Women in politics

Women in politics. Now I know what you are thinking: “Oh dear, another feminist – how cliché”, but I would ask you to re-educate yourself into understanding what a feminist actually entails. As, when talking about the lack of women in politics, I am not intensely urging the female gender to over power Britain, as some may assume, just to be simply equal to men.

The correct definition of a feminist – for those who are unsure – is ‘an individual who supports the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes’ meaning that women should not be treated higher than men, but treated with equal respect, power and authority.

The equality of men and women over the years has agreeably improved however this longitudinal dilemma is not even close to the end, as I believe that the only way to purely rid of sexist behaviours within society is to fairly increase the number of female members of parliament.

51% of the UK is female proving that there are more female citizens in Britain than men, however strangely less than 25% in both Houses of Parliament are made up of women. This seems surprising as women are obviously viewed as the minority in parliament however there is a clear majority of women in the UK as a whole. This off-balance demonstrates how parliament can’t be truly representative of the nation therefore something must change.

On Thursday 6th November, Nicki Morgan, the education minister, conservative member and most importantly ex-head girl of Surbiton High School, generously gave her time to visit the sixth formers, along with Alistair Stewart, to answer various questions which we had the opportunity of asking. From personal questions about when and why she wanted to be involved in politics, to specific questions about her field of education. It was a rare and appreciated opportunity which allowed us to perceive what intelligent women in politics have to offer. Nicky Morgan also agreed that more women should be encouraged to participate in politics as the ratio of men and women is off balance and needs to altered.

By amending and increasing the number of women that sit in parliament I believe that equality for all citizens will soon follow.



Lights, camera…breakdown: what is it about child celebrities?

With every flick through a magazine, every guilty watch of daytime TV, it seems that another once sweet-faced, ever hopeful childhood celebrity has morphed into a drink-fuelled, drug-abusing, law-breaking adult, whose hopes for a beautiful career has smashed to smithereens. There’s something about being in the public eye at a young age that leads, more times than not, to some sort of emotional or physical breakdown. And one has to wonder why…is it is a need to constantly be in the limelight? A want to prove you’re not always going to be the cute, giggling child you were at the height of fame? Or is it something deeper? Do these child actors and singers ruin their careers so drastically to ward off other children from following in their fate? To warn them: don’t become famous at a young age?
Once upon a time, not so long ago, the name Miley Cyrus was one that made mothers proudly smile. “My daughter just loves Hannah Montana. She’s so lovely, isn’t she?”
“Oh yes, such a good role model. I was thinking of getting concert tickets for my one’s birthday present. What do you think?”

A few years ago, the thought of herds of children paying money to watch Hannah Montana perform would be quite regular. But skip forward in time; to 2014…that image is not so rosy. Because Miley has ditched the wholesome smile, well-dressed clothes, respectable image and name of a ‘child role model’, and catapulted into being a twerking, offensive, inappropriate, drug-using, scantily-clad wearing mutant of what she once was. The words of her famous song, ‘Best of Both Worlds’, ring in my ears… “Yeah being famous it can be kinda fun…” Where does fun end and responsibility begin? A responsibility to be a role model for young children, the future men and women of today, who watch Miley’s life constantly and wish to live it themselves. Miley Cyrus, whether deliberate or not, has lost the respect of mothers and fathers across the nation. She has also cast herself as yet another childhood actor gone horribly wrong.
But it is not just her. Remember when Justin Bieber was just a teenage boy with a silly haircut and a girly singing voice? Now, he’s been arrested for reckless driving, drug taking and assault. There’s also lovely Lindsay Lohan from ‘The Parent Trap’: who can forget how Lindsay Lohan turned out. She’s appeared in court 20 times in the past years – let’s remember she’s not yet 30.
Shia Le Beouf, Amanda Bynes, Macaulay Culkin, Britney Spears: all examples of children who got into the soul-draining industry of entertainment far too quickly and deeply suffered the consequences. There must be, must be some reason for their downfall. Surely these children have been corrupted by Hollywood, they have not corrupted Hollywood.
It makes me wonder how these childhood actors are treated, which causes them to have such breakdowns. Of course, not every childhood starlet grows up badly: the Olsen Twins, Mandy Moore, Leonardo DiCaprio have all managed to grow from strength to strength, and use their experience from being famous at a young age to make a name for themselves. But this is a small percentage of child actors and singers. What is it about being in the spotlight, the lights and cameras at a young age that leads to a breakdown?


By Hope Supple

Let’s Combat Cancer

Cancer is a horrible disease, which takes away more than 7.6 million lives every year and can develop at any age, but is particularly common in individuals aged 75 and over. There are more than 200 types of cancer and every 2 minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with this life threatening disease.

Cancer is like a ladder. There are many survivors who fight their way to the top, which requires a lot of hard work. But sometimes they slip back down to the bottom and never get back up.

One story which inspires me never to give up is Stephen’s story. Stephen was diagnosed with cancer on January 13th 2013, and was battling for every minute of his life. After he found out that his disease was incurable he made a Facebook page called “Stephen’s Story”. He wrote on that page 46 things he wanted to do before he passed away. ‘Stephen’s story’ has had a huge following and since creating his page he raised lots of money, including £3 million in one year!

Hundreds of celebrities donated money to Stephen’s page and all that money was donated to ‘Teenage Cancer Trust’, as he wanted to make sure that others with his diseases were getting treatment and that they would not go through what he had to go through.

Stephen sadly passed away on 14th May 2014 and will be greatly missed. His story is inspiring because he didn’t give up, he kept fighting and remained positive throughout the hard time he had.

His story is amazing and this year his page raised an astonishing £5 million to go towards the Teenage Cancer Trust. Every donation, be that big or small, helps contribute to combatting the horrible disease of cancer. So why don’t you donate any amount you can to the charity,  as it could help save someone’s life. If you would like to donate money please go to  http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/
Thank you.

By Sameera Patel- year 7

The Loss of a Son

The sleepy Alaskan town of Palmer was ruptured by a chilling revelation in October. The elderly couple, Karen and Jay Priest were sent into turmoil after the news broke of their son Justin’s death at around 3:00 am on Thursday. The anguish experienced by the pair quickly erupted into joy, as they were reunited with the supposedly dead son only hours later.

A Juneau police officer approached the Priest family with the grave task of informing doting parents of the sudden death of a loved son. Karen Priest described the immensity of her emotions as she answered the shrill bell to the ominous officer. Priest depicted the ordeal, stating “I knew right away, the dread. It’s not good when an officer knocks on your door at three o’clock in the morning”.

The officer illustrated the crime scene. The driver has violently crashed into a tree, the cause, driving under the influence. “That didn’t sound like Justin”, Karen stated, however the officer confirmed the excess consumption of alcohol had caused the incident to occur. Panic-stricken and overwhelmed with grief, the Priests began the heart wrenching task of informing Justin’s relatives and loved ones of the shocking death of their son.

At around 5:00pm Karen and Jay Priest drove to Justin’s girlfriend’s house. A sleepy eyed Justin opened the door to an alarmed brother and parents. The family were elated, and overwhelmed with contentment and relief. Justin informed the local newspaper of his confusion when opening the door to his family. He himself could not comprehend why his family were so astonished to see him. “I was shocked and astonished and had to keep grabbing and hugging him, I’ve never cried so much in my life” said Jay Priest.

However the question still remained; why had the Priest’s been sent on an emotional roller-coaster?

The Alaskan police had mistakenly informed the wrong family the death of their son. The car crash victim was Justin Priest. However, the middle name and perhaps most crucially, the birth dates of the two Justins differed. The relief and joy experienced by the Priests was largely tainted by the sorrow and the knowledge that one Justin Priest still remained dead.

Nevertheless, the sloppiness of the American police services has caused a rift in the nation’s ability to ultimately have faith in the police. I myself understand the consequences of misinforming the innocent with life wrenching news.

Although the Alaskan police have profusely apologised to the Priest family, the impact of their actions remain.


Random Acts of Kindness

Last week I witnessed one of the most heart warming sights ever. As I walked out of Fulham Broadway Station, battling my way through the rain with my hood up as protection, I saw a homeless man huddled outside, with nothing but his sleeping bag to warm him. As I fished around in my bag to find a couple of coins, two girls started talking to him and gave this man, alone and cold, a rain mac, an umbrella and various other things, which they had just gone to buy him. Why, I must ask, had I not thought to do such a thing? Why, I must ask, did it shock me that, in our world of hard-faced commuters, someone could reach out and show compassion?

After this revelation I seemed to hear about random acts of kindness everywhere. My friend was buying a train ticket when she found £10 in the machine with a note saying “have a nice day!”. Then I found a website called “www.randomactsofkindness.org” which gives people ideas of different acts they can do and shares stories of what other people have experienced.

One story is about a girl who paid the bill for the old woman sitting next to her in a cafe. Another of someone who gave cookies to homeless people on her way home. One about a 5 year old boy selling lemonade to raise money for Lily Graham, who suffers with cancer – he raised $850. Another story told us of a stranger giving someone flowers with a ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ card on it.

All of these things, big and small, make such a difference to peoples lives. Kindness breeds kindness. The small action of one person can lead to millions of people doing random acts of kindness. Making someone smile when they are sad, keeping someone warm when it rains,  and generally brightening someone’s day.

Kindness breeds kindness. Generosity is contagious. Goodness leads to goodness.

This isn’t just a theory or a hope. James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis published their findings in the ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Science’, after an experiment they showed that peoples actions didn’t always lie in the calculation of odds or rewards. But by copying the behaviour of others. Therefore when one person gave generously and irrationally, others did the same. Thus, generosity is contagious, as is kindness.

Not only this, but witnessing a random act of kindness is thought to make you feel elated, happy and at peace. The psychologist Jonathan Haidt describes it as a “warm feeling in the chest, a sensation of expansion in [the] heart, an increased desire to help, and increased sense of connection with others… a manifestation of humanity’s ‘higher’ or ‘better’ nature.” It’s true, when I saw these girls giving the homeless man gifts I felt overcome with joy, so much so that I was nearly in tears with my restored faith in humanity.

It is often so easy to forget the good things humanity has to offer when the news bombards us with all the sorrow and evil in the world. But even one random act of kindness can restore someones faith in that little known thing called humanity. As Martin Kornfled pointed out “If we all do one random act of kindness daily, we just might set the world in the right direction”. Why not try it? Do a random act of kindness, feel the elation, spread the kindness, and let others see that there is still hope for humanity in this world.

So, to the two girls at Fulham Broadway Station – Thank You. You have restored my faith in humanity and the power of random acts of kindness.

Visit http://www.randomactsofkindness.org to find ideas and stories about how to spread kindness.

By Tilly Davis

Meddling Michael or Good Gove?

Michael Gove. The ex-minister of education for Britain. A man whose name rings alarm bells for every teacher in England. In 2010 the conservative MP was appointed Secretary of State for Education as a result of the coalition government between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. A strict and rigid reconstruction of the education syllabus has generated frustration and outrage for members of the education sector, and as a result many of his proposals have been rejected due to his seemingly disruptive approach. The main criticism of him would probably be his critical nature towards the teaching profession. Teachers despise this approach as they don’t believe he has any understanding or experience on how to teach purely to benefit children of all different backgrounds.

However, as a result of his unpopular outlook, maybe his positive attributes and contributions have been overlooked.

Although some of his actions may have been disproved by a majority of teachers and education workers his overall intentions were to improve the general education system in England. For example, the ban of controlled assessments during GCSE English. As a Surbiton High School pupil I was initially against this idea as I personally felt that the controlled assessments that I completed helped diffuse the stress from one exam to across the year. However, looking at it from a wider perspective I can understand the benefits of this proposal due to the fact that it could be considered unfair for students who gain no outside help, in comparison to students who are lucky enough to be tutored and assisted to a greater extent.

On Friday 3rd Jonathan Dimbleby presented the BBC Radio 4 show that took place at Surbiton High School where Michael Gove (Conservative) made an appearance along with Baroness Williams (Liberal Democrat), Patrick O’Flynn (UKIP) and Emily Thornberry (Labour). In contrary to my initial expectations, Michael Gove came across as articulate, well-spoken and compared to the other members, calm and collected. His ideas on the economy and his defences seemed valid and surprisingly reasonable.

Another talk that Gove made at the London academy of excellence praised and appreciated teachers for all they had done, however this clearly went unrecognised. Within his speech of approval he states ‘today I want to thank them. By pointing out quite how much they’ve done. The people who work in our schools at the moment have, I think, made history.’ Perhaps the reason this has become unnoticed is due to the media finding it easier to scrutinise and act negatively towards politicians in order to gain support and attention.

The bias perception of Michael Gove has perhaps infected us all and maybe it’s too late to change it, however I believe we should keep an open mind. Michael Gove has made seemingly pointless and frustrating changes but he has also helped amend the education system for a large majority of school children. His sudden changes in the syllabus have allowed him to be judged as a ruthless and ignorant politician with insufficient interests when in fact he has offered ‘children a better start in life.’


Moon landing Myth

On July 16th 1969 a crew of three members; Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins made their adventurous and potentially life threatening journey to the moon. They soon entered the moons orbit, but a few challenges arouse.

On the 20th July 1969, the cameras were posed (which were transmitting images to over 6 hundred million people on Earth) and Neil Armstrong was ready to take the first steps ever on the moon. Once on the moon he stated “that’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” – a saying which will long be remembered in history. Buzz Aldrin then also stepped on the moon, and they placed the symbolic American flag onto the moon’s surface. They then remained on it for 21 hours and collected Moon rocks for scientists to examine once back in America. After probably the most spectacular and memorable 21 hours of their lives they then headed back to their home, and arrived on the 23rd July as heroes.

However, since the moon landing, many conspiracy theories have been released about NASA faking the launch to the moon, thus deceiving the whole World. One main argument conspiracy theorists have pointed out is that when Neil Armstrong was on the moon, viewers witnessed the American flag waving and fluttering as it was in the ground. This event has sparked the beginning of this controversial debate, because everybody knows that there’s no air in the moons atmosphere, and therefore no wind to cause the flag to flutter.

Furthermore, images that were taken were expected to show the shadows of objects and people on the moon running parallel with each other, because there is only one strong light source – the Sun. But the pictures do not shows this. Instead they are all in different directions, thus have lead conspiracy theorists to believe that this was a film set as there would be many different light sources.

Another argument supporting the hoax theories, is that in none of the images from the moon are any stars present. Many scientists have stated that this does not make sense, because stars are so bright one would definitely be able to see them from the moon. People have therefore claimed that NASA intentionally left out stars from their “fake” images, because it was too complicated as they would have to find out the exact location of different stars, thus they risked the chance of being caught out by their hoax.

Moreover, another convincing argument is that in one of the rocks on the moon there is a perfect letter C drawn into it, suggesting that it must have been man made, further supporting the argument that NASA faked the whole event by filming it in a studio. In response to this argument NASA stated that the developer of the moons pictures must have put it in as a joke.

Lastly, many sceptics have suggested that the film director Stanley Kubrick was the person who filmed the hoax in a studio, because the US government approached him and told him that they wanted him to do this, in order to beat the USSR in the space race. Then as a “practice run” he made the film “A Space Odyssey” which was released a year before the first landing on the moon.

After the moon landing Neil Armstrong became a reclusive man, only giving a few interviews between you the landing and his death in 2010. Some people have argued that surely a man who has played a part in making history would want to tell the world about this experience, unless he was afraid of being caught out?

If you’re interested about finding more out on this case, then you can watch the programme “Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon?which was broadcasted on Fox in 2001 as is available to watch on YouTube.

By Sophie Rogers

Private Lives in the Public Eye

After almost 200 private photos were leaked through an iCloud hacking scandal in August, the lives of the victims were turned upside down. The huge number of celebrities who discovered their name on a list of people who’s iCloud account had been hacked by “OriginalGuy” were soon too find millions of people gawking at photos which they had assumed to be secure and private. Not only have the photos been spread over the Internet and labeled as porn, but ordinary people have gone out of their way to gain access to photos which were taken in the privacy of the subject, and were intended to stay this way.

While the general public gleefully lapped up the humiliation of these celebrities, they expected the victims to feel shameful for taking a risk and posing nude for themselves or their partner. However through the publication of Vanity Fair’s interview with Jennifer Lawrence,  onlookers realised that the reaction of these celebrities would not be as mild as they had previously expected.

The interview Jennifer Lawrence gave in Vanity Fair, threw any chance of regret back in the publics faces, stating “I didn’t tell you that you could look at my naked body”, calling the hackers’ acts a sex crime and those who were looking at photos “perpetuating a sexual offence”. Jen went on to describe the horror most of us would never want to imagine.”I can’t even describe to anybody what it feels like to have my naked body shot across the world like a news flash against my will. It just makes me feel like a piece of meat that’s being passed around for profit.”

  But still the EU commissioner – Günther Oettinger – labelled the celebrities as stupid saying, “If someone is dumb enough as a celebrity to take any photos of themselves and put them online, they surely can’t expect us protect them.”

The comment caused outrage amongst the general public. Granted these photos were technically online, but they were in fact kept private until they were stolen for the private iCloud accounts of celebrities. The German politician, Julia Reda, immediately responded to this by saying that Oettinger had made a “mockery” of a significant problem and that his response to the situation called into question “whether he is qualified for the job of shaping our digital society for the next five years”.

While it first caused shock that “OrginalGuy” was able to hack into people’s iCloud accounts, it was soon discovered that many members of the online forum AnonIB had also been using this technique to gain access to people’s private photos. Not only this, but there is a whole board dedicated to stolen or “obtained” photos. The “/stol/” board acts as an online meeting point for iCloud hackers, who exchange tips and “achievements” with each other.

The issue for me, however, is not the fact that people are prepared to steal someone else’s property. No, the issue is that when people are online they seem to lose all sense of morality.

If a person came up to you in the street and asked if you wanted to look at photos they’d got from breaking into someone’s house, you would surly be appalled and refuse. Yet, when it’s online suddenly the victim becomes the culprit. No longer is the thief in the wrong, but it is the fault of the victim for simply for taking such photos.

The question should not be whether people are right to take the photos, but why others are gaining amusement from their privacy being leaked online. Privacy is not intended for the public eye.

This lack of morality online appears everywhere in our society: cyber bullying, trolling on Twitter – constantly people use their ‘virtual-selves’ to say or do things which they would never do in “real-life”. But of course this is “real-life”. Online or offline the effects are the same and they are never acceptable.

The other issue which this raises is the online misogyny which seems to be surfacing. Is it a coincidence that only women were targeted in this hacking? I think not. We may be targeting sexism rather successfully in “real-life”, with Emma Watson’s recent ‘He for She’ campaign taking the world by storm, but the internet seems to be a new home for sexism. The leaking of personal and private photos are just one example of this.

Instead of criticising celebrities for taking nude photos, should we not be trying to fix the problem of the way people behave online? After all, how would you like it if broke into you home just to steal a couple of photos? No matter what they’re of, they’re private.


The mythical creature that lurks on social media

Despite his political stance and identification with the lower class, Ed Miliband has been ridiculed, taunted and rejected by members of the public. All of this is down to being slightly odd-looking. It seems that for our society, for the people who he will soon govern, appearance overrules politics. Surprising? Unfortunately not. In today’s society, the public figures and celebrities who we see in the papers, on the television – and just about everywhere we turn – seem to be a punching bag for the insecurities and ferocity that every normal person, who reads the paper instead of appearing in it, turn to in order to release pent-up anger and frustration.

Perhaps it is down to old-fashioned jealously. Or perhaps it is something more than that. Possibly, this is more than just picking on other people to bring ourselves up, and seeds to something more.

Following his ‘bacon sarnie’ disaster, Ed Miliband was cruelly slated: for simply not enjoying his breakfast, he was deemed as not being at one with the public, thinking he’s better than everybody else, not relatable, and, of course, people remarked on the unsavoury way he shovelled the sandwich in his mouth. What is it about public figures that bring out such an ugly, unacceptable side to us?

These people who take to the internet to criticise the public have aptly been named “trolls”. A troll (not the internet kind) is an ugly, mythical creature who dwells in isolated places,work together in small groups, and are rarely helpful to human beings. I cannot help but notice that the mythical ‘troll’ does not seem all too dissimilar to the internet troll.
These trolls work together in small hate clubs that join together over the internet, uniting over distaste for a reality TV star or a mutual hate for a politician.

They dwell in isolated places: the corners of cafes clutching their phones, the attic of their house, underneath their covers with the computer screen dimly lighting up their shelter. They cannot be seen, nor heard: only their trails can be found, the footprints of loathing and abuse they leave in their wake.

And of course, these internet trolls are in no way helpful to human beings. What joy do they bring to our lives? Scrolling through a celebrity’s Instagram, between the other decent comments, you cannot avoid a troll’s sneer of a comment. They are never amusing nor intelligent, and they make no input into anybody’s lives: in fact, many go unseen. So, I beg the question, why do it?

Kim Kardashian, reality star and wife of rapper Kanye West, has one of the highest amounts of followers on photo-sharing site Instagram, with over 19 million fans. On a recent photo she uploaded of herself, dressed in a black suit at Fashion Week, people couldn’t help but abuse her, with comments such as “You killed fashion week!” “What’s wrong with that woman” and, “You disgust me. You should not be famous; you’re an embarrassment to our world”. Indeed, there is not a single photo on her Instagram that has not been battered with abuse.

On ‘The Student Room’ a popular website for students to share information and discussions, the question “Does anyone actually like Ed Milliband?” appeared. Some of the comments were so explicit and disgusting, they cannot be shared. Some were milder saying: “I hate his nasal voice…and he looks like an inbred….why don’t you clear your seemingly blocked nose before you give speeches.”

I’m sure that the people who write these comments are not perfect and flawless. I’m sure they have bad hair days and blocked noses and wear odd clothes. People in the public eye once held respect: the general public looked to those in the public eye for inspiration, to dream bigger, to have courage to pursue their dreams, to work harder in their lives.
I wholeheartedly agree, some people who are deemed ‘famous’ should not be given such a title. They should not be privileged enough to be role models to our children, and to the general public. Yet does that give these people, people who are just like us, reason to be subject to such exploitation?

It’s as if we’re in the playground again, and celebrities and public figures have had a post-it note with “KICK ME” stuck on their backs. I doubt these ‘trolls’ would say any of the abuse they proudly stamp out on the internet to these celebrities’ faces. In fact, I bet they’d be lining up for a selfie with them.

Being in the public eye gives people certain responsibilities: you have a duty to be a role model, a respected citizen, a valued member of society. Spiderman’s saying is true, ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. But this applies to the owners of computers and members of social media: if you have the power to comment on other people, be responsible. We shouldn’t abuse that power.

Because, we may forget, celebrities are just famous versions of ourselves. As actress Betty White neatly put it, “Trolls suck.”


The best figure? It depends on the era.

It has been a question on every woman’s mind for generations and generations. What constitutes the ‘dream figure’? Is it to have that flat stomach and desired thigh gap, or is it more desirable to have effortless curves? Is it to have a bronze tan, or to have skin like snow? What is the best figure?


The truth is; it varies. In each decade, it seems to be that there has been a new pin-up, a new desire for a different figure and shape. So which one is the most popular? Will history ever repeat itself? Or will women and men never decide what constitutes the ‘dream body’?


From the 1900s-1910s, all women desired to be tall, with large hips and a large bust, as well as having pale skin. This sent off the message to a woman’s peers that she was wealthy enough to eat well, hence the full figure, and did not have to take part in outdoor labor – hence the pale skin. The perfect woman did not have to go outside; she was the angel of the kitchen, and cooked beautiful meals for her husband. There was also the belief that if a woman had a very curvaceous, ‘womanly’ figure, with a large bust and wide hips, she was more fertile, and maternal, making a perfect wife. The Gibson girl was the creation of Charles Dana Gibson, an illustrator, and was the type of woman who epitomized the ideal feminine beauty of the decade. The Gibson girl had a large bust, wide hips and a flat stomach.


By 1920, women ditched the corsets that pushed up their bust and pulled in their waists, in favor of a more boyish figure. The war was over, and after women had proved that they were more than just cooking and cleaning, they were keen to show it. Their new masculine look made them look equal to men, as well as their bobbed hair. Women in the 1920s wore dresses that didn’t pull in their waist or accentuate their breasts, instead wearing loose dresses that covered any curves and showed off their knees and their legs, highlighting their new ‘scandalous’ image; women were now smoking in public and driving cars, and life was now carefree because the war was finally over.  Gloria Swanson was arguably the biggest 1920’s star, and she fitted perfectly with the masculine, cropped-hair, and looser fitting dress – ideal of the 1920’s.


Yet the boyish figure didn’t last long. Mae West, a Hollywood star of the 1930’s brought back the less outrageous desire for women to sport curves, wearing tight fitting dresses that showed off curves and waists. Women started to lose their masculinity, and revert back to their femininity in the 1930’s.


World War 2 was bound to shake up the ongoing battle of what women should aim for in terms of the best figure. During the 40’s gave women plenty of responsibility, with the men away fighting for their country. The idealistic and unattainable curves slipped out of style, and women didn’t want to be portrayed as carefree like they had after World War 1 in the 1920’s. Instead, women were all in search for that slender, yet very healthy, body. Rita Hayworth was the ideal figure, with a body that was not too different from many women’s bodies should be and were; healthy and in shape.


1950’s was a decade that was dedicated to the sex symbols; especially Marilyn Monroe. With their long legs, big busts and perfect hourglass figures, women such as Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell dominated Hollywood, and their effortless glamour and sex appeal made their bodies desirable to all men, and wanted to all women. Women in the 1950’s were starting to have a better understanding of nutrition and exercise, and therefore, despite wanting a curvaceous figure with an hourglass waist, they also wanted long legs and a smooth stomach.


However, this all changed in the year of 1960. The desperate need for an hourglass figure quickly diminished, as women found out that actually to be skinny was what men wanted, and what was most attractive.  Women believed that actually the boyish look of the 1920’s was what was the perfect figure, and model Twiggy fit into the category of a tiny frame, long thin legs, angular shapes and to be completely slender. Dieting and calorie counting fell into society, as science developed, and with the development of science came another change in fashions and trends. Maternal was out, and masculinity was truly back in.


With the 1970’s came a very small change in the ideal figure. From 1950 to 1960, the definition of beauty had become a complete opposite. Now, the thinner look seemed to be set to stay. The 1970’s were a time for flower power, for experimentation with drugs, and music, a time for festivals and for road trips. Farah Fawcett was seen as the most beautiful woman of the 70’s, as she sported minimal makeup, flowing hair, an athletic body, and tanned skin. In the 1970’s, women were more natural, and healthy.


With the year of 1980 came the boom of fitness and aerobics videos, and with this new craze came a brand new, admirable body type. Nicknamed ‘hard bodies’, the face of which being Jane Fonda, women aspired to be muscular, completely toned, thin and athletic. Gone was the want for a natural looking healthy body as there had been in the carefree 70’s, as exercise was well and truly becoming something women should be doing daily, not just men.


In the 90’s, Kate Moss took over from Jane Fonda, with her tiny body, not a hint of cellulite and no traces of fat on her skinny limbs and stomach. The tan, that had once been desired, had now worn away, and Kate Moss’ pale skin, like the skin that had been so admired in the beginning of the 90th century, was back, making a full circle. Yet 90 years on, the ideal weight had halved; a large bust and large hips was certainly out of fashion and thin was in. Kate Moss famously said, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”, a remark that haunted women during the 90’s.


2000-2010: a new millennium, combined with a new ideal look. Kate Moss’ angular looks and sharp features were replaced with a softer ideal, models such as Alessandra Ambrosio and the rest of the Victoria’s secret angels boasted of long flowing hair, tanned skin, and perfect figures-a large bust, yet a flat stomach, and hips yet thin legs. The beach-girl, summery look seemed to captivate women in those 10 years.


And now…It seems that to be ‘striking’, ‘unusual’, ‘gawky’, and ‘different’ are things to be celebrated. Although in the previous 10 years, the typical beauty was in fact, very typical, now models such as Cara Delevingne have showed that high fashion is the fashion. Shorter hair, bolder looks, and unfortunately, slimmer bodies, with the focus being on size zero models again. But who knows? In 10 years, it will all change again…

By Hope Supple