While we all come in different sizes and every body is unique, experts have identified four basic body shapes that all women fall into. Body shapes are largely determined by bone structure, genetics and age and, while lifestyle factors make a huge difference to the dimensions of your body, it can be difficult to change your basic shape.
Today, we're looking at a society of females prepared to go to extreme lengths to comply with the so-called ideal - an ideal which is realistically unobtainable for most. Alba's tight-lacing routine was a response not-only to the pressure desire to achieve an hourglass figure, but also to trim down to her pre-baby weight in record speed.
We have come to directly associate beauty with appearance over time, so that now no one would use the word to praise somebody's personality. Maybe that is the starting point, each of us this week need to use the word when talking about something non physical. We need to reclaim the word, something marvellous, amazing, outstanding. We need to close our eyes and see the beauty.
This fairly harmless impulse to look good has been leapt upon by diet companies and magazines as some annual ritual, as if getting in shape or being healthy the rest of the year matters not. My key gripe, is that it sums up the biggest problem with exercise and diet: that it is primarily to lose weight.
It's barely spring and already I've started getting emails about summer - or should I say 'bikini season'. Here's fair warning: anyone who pings me a message with those two words in the subject line should expect an instant redirect to the trash folder. I hate the term - am completely sick of it - and here's why.
The question should have been... Does Barbie need to gain some more realistic measurements? Instead what we have is shock and shame tactics, that use a caricature image to represent a plus size woman that is already marginalised and ridiculed by the media and once again opens the industry up to mockery. Essentially what we're left with is one extreme to another.