Contemplating your belly button at length does not mean you know where it really is. If navel gazing was never an abiding passion, you still might be surprised to know just where that anatomical feature rests undisturbed on your frame.
A female’s navel is located below the waist and the male‘s is located at or above the waist. Why the disparity? Essentially, the female waist is higher in the torso (allowing sufficient space for the womb and pregnancy), while the male waist is lower (creating a longer back for better leverage in lifting). As a result, the female body’s center of balance is located at their hips and the male body’s is at their shoulders. Have you noticed that for the most part, moms carry their child on the hip, but dads might carry that same child on their shoulders?
Perhaps you remember the exercise in your high school biology class where the girls could lift a chair and the boys could not? Place a light chair against a wall. Have each one in turn lean over the chair at a right angle, the legs positioned absolutely vertical, the back as horizontal as possible, the head touching the wall, and then try to pick up the chair while straightening up. Ninety five percent of boys are unable to do so. Unless they push back a bit to start the momentum, or their legs are not vertical but are angled slightly back from the wall, they are completely off balance and quite incapable of lifting the chair and coming to a standing position simultaneously. The girls just pick up the chair and stand up. Easy peasy!
So, you budding artists, the next time you draw a nude, please do keep this essential anatomical tidbit in mind.
Adapted from an article in the “Massey Fine Arts” newsletter Vol. 6 No. 1, Winter © 1998, 2022 by Ann James Massey, SWA, CPSA, UKCPS, AAPL
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