Are You the Perfect Woman?


Elsie Scheel was crowned the perfect woman by Cornell University in December of 1912. Before photoshop was even a thought The Times called Scheel “the most nearly perfect physical specimen of womanhood.” She also consumed beefsteak, never drank tea or coffee and was interested in cars, horticulture and was a suffragette.

Scheel, who was picked from a group of 400 Cornell women was 5ft. 7in. tall and weighed 171 pounds. It is safe to say that culture of 1912 held a very different ideal of female physical perfection than the one we see promoted today in the majority of women’s magazines, and in movies. In January 2010, blogger Kate Harding calculated what Scheel’s BMI would have been. She wrote:

Miss Elsie Scheel’s BMI would have been 26.8, placing her squarely in today’s dreaded “overweight” category. At Banana Republic, to pick a random contemporary store, she would wear a size 8 top, a 12/14 bottom, and probably a 12 dress with the bust taken in.

I wonder how being labeled a “perfect woman” in the newspapers affected Elsie’s life. Back about the time Ms. Scheel was born, Lillian Russell (American Actress and Singer b. 1861 d.1922) was considered the most beautiful woman in America. At the height of her fame Russell was 5′ 6″ and weighed 180 lbs. Remember that, in 1912, “thin” equaled “sick.” The inference would have been that if someone was thin it was because they suffered from tuberculosis or some other incurable wasting disease. Fifteen years after that, the ideal woman was shorter and completely flat chested. Fast forward to 2012 and the general consensus among the “experts” would be:

“Poor girl. She desperately needs to lose at least 40 pounds”!

In my opinion the problem with some women today is that they all want to follow that “model body” or “teenager body” regimen. They aren’t even fat, yet, they feel they need to look like match sticks. In reality every woman is perfect and it doesn’t matter what your body size is. If you go to My Body Gallery and type in your weight and height you will see what normal women looks like.

Back in 1912 they didn’t have magazine covers with photoshopped women to create unreal expectations on men and other women. I honestly can’t wait to see “Miss Perfect 2015”

Will she be a size -5?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. After all, even the models we see in magazines wish they could look like their own images.

(Christina Ricci)

Linda Secaspina- Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac

About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

3 responses »

  1. The photo on my left looks as if there is a soul in there (human) – on my right, the photo looks like a Stepford wife. Am I showing my age? Possibly.


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