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Voluptuous Venus figurines from Ice Age Europe and Asia suggest that ancient people coveted obese women during lean times.
“Some of the earliest art in the world are these mysterious figurines of overweight women from the time of hunter gatherers in Ice Age Europe, where you would not expect to see obesity at all,” said Dr. Richard Johnson, of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, in his study on prehistoric fat fetishism published Thursday in the journal “Obesity.”
But those who the modern-day fetish community now refer to as “feeders” or “chubby chasers” once had a much different reason behind their sex appeal.
Johnson’s team hypothesized that the ample figures, which number over 200 pieces that date between 14,000 and 38,000 years old, were viewed as symbols of survival during an epoch of extreme climate change.
“During this period, humans faced advancing glaciers and falling temperatures that led to nutritional stress, regional extinctions and a reduction in the population,” wrote the researchers.
To test out their theory, the scientists measured the plus-sized statues’ waist-to-hip and waist-to-shoulder ratios against the distance of the glaciers at the time.
They found that “body size proportions were highest when the glaciers were advancing, whereas obesity decreased when the climate warmed and glaciers retreated,” according to Johnson. He deduced that “they conveyed ideals of body size for young women, and especially those who lived in proximity to glaciers.”
Specifically, the totems epitomized the virtues of husky gals, whose bountiful bodies could shield them from the freezing temperatures.
Cold-insulation wasn’t the only reason that ancient people praised the lard. The tubby talismans were also viewed as symbols of fecundity as “increased fat would provide a source of energy during gestation through the weaning of the baby and as well as much needed insulation,” according to the study.
In fact, many of the well-fed fertility idols were also well-worn, indicating that they were heirlooms passed down through generations “to help improve fertility and survival of the mother and newborns,” according to Johnson.
“The aesthetics of art thus had a significant function in emphasizing health and survival to accommodate increasingly austere climatic conditions,” the study concluded.
If that wasn’t progressive enough, a recent study found that ancient female hunters played a crucial role in putting meat on the table.
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