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This Is What the Perfect Male Body Looked Like in the 1870s

If you’re anything like us, every once in a while when it seems impossible to maintain the long, jet-black eyelashes, perfectly styled hair and slim figure today’s society says is “pretty,” you sigh a little bit and wish beauty standards could be more like another decade. Big hair of the 80’s? Sign us up! Celebrating curves a la Marilyn Monroe? Please and thank you.

Yes, today’s beauty standards and body ideals can be an absolute headache, but we’re not the only ones at the whim of new rules every decade. The idea of what the “ideal” male body looks like has been changing alongside the standards for women this whole time–and they have plenty of cause to complain, too.

From round to incredibly muscular, the changing idea of the “perfect” male body has been captured by artist Nickolay Lamm (the creator of the Lammily doll) in 3D mockups, and the changes from generation to generation are drastic. A wide waist and a rounder stomach were considered ideal in the 1870s, as they were a sign of wealth and status, yet not even 100 years later, this whittled down to a tiny, slim physique that generally went hand-in-hand with drug abuse (much like the “heroine chic” that was en vogue for women in the 1990s).

Since the 1990s, the ideal” frame for a man is lean and muscular, a shape that both men and women still value 20 years later. Lean and muscular with a BMI around 25 was found to be the “perfect” body by a 2012 study.

So let’s all breathe a little easier. At one point or another that feature you dislike about your body was probably a sign of beauty. Make sure you tell the hubby he’s handsome exactly the way he is, too.

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