The ‘ideal woman’ in 1912 weighed 171 lbs and loved beefsteak

Hats off to Bowery Boys for uncovering this one: A New York Times article from 1912 about “the ideal woman,” which highlights a curvy Brooklyn girl enrolled at Cornell University.

Out of 400 girls at the school, editors named Elsie Scheel the “most nearly perfect specimen of womanhood.” Weighing in at 171 lbs, Scheel had a “decidedly pear-shaped figure (it measured 35-30-40),” and preferred beefsteak over candy or “delicacies.” Her interests: motoring, basketball, horticulture and women’s suffrage.

On the weirder side, Scheel ate “but three meals in two days and almost always goes without breakfast,” had reportedly never been sick, and believed “girls would be happier if they got over their fear of things.” She also thought the girls at Sage College “work too hard at their studies and too late at night.”

It’s always nice to be reminded that “the ideal girl” hasn’t always been impossibly thin and busty. It’s also nice to see that the New York Times has improved their standards for what they consider “news” in the last 100 years.

The article is published in a book called College Girls: Bluestockings, Sex Kittens, and Co-eds, Then and Now, by Lynn Peril. Read the whole clip here.


(via Gothamist)