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Are We Really Fatter Nowadays?

Cochise

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There is I think more variation in body type than the BMI test caters for. You can see some girls who are genuinely petite but you see others who are the same size/weight who look desperately thin. Similarly, some big ladies look nicely well rounded, others again roughly the same size/weight look just fat.

I realise that reads a bit sexist, but , hey, I like looking at women. 'Tis natural, you know.

Anyone who thinks the UK has an obesity problem should go to 'merica.
 

MorningAngel

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While puzzling on the idea that the BMI is bollocks I found some interesting articles. My experience is that I lost five stone (unfortunately I found two again) and got down to a good size that suited me and which I should have tired to stay at. But the BMI said I still needed to lose another stone which I don't think would have done me any favours. So instead of maintaining I tried to lose more and ended up wavering and putting weight on :-( (I've been dieting for five years it's hard going). So that's my experience of BMI bollocks. Anyway the articles I promised.

'The person who dreamed up the BMI said explicitly that it could not and should not be used to indicate the level of fatness in an individual.'

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=106268439

BMI wrongly branding people as unhealthy, new research reveals

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/hea...people-as-unhealthy-new-research-reveals.html

The graphic that shows why BMI is useless: Scientists reveal how radically different body shapes can have the SAME readings

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencet...radically-different-body-shapes-readings.html
 

Yithian

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I'm always puzzled when so many people are looking for extra reasons why humans are growing heavier on top of what we already know. Might genetics, GM crops, corn syrup and pollution have an effect? Yes, quite possibly, but the truth of the matter is that we're consuming more calories and moving less--that's pretty much all the explanation we need.

worldmap_steps_white-2.jpg


Analysis:
http://news.stanford.edu/2017/07/10...clues-obesity-counting-steps-via-smartphones/

It's not a strict correlation, but even these national averages are not very helpful. If we could see figures for the number of steps for the urban-dwelling poor worldwide, I predict that we'd have a fairly accurate mesh with where the additional pounds/KG are coming from. No innocent smugness from me--I've become far more sedentary as a result of work and lifestyle and--predictably--have gained weight and accumulated aches and pains despite an arguably healthier and lower-calorie diet than in the past.
 

Mythopoeika

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I'm always puzzled when so many people are looking for extra reasons why humans are growing heavier on top of what we already know. Might genetics, GM crops, corn syrup and pollution have an effect? Yes, quite possibly, but the truth of the matter is that we're consuming more calories and moving less--that's pretty much all the explanation we need.

View attachment 5540

Analysis:
http://news.stanford.edu/2017/07/10...clues-obesity-counting-steps-via-smartphones/

It's not a strict correlation, but even these national averages are not very helpful. If we could see figures for the number of steps for the urban-dwelling poor worldwide, I predict that we'd have a fairly accurate mesh with where the additional pounds/KG are coming from. No innocent smugness from me--I've become far more sedentary as a result of work and lifestyle and--predictably--have gained weight and accumulated aches and pains despite an arguably healthier and lower-calorie diet than in the past.
According to that chart, people in the 1st world countries walk around more than those in the 3rd world countries.
I suggest that the colour key on the right is upside-down!
 

Yithian

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According to that chart, people in the 1st world countries walk around more than those in the 3rd world countries.
I suggest that the colour key on the right is upside-down!

Smartphone users in the 3rd World.
 

Analogue Boy

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Back in the sixties where people were doing manual labour, it was 4 meals a day.
A generous breakfast. Elevenses. The dinner which could be meat and two veg with a stodgy pudding and custard for sweet. Then home for tea - which was probably the same and then a short break before supper which was more of a savoury snack like cheese on toast. Maybe a pint or three down the pub too.

A gazillion calories but they walked to work and led active working lives in hard manufacturing industries. Many of them smoked like chimneys but the missing ingredient then was the amount of sugar now added and used to make even basic food taste good.

Seriously. Look at the labels.
I looked at the sugar in cream today.
Ordinary double cream... 1.9g per 100ml
Luxury clotted cream... 2.9g per 100ml
Madagascan Vanilla cream... 6.9g per 100ml.
 

Mythopoeika

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Back in the sixties where people were doing manual labour, it was 4 meals a day.
A generous breakfast. Elevenses. The dinner which could be meat and two veg with a stodgy pudding and custard for sweet. Then home for tea - which was probably the same and then a short break before supper which was more of a savoury snack like cheese on toast. Maybe a pint or three down the pub too.

A gazillion calories but they walked to work and led active working lives in hard manufacturing industries. Many of them smoked like chimneys but the missing ingredient then was the amount of sugar now added and used to make even basic food taste good.

Seriously. Look at the labels.
I looked at the sugar in cream today.
Ordinary double cream... 1.9g per 100ml
Luxury clotted cream... 2.9g per 100ml
Madagascan Vanilla cream... 6.9g per 100ml.
Also, extra salt. In the body, this retains water.
 

merricat

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Someone earlier in the thread suggested taking a look at youtube street scenes from the 60's, etc, which with an hour to kill I have done just that (curious!).
Whilst many of the films appear to be fairly random, a large percentage are focused upon the very young, hip fashions of the time, in turn only allowing the camera to follow what you might call 'the beautiful ones', so to speak (a full 60 secs of a pair of legs beneath a mini skirt).
So not great examples.

Did find a few cafe scenes in London from 50's/60's and many of the youth were what I'd describe as healthily plump - not obese by any stretch, but there were very few 'skinny' people. There were many double chins on the males and untoned flesh on the ladies arms. These seemed to be a lot less self consciousness regarding weight. And of course, the 50 plus ladies were often quite a bit rounder overall, which reminds me of my own childhood memories of how people looked in the 80's.

Back then, there was perhaps less pressure to be 'model' thin among young people. Contemporary culture does seem to be quite fixated upon extremes - anorexic models//fat acceptance, etc. People of my parent's generation always consider me to be too thin, yet I am in the healthy range for my height. Perceptions appear to have altered since the 1980's at least.

I'm interested in this subject because whilst I agree with the OP, I am also aware that on night's out (I don't get many these days!) I actually have noticed that a fairly huge chunk of people in my town (north west) do seem to be much, much bigger than they were, say, in my teens. Is it the booze, the kebabs?
On one occasion we were in a pub where a large group of young women were celebrating a hen night. Very drunk and merry they were too! I noticed that each and every one of them would probably qualify as obese......

However, I feel somewhat uncomfortable printing that, as if I am casting judgement from a seat of superiority (not so!) - but no. It is merely an observation, and I wonder about it in relation to what I recall of the past in comparison.

Tricky subject.

One of my sources:
 

merricat

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I have also noticed that older women (and some men) do appear to be more self conscious about their weight nowadays, so I wonder if overall the 50+ population might actually be getting thinner in comparison to the past.

A few months ago I watched a few vids on youtube which catalogued mature ladies fashions of the time in B&W photo's. These were ordinary family women posing with their handbags, best shoes, etc. None of them appeared to be as youthful looking or as slim as today's older ladies. So in this regard at least we don't appear to be getting sturdier with age.

The hair styles didn't help!
 
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EnolaGaia

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... Did find a few cafe scenes in London from 50's/60's and many of the youth were what I'd describe as healthily plump - not obese by any stretch, but there were very few 'skinny' people. ... These seemed to be a lot less self consciousness regarding weight. ...

Back then, there was perhaps less pressure to be 'model' thin among young people. Contemporary culture does seem to be quite fixated upon extremes - anorexic models//fat acceptance, etc. People of my parent's generation always consider me to be too thin, yet I am in the healthy range for my height. Perceptions appear to have altered since the 1980's at least. ...

Having lived through those decades, I can assure you your impressions are correct.

If you review images from the 1960's-era beach / bikini movies and 1950's-era pinups, you'll see the paradigmatic visions of attractiveness rarely reflected the near-anorexic standards of later decades.

I'd nominate the appearance of Twiggy as the pivot point in popular (as contrasted with haute cuisine) media portrayals of notably thin females as standards of beauty. At the time her lankiness was considered somewhat revolutionary, and a lot of folks scoffed at the notion she was beautiful (in a model-worthy way).

Prior to that, thin was not 'in'.

By the time another decade had passed (let's say the late 1970's ... ) buxom / curvaceous was trending 'out' and athletic / skinny was becoming 'in'. I don't recall female friends making catty comments about body form versus fashion (e.g., "She really shouldn't be wearing that") during the miniskirt boom of the mid-1960's, but it was quite common during the hot pants fad of the early 1970's.

I think a lot of the shift related to the rise of jogging / running / fitness craze and the swinging singles scene (e.g., disco madness) as the 1970's progressed - both of which spawned fashion trends, commercial interests, and trend-concious social pressures which progressively saturated pop culture and thus reinforced the new bias.

At the same time, sedentary lifestyles and dietary excesses turned those not enslaved to fashion into an increasingly hefty populace.

Both trends left the 'normal / medium' folks in a sort of grey area that no one highlights as either 'in' or 'out'.
 

merricat

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This image of Marilyn:

38-Rare-Color-Photos-of-Smiling-Marilyn-Monroe-that-You-May-Have-Never-Seen-Before-2.jpg

Marilyn_Monroe


Whilst very lovely, this physique wouldn't pass muster with modelling agencies or film castings today. The upper arms would be thinned out digitally along with the thighs, belly curves and nose. So whilst some of us may be growing larger, there's definitely a disconnect somewhere.
What the media projects is a much slimmer silhouette, some might say worryingly so, and this new ideal does appear to create a lot of tension and self image issues with the impressionable young (and older, I'm sure).

At the same time, however, people tout Marilyn's era as 'back when we were all much much slimmer!', which can seem confusing.
 

MorningAngel

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I read the other day that a third of kids are supposed to be obese now. I’m still not seeing them! The kids I see are the same mix of sizes as when I went to school eons ago, with the occasional larger kid. If you said kids today were less fit I could believe that with the playing fields being sold off and being chauffeured to school all the time. I just don’t see all these fat kids.

It did get me wondering if all the over the top paranoia about paedophiles being behind every bush and that people can’t take pictures of kids is it so we don’t realise we’re being fed :bs: about how kids are all over weight these days.
 

merricat

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Just re-reading this thread. A few thoughts:
I have noticed school aged teenagers seem to be much, much taller than previous generations. I think that I've been aware of this for quite a few years but hadn't actually formulated any concrete thoughts about it.
I'm sure that I read somewhere - no idea where - a while ago, that this was indeed a fact. And the reason given was 'better nutrition'.

If so, this does seem to fly in the face of our current perception of the infamously poor, highly processed western diet. How does this jive with better nutrition? Last I'd heard the typical processed diet was actually responsible for malnutrition. Now, the majority of the teenagers I see out and about locally are not obese or particularly overweight, but they are much taller than previous generations (to my eyes) and not at all willowy. The girls especially are towering over me at my so-called-average of 5'5. I am imagining the average has shifted..?

What element of our contemporary diet could be contributing to this height increase? My observations suggest that this isn't particularly class or income dependent, as it appears to be fairly evenly distributed across all groups, unlike typical manifestations of obesity.

An acquaintance of mine suggested it was something in the cow's milk, another blamed antibiotics in cattle. Myself, I haven't got a clue. But we might have to begin increasing the height of doorframes soon enough :D

Edit: Not sure if I am personally associating height increases as a 'positive' here, I am merely aware that culturally we tend to equate increased height with power, wealth, 'good' breeding and status, at least historically. Are these recent changes a positive manifestation, in your opinion?
 
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Salmonellus

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I was doing some reading on Australia's involvement in WWII, which involved looking at pictures of the troops posted there prior to the bombings. What struck me is how skinny they all looked. Remember these were not POW's or troops out in the field facing combat, they were Australian troops on Australian soil being fed by the Army.

darwin3.jpeg
Darwin1.jpeg
Darwin2.jpeg
Darwin4.jpeg


Celebrities like Monroe are not the best guide. Celebrities have always been a special case. The average man on the street was definitely thinner 80 years ago.
 
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PeteS

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Just re-reading this thread. A few thoughts:
I have noticed school aged teenagers seem to be much, much taller than previous generations. I think that I've been aware of this for quite a few years but hadn't actually formulated any concrete thoughts about it.
I'm sure that I read somewhere - no idea where - a while ago, that this was indeed a fact. And the reason given was 'better nutrition'.

If so, this does seem to fly in the face of our current perception of the infamously poor, highly processed western diet. How does this jive with better nutrition? Last I'd heard the typical processed diet was actually responsible for malnutrition. Now, the majority of the teenagers I see out and about locally are not obese or particularly overweight, but they are much taller than previous generations (to my eyes) and not at all willowy. The girls especially are towering over me at my so-called-average of 5'5. I am imagining the average has shifted..?

What element of our contemporary diet could be contributing to this height increase? My observations suggest that this isn't particularly class or income dependent, as it appears to be fairly evenly distributed across all groups, unlike typical manifestations of obesity.

An acquaintance of mine suggested it was something in the cow's milk, another blamed antibiotics in cattle. Myself, I haven't got a clue. But we might have to begin increasing the height of doorframes soon enough :D

Edit: Not sure if I am personally associating height increases as a 'positive' here, I am merely aware that culturally we tend to equate increased height with power, wealth, 'good' breeding and status, at least historically. Are these recent changes a positive manifestation, in your opinion?
I've noticed this height thing with regard to Ms P's grandaughter. She is 5' 8 in, now at the age of just turned 12 and apparently not the tallest girl in her class. There must be an explanation for this apparent height increase in the population. Diet must be at least part of the answer.
 

Ermintruder

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I have noticed school aged teenagers seem to be much, much taller than previous generations
Some explanations I have heard regarding this phenomenon have included:

- hybrid vigor. Mating pools of humanity no longer being restricted to localised gamete pairs. Isolated quasi-tribal breeding resulted in sub-optimised genetic outcomes, with shorter post-pubertal heights/earlier long-bone ossification. This is now overturned (though I fail to see precisely how this would make such a rapid difference, with lengthy intergenerational durations)

- extended exposure to light (artificial light extending the diurnal activity period). As well as neurological stimulation (pineal/hypothalamus etc) it has been proposed that rather than rising and sleeping with the sun, humanity has lit itself bigger (like battery hens and other intensive indoor farms)

- heat: cf domestic central heating. This has been provisionally-identified as being a significant contributor to obesity rates and general metabolic imbalance in Western society. This factor almost certainly expresses as being taller children, plus;

- exercise (lack of): there is some evidence that pre-pubertal relative physical inactivity results in reduced bone density, but longer/larger bones (general skeletal hypertrophy partially as a function of muscular underdevelopment, especially at antagonist joint/ limbs). Taller/weaker more-fragile humans, with higher centres of gravity (more prone to falling over, less good at escaping sabre-toothed tigers, but able to reach tall shelves so as to access their games controllers).

(ps some dementia studies are also implicating excessive intracranial heat as a contributor to that and a number of other neurodegenerative conditions. Adherents of plunge-pool swimming or other heat-calorie sapping activities are being identified as at greatly-reduced risk of dementia. I suspect that there are also many other contraindications involving heat: it is something of an addictive modern-day drugs substitute, and may yet be shown to have a locus in acquired neonatal conditions, perhaps even extending to a non-intrinsic model for ASD etc)
 
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Floyd1

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I'll tell you something; boobs are definitely fatter. Look at the crowd at any 1970s rock concert and check out the ladies.
I once heard the reason for this was something to do with what they put in milk/cattle nowadays.......
 

Mythopoeika

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Edit: Not sure if I am personally associating height increases as a 'positive' here, I am merely aware that culturally we tend to equate increased height with power, wealth, 'good' breeding and status, at least historically. Are these recent changes a positive manifestation, in your opinion?
Not necessarily positive... I'm thinking that taller people may need more food to keep them going. This could put a strain on food supplies, coffin manufacturers, bed suppliers, etc.
Sorry, tall people...
 

Tunn11

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I was doing some reading on Australia's involvement in WWII, which involved looking at pictures of the troops posted there prior to the bombings. What struck me is how skinny they all looked. Remember these were not POW's or troops out in the field facing combat, they were Australian troops on Australian soil being fed by the Army.

View attachment 62620View attachment 62621View attachment 62622View attachment 62623

Celebrities like Monroe are not the best guide. Celebrities have always been a special case. The average man on the street was definitely thinner 80 years ago.

They do but I guess you need to factor in where they were recruited from.

Are they all regular soldiers or conscripts, and if conscripts are they from a background of physical labour?

Also they would probably have been through at least basic training possibly the equivalent of "fat camp" today.

I'm not sure how obese you would have needed to be to be rejected either. I'm also guessing that training would be geared to endurance rather than brute strength which may produce a skinnier physique.
 

Mythopoeika

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I'll tell you something; boobs are definitely fatter. Look at the crowd at any 1970s rock concert and check out the ladies.
I once heard the reason for this was something to do with what they put in milk/cattle nowadays.......
I'll go round, checking out this theory. I'll let you know the results when I get out of prison.
 

merricat

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I was doing some reading on Australia's involvement in WWII, which involved looking at pictures of the troops posted there prior to the bombings. What struck me is how skinny they all looked. Remember these were not POW's or troops out in the field facing combat, they were Australian troops on Australian soil being fed by the Army.

View attachment 62620View attachment 62621View attachment 62622View attachment 62623

Celebrities like Monroe are not the best guide. Celebrities have always been a special case. The average man on the street was definitely thinner 80 years ago.

I see healthy looking young men, fit, with good muscle tone, certainly not skinny. I personally prefer this physique as a hetero female to the excessive 'built' look much favoured today, but this is just a shallow observation, I admit. Still, they look good to me!
 

Cochise

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Could 'being taller' be evolution? Or, rather than 'better nutrition' just more nutrition for more people in the growth stages?

The very thin female thing is pernicious.

As it happens most of my girlfriends have been small and petite (not that there have been that many).

My wife, OTOH, was beautifully curvy and would have gone down very well in the 1950's.. Unfortunately she had her teen years in the 70's and
she had been very hurt in her schooldays when she developed the way she did from a tomboy pre-teen, not to mention losing out on her hockey career to her younger sister who did stay petite (and was an under-21 goalie for England).

And yes, repeating my earlier opinion, BMI is nonsense.

I have seen something somewhere saying that female (at least) body shape is to some extent determined by current standards of desirableness by the opposite sex, and there has been an absolute male obsession with boobs for 60 years now. If we were still suffering from the Victorian obsession with narrow waists would we be seeing more tiny waists, or was it all down to corsets?

I personally am much more attracted to a nice backside, and my mate is a 60's leg man, has never got over the arrival of the mini skirt - although these days judging by nightlife in Liverpool they are now more mini than they ever were in the '60's.
 
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merricat

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Could 'being taller' be evolution? Or, rather than 'better nutrition' just more nutrition for more people in the growth stages?

The very thin female thing is pernicious.

As it happens most of my girlfriends have been small and petite (not that there have been that many).

My wife, OTOH, was beautifully curvy and would have gone down very well in the 1950's.. Unfortunately she had her teen years in the 70's and
she had been very hurt in her schooldays when she developed the way she did from a tomboy pre-teen, not to mention losing out on her hockey career to her younger sister who did stay petite (and was an under-21 goalie for England).

And yes, repeating my earlier opinion, BMI is nonsense.

I have seen something somewhere saying that female (at least) body shape is to some extent determined by current standards of desirableness by the opposite sex, and there has been an absolute male obsession with boobs for 60 years now. If we were still suffering from the Victorian obsession with narrow waists would we be seeing more tiny waists, or was it all down to corsets?

I personally am much more attracted to a nice backside, and my mate is a 60's leg man, has never got over the arrival of the mini skirt - although these days judging by nightlife in Liverpool they are now more mini than they ever were in the '60's.
I think men, largely, just like women's attributes, no matter which fashions reveal or disguise them. I know one guy who loves Victorian clothes on the ladies due to a fascination with the 'passion within, busting to get out':D
My ex was all about legs and bum, too. He was curiously laid back from the waist up, which is just as well since I am on the smaller side. His favourite clothes (on me) were skinny jeans and leggings, and I was rather attracted to him having to wear scrubs once. ..and hats, I love men in hats!

The 'ideal' male body shape has changed quite a bit since I was in my teens (early 90's), with much more emphasis on strength and muscle definition. I never liked six packs or arms so built that they can't lie down at one's sides comfortably. Current preferences just go over my head, especially shaved chests, etc. I'm not a fan of the gym body look, although I love the physique of men who practice yoga or martial arts.

There's a trend for large derrieres, inspired by the Hollywood look - You can even buy jeans or leggings now with pads inserted to boost your assets. For most women, it would be very, very difficult to cultivate an enormous backside without losing waist definition (you can't choose where weight accumulates), so perhaps there are more elective bum surgeries occurring than boob enhancements nowadays.
 

Cochise

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I think men, largely, just like women's attributes, no matter which fashions reveal or disguise them. I know one guy who loves Victorian clothes on the ladies due to a fascination with the 'passion within, busting to get out':D
My ex was all about legs and bum, too. He was curiously laid back from the waist up, which is just as well since I am on the smaller side. His favourite clothes (on me) were skinny jeans and leggings, and I was rather attracted to him having to wear scrubs once. ..and hats, I love men in hats!

The 'ideal' male body shape has changed quite a bit since I was in my teens (early 90's), with much more emphasis on strength and muscle definition. I never liked six packs or arms so built that they can't lie down at one's sides comfortably. Current preferences just go over my head, especially shaved chests, etc. I'm not a fan of the gym body look, although I love the physique of men who practice yoga or martial arts.

There's a trend for large derrieres, inspired by the Hollywood look - You can even buy jeans or leggings now with pads inserted to boost your assets. For most women, it would be very, very difficult to cultivate an enormous backside without losing waist definition (you can't choose where weight accumulates), so perhaps there are more elective bum surgeries occurring than boob enhancements nowadays.
My first absolute love (I messed it up, not her) was so embarrassed about her small boobs that she refused to take her bra off when we were - um - interacting. For a couple of months, anyway. Until I convinced her I wasn't going to laugh. Actually they were small but perfectly formed.

I mean , she looked like Debbie Harry for goodness sake. What sort of bloke would complain? I still go all gooey when someone plays 'Nights in White Satin' which we used to dance to.

But experience tells me love and shape have only minimal connections.
 
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Salmonellus

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Butt surgery is obviously a thing these days, but speaking as a straight male I'd have to say that I can't see the point.

Remember the cowboy cosmetic surgeon who was injecting women's backsides with concrete and superglue - obviously an extreme case, but if you look at the end result you just have to shake your head - I mean, look at these pictures:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4355326/Transgender-woman-injected-cement-buttocks.html

Not only were the methods appalling, the desired body shape is absolutely the opposite of attractive.
 

Mythopoeika

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Butt surgery is obviously a thing these days, but speaking as a straight male I'd have to say that I can't see the point.

Remember the cowboy cosmetic surgeon who was injecting women's backsides with concrete and superglue - obviously an extreme case, but if you look at the end result you just have to shake your head - I mean, look at these pictures:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4355326/Transgender-woman-injected-cement-buttocks.html

Not only were the methods appalling, the desired body shape is absolutely the opposite of attractive.
Seen that before - what a mess.
Only 10 years in prison.
 

Cochise

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Butt surgery is obviously a thing these days, but speaking as a straight male I'd have to say that I can't see the point.

Remember the cowboy cosmetic surgeon who was injecting women's backsides with concrete and superglue - obviously an extreme case, but if you look at the end result you just have to shake your head - I mean, look at these pictures:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4355326/Transgender-woman-injected-cement-buttocks.html

Not only were the methods appalling, the desired body shape is absolutely the opposite of attractive.
Yes, it's exactly wrong. Deranged, even.
 

catseye

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York
I think there's a much bigger tendency to flash the flesh these days. When I was a nipper (back in the 60s), apart from the occasional bikini on the beach (and a lot of older women (ie, beyond their early 20's) wore one piece suits) most clothing was designed to cover up the body. I'm talking about day to day clothing, the sort of thing you'd wear out in the street, not nightclub wear. Apart from the miniskirt, most people wore slightly fitted but ample clothing. Nowadays girls come into the shop in little more than a crop top and shorts, regardless of their size. You can buy them in all sizes. In the past, 'larger' fashion was limited to more enveloping clothes.

So I think it may be a contributing factor, that anyone of any size can wear any clothes, so we are seeing more bodies on display.
 
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