This is not new to Western culture. As feudal law gave way to centralized government and a focus on the value of education and culture over brute strength, the distinction between masculine and feminine was made clearer through styles of dress. In the upper classes, the woman's dress greatly limited physical movement. The practice of corseting took feminine shape and restricted it into something considered more sophisticated, with only the lower classes who did not have servants to dress them or needed to be able to move freely remaining shaped by nature.
That said, I have pierced ears, a tattoo, and have been dying my hair since I was 18. I like my bra to give a nice lift, I shave my legs every so often, love pedicures, and like how I look in heels. I love historical costume and have been an active participant in historical reenactment as a noble of Queen Elizabeth's court, complete with corset, farthingale, bumroll, etc... I am not criticizing fashion or fashionistas or those who have plastic surgery (though excessive use can be considered a pathology). I am merely identifying that body modification is alive and well in the modern world and has been growing and changing for some time.
The image below is a time line of fashionable silhouettes. You can really see the changing standards of beauty in regard to body shape. Notice that after 1820, the male shape stayed more or less the same: functional.
I decided to add this post because I noticed that the majority of my A-Z posts were aimed at comedy and/or for shock value. During my regularly scheduled posting, while I do indulge my sense of humor, I also like to approach the historical and social aspect of my writing. My stories all stemmed from my love of history and my love of history is directly related to my love of costuming.