An Incomplete History Of Body Trends, According To “The New York Times”

NYMag.com's The Cut / August 29, 2012

Last week The New York Times “Style” section reported that legs — “exposed legs, smooth and coltish” — are “tak[ing] their turn” as the body’s trendiest part. To the casual reader, it might seem strange that something as universally desirable as shapely legs could be having a moment. On the other hand, what took them so long? Hominids went bipedal, what, 4 million years ago? But to focus on such details would be to lose sight of the singular joys of the body trend story, a staple of the Times Style section.

Media critics have long delighted in dissecting the Times’ so-called “bogus trend story,” like The Great Unwashed, House Parties with Bartenders (“It’s My Sh-Bam”), and The Momshell. The body trend piece makes these tightrope walks of anecdotal journalism look simple. It doesn’t look at trends in body types; that would be too easy. Rather, the body trend story seamlessly folds individual parts of the human body — standard issue and inescapable though they are — into the familiar cycle of fashion trending. Hemlines up, hemlines down, eyebrows in, eyebrows out. Read more …