It might be hard to believe that not-so-long ago (Ok, 100 years is a PRETTY long time), this was America’s idea of a bombshell. Changes in taste, media, body type, and social values have made the evolution of American sex symbols a constant.
Even decade over decade, the changes are evident. When you stretch the observation out over 100 years, you’ll be shocked to see how this notion has changed.
Try to imagine what the ideal will be in another 50 years. Or even 10. It’s anyone’s guess, really.
This is Evelyn Nesbit. She was a pinup girl way back in the 1900s, and, as you can see, they left much to the imagination. But that expression is pretty timeless.
As technology advanced, we saw our first “Hollywood” sex symbol in Theda Bara, who played the role of Cleopatra back in the beginning of film in the 1910s.
Pola Negri was an actress from Poland, but she made a huge splash in the States back in the 1920s.
The next decade, it was German import Marlene Dietrich who took Hollywood, and America, by storm in the 1930s.
Rita Hayworth took the torch in the 1940s and her mass appeal was even referenced in the Hollywood classics
The Shawshank Redemption and LA Confidential.
Marilyn Monroe may have embodied the term better than any woman before or since, taking 1950s society by storm, with her share of fans AND critics.
Afterwards, Raquel Welch went a little more bare for her role in
One Million Years B.C. in the 1960s, and “scantily clad” became the norm for sex symbols since.
Brigitte Bardot came over from France, but stole the show in America as a singer, model, and actress, paving the way for multi-hyphenate entertainers since.
Then, Ursula Andress introduced an entirely new brand of sexual icon, the Bond girl, in the 60s.
This image of Farrah Fawcett adorned the wall of what seemed to be every teenage boy in the ’70s after distinguishing herself as the most famous Charlie’s Angel.
That same decade, we got the namesake of short-short-short jeans with Catherine Bach, who played Daisy Duke in
The Dukes of Hazzard.
Ahh, the ’80s. Two teens compiled their ideal woman in
Weird Science, and America seemed to agree with their choices, making Kelly LeBrock a star.
Bo Derek also gave braids a good name (briefly) in the Dudley Moore pic
10 in ’79, but her fame peaked in the ’80s as well, so we’ll call her an ’80s icon.
You might not be quite as familiar with the name Natassja Kinski, but this pic with a slithery snake was a very big deal during the Reagan years.
Kate Moss was the face of Calvin Klein (and seemingly everything else) in a career that started in the early ’90s and is still kicking to this day.
No woman has defined the term “supermodel” more than Cindy Crawford did in the 1990s, crossing over into commercials that made her beauty inescapable in throughout the decade, landing her a hosting gig on MTV’s
House of Style.
Then, we take a big jump to the 2000s when Kate Upton took America by storm by re-introducing us to the idea of the curvy bombshell that was so prevalent in the ’40s and ’50s. She almost takes us full circle (though she’s a lot more bare than her predecessors).
Who would you pick for this decade? And have we seen anyone who’s a candidate for the 2020s?