As the Olympics kick off in England and the images of well-toned athletes make their ways into living rooms across America, there’s one refrain certain to be uttered: “I wish I had a body like that.”
Aspirations to a more perfect body, of course, have a long history in America. In the 19th century, the science of “nasology” set out to describe a person’s character – based on the shape of his or her nose. And in the past 200 years, the pendulum of what makes the perfect weight has swung from one extreme to the other. On this episode, we’ll take a look at what Americans have seen when they’ve looked in the mirror, and explore some of the lengths to which people have gone to achieve their ideal physiques.
Please help us shape this show by leaving a comment below. Are there any beauty traditions you’re curious about? Have you and your parents or grandparents ever talked about what “beautiful” means? Do your opinions differ? Let us know!