton
Community Member
5 years ago

There's the body a man gets from going to the gym and working out. And then there's the body a man will get from working (as in hard, physical labor). There's a difference.

DancingToMyself
Community Member
5 years ago

I prefer thin long muscles, like young Jagger, Iggy Pop and Bowie. Brad Pitt is fine in Fight Club. :)

Ivana
Community Member
5 years ago

I started dating my husband because I thought he looked like Jim Morrison from the Doors. Love the thin, lean look on men, not to mention the long hair. The rocker is my favorite body type for men. Plus, they can contort around your body really well making for great snuggling. Bulky men are uncomfortable to curl up with in my opinion, feels like their body is pushing me off of the bed.

Load More Replies...
Rebekah
Community Member
5 years ago

1. If Brad Pitt is "The Everyman", then we don't stand a chance. 2. Young John Wayne. Woooo.

Daniel Losinger
Community Member
5 years ago

The 1960s guy looks like Steve Jobs.

Community Member
5 years ago

Can we go back to the 1870s where it's okay to be overweight :)

June Pixeld
Community Member
5 years ago

Please no. There was no proper dental care and tampons.

Load More Replies...
Peter Hogan
Community Member
4 years ago

So I guess I would be considered "hot" in 1870.

Ann-Marie Lavoie
Community Member
5 years ago

I have an appreciation for all body types. I like guys that are just themselves. They can have muscles or not. It is their personality that gets me more. Make me laugh and you can look like a marshmallow and I'll be fawning over you. My one rule though is that you have to take care of yourself. Hygiene and clean clothes.

RaroaRaroa
Community Member
5 years ago

The lean rocker - the best male body type in my opinion.

Melissa Hanson
Community Member
4 years ago

Am i the only one who is most attracted to the 1930s build?

Kimberly Puchniarz
Community Member
4 years ago

1990's to today? I think not!!

SRAMLNS
Community Member
5 years ago

Everyman because Everyman has a six pack

Angie W.
Community Member
5 years ago

Lean or muscular mesomorph for me. Never liked the other extremes. My hubby is lean, he has the weirdest metabolism as well, can't gain fat easily, I used to count his ribs, but he can get pretty fit very quickly when he excercises. On the other hand, I'm an hourglass and a pringles junkie, I fight to get in my jeans, thankfully he likes my figure, phew...

Melody Paredes
Community Member
5 years ago

Seems like a six pack is kind of hard to achieve. I prefer lean and healthy men. Height is not too important as long as they feel confident.

hyenacub
Community Member
5 years ago

Looks like we're back to the 40s.

Susan Ho
Community Member
5 years ago

like the present...

The Archer Frog
Community Member
5 years ago

I just want a guy who likes reptiles and herpetology

Sam Raleigh
Community Member
5 years ago

Who's the idiot who thinks the current model is more attainable than the bodybuilder? Most men can't ever get a six-pack. Genetics prevents it!

Pi...
Community Member
5 years ago

Brad Pitt being an "Everyman"?! Yeah.. sure!

Rhon
Community Member
5 years ago

I actually prefer the 1930's look!!

Kizito Obeya
Community Member
5 years ago

White Bodies Matter. Only the media says they are the standard. Not for me.

Vervelende Panda
Community Member
5 years ago

I wonder if these ideals were held by people of all cultures, or just white americans?

Lulu Machete
Community Member
5 years ago

Those are some creepy ass depictions !'

Hisseefit
Community Member
5 years ago

I'm just hooked on men. I can find a sexy man in every era. James dean, Robert Redford, John travolta... And it's great if they cook as well

catherine waite
Community Member
5 years ago

It's nice to see something around male body's, instead of the norm of women. Though would have been nice to see more other than the most recent years.

Isabel Tamayo
Community Member
5 years ago

Brad Pitt and Mick Jagger.

Sarah White
Community Member
5 years ago

True,but all body ideals at different. I personally prefer more feminine looking guys like Matthew daddario. :)

Julietta LaBlanca
Community Member
5 years ago

The results ARE shocking! Every single male is white. I am still looking for sources, is there a reference list? Or was this a brilliantly racist opinion piece? How were characteristics collected? How were they evaluated? What exactly guided this idea to seem like a good one?

Milo Rastapopoulos
Community Member
5 years ago

Stupid and inaccurate as usual. In 1870 nobody thought it was esthetically ok for a man to be overweight. At that time like today, the guy on this reconstitution would have been judged ugly. Look rather at the classical paintings and sculptures from this time, where you can see what was 19th century ideal male body. Muscles, muscles, muscles. Already.

Zatch
Community Member
5 years ago

Those 3D models are kind of terrible. Aside from that the article is interesting. Wish we could see more from other times.

Miklós Nagy
Community Member
5 years ago

None of these could put on a "skinny" jeans.

Daria B
Community Member
5 years ago

Except rock stars.

Load More Replies...
Leni
Community Member
5 years ago

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

I like the 80ies one. Mostly the breadth of the shoulders that does it for me. I prefer it when a man isn't too lean, even lean muscles aren't attractive to me. I always figure it's because my dad is a lean type and I'm looking for opposing genetics :')

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