Plus Size Women Throughout History: Venus of Willendorf
When faced with the challenging task of writing a Plus Size History, I can’t help but return to pull out my rather large Archaeology books from University. In the past, plus size women have been represented in all kinds of lights and believe me, there are some incredibly positive images of these fabulous women. I suppose going chronologically one of the first figurines representing these fabulous women is the Venus of Willendorf, a sculpture figurine dating back to the Palaeolithic period. Here she is for all of us to behold:
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Although little is known about Venus, archaeologists have associated this plus size beauty with connotations of fertility and womanhood. The figure’s face is really non existent, and I have to admit it’s wonderful to see so much positivity based on purely the beauty of the body. In this case, Venus has a cracking pair, and much like me, must have been partial to a slice of cake. Venus was small enough to be carried in your pocket and therefore carried from site to site for many to oogle over. I think the most beautiful part of this object is the fact that Venus is naked. Whoever carved this item was embracing and embodied their ideal form of beauty, and in this case the pure naked human form. So why has the carver picked a fuller figured model? Consider the time in which this was made, food was NOT a given, you couldn’t pop to Tesco for your microwave korma. The fact is, Venus is pretty plump and this represents her as a healthy, wealthy individual.
Since this period, there has been a huge development in the images of sexuality, what represents ‘womanhood’ and what is ‘normal’. I hope to explore this and I’d love for you to take the journey with me.