Yum yum, love that tum
Out with washboard stomachs - what could be more womanly than a softly rounded belly? Louis Solloway on why the sexiest stars won't be doing sit-ups
Sunday 15 March 1998
And she's not the only one. Nicely rounded celebrity bellies are now being flaunted with a perky, so-what sensuality that makes yesterdays anorexic washboards look painfully impoverished. A radiant, post-childbirth Madonna; Bjork, her paunch often seen peeking out from a cut-off top; Sandra Bullock, who has waxed lyrical about her love of a well-pronounced tummy; Sophie Dahl and Alicia Silverstone, who can hardly be called svelte.
But it is to another English actress that we should turn for confirmation of changing attitudes. For years, Helena Bonham Carter was typecast in frumpy Edwardian film roles. You would never even get a flash of an ankle, let alone a glimpse of her stomach. Then came Wings of the Dove and a change of heart. Helena bared all - boobs, bum, the lot. And there in the middle, gently plumped like a favourite pillow, a normal, rounded, womanly pot.
According to Wayne Hemingway, head of design at Red or Dead, this is not soon enough. People are bored, even repulsed, by washboard stomachs on models, actresses and pop stars - especially if the navel has been "stretched", as he puts it, in a riot of piercing. "Women with bellies look like they're proper women," he says, "like they could have a child in there to add to the human race."
In her book, Women on Sex, the relationship psychologist Susan Quilliam reported that up to 98 per cent of females were unhappy with their midriffs. "To have a flat tummy is the only way to be," she says. Quilliam traces this back to the Sixties and a misreading of feminism whereby "being one of the lads, an equal companion as opposed to a wife, meant having a stomach like them".
But history shows we have been bucking an historical trend. Rubens nudes were thought highly sensual. Some of the most sublime representations of women in art - the sculpture of Rodin, Renoir's nudes - have had a pot. Belly dancing, for all its seedy connotations in Britain, is an age- old erotic art. Finally, in the Nineties our perceptions of womanly beauty may be veering back from the pinched and preened towards the natural. So all eyes will be on Kate's Oscar frock. Here's hoping it clings in all the right places.
Life & Style blogs
Astrological signs are almost all wrong, as movement of moon and sun throws out zodiac
Professional wine tasters putting teeth at risk, study finds
Clocks change: how to make sure iPhone and smartphones automatically ‘spring forward’
NHS property sale could raise £7.5bn to help pay off its growing deficit and free up space for housing
Gay marriage, one year on: Couples mark first anniversary of same-sex marriages
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 3 Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...