Here's one observer whose answer is: Yes. The evidence is all around us.
Consider what America looked like 100 years ago. Clothes were heavier, fuller and more concealing ...furniture was thicker, weightier and more imposing...cars were far heftier and boxy... novels packed thick sentences of 30 and 40 words....magazines and newspapers were stuffed with them from margin to margin with few if any photos.... needless to say, men and women were girthier and often proud of it [as in "that's the look of prosperity."]
In general it was an Edwardian time in which ladies featured large hairstyles, bosoms, and accoutrement, while gentlemen featured the addition of hats, spats, vests and canes. With a brief exception during the Twenties, thin was usually a sign of deprivation. Largess was what the well-to-do wanted to project.
Largess even filled our theaters and movies which were largely dialog-driven. Back then, actors usually had a lot to say, and said it in long entire sentences. Just like correspondents wrote letters in entire sentences. Living rooms and dining rooms were likewise expansive; in their case with extra furniture pieces, overhanging plants, potted palms, fulsome draperies and deep-plush carpeting.
If you were born anytime after WWII, you would find that older America hard to recognize. Most everything about it was lets say 20% heavier than today -- from bodies to clothing to furniture to books to advertising. Nothing like today's passion for thin, lean, sparing and our less-is-best catechisms.
Of course, you needn't bother poring through sociological tomes to verify this theory. Just do what I do. Sit in a Chicago park where you can behold Thinness on its very own terms. From scanty bikinis to scanty conversations. Then again, at my age and weight, perhaps this is just envy talking. Let me try a few more bikinis to be sure.
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