So in conclusion, I would like to ask the quesion. What is beauty? Is in something intrinsic to man, or is it simply some social construct devoid of any inherent value. I think that given the differences in cultures and times beauty is relativistic and subjective. As I previously stated. ”Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.
The indian “nath” or bridal nose ring got a lot of media attention recently. Singer Katy Perry and Russel Brand got hitched, and Katy wore one. In indian culture the Nath was consider beautiful. The ring was removed by the husband on their wedding night. Signifying the end of his new brides virginity
I’m sure this video is a popular one. I can’t help but point out the fact that if beauty is an unattainable social construct then the only outcome is failure. Failure to live up to the standards that society has raised. This commercial really points to the fact that the media created a completely unrealistic idea of beauty. So women (and men too) go to great lengths to reach this goal, that is just a sham anyway. An interesting thought is if beauty continues to change with culture/technology/time what will be considered beautiful in america in fifty years?
Of course no discussion of how the concept of how beauty has changed with time and culture is complete without a discussion about the corset. The corset or “stays” as is the more correct term of its era was first seen in used in the 16th century. Nothing is more iconic than a sharp-waisted victorian cage that restricted physiologic function. I find it interesting to note that it isn’t even until the late 1800’s that we find this icon. Prior to this women more or less maintained their natural form. Today in order to achieve this hour glass shape deemed beautiful by society women simply indulge in plastic surgery; breast enhancement, buttocks implants and liposuction.
When thin WASN’T in. It is amazing to me that prior to the 1900’s it wasn’t assumed that in order to be beautiful you had to be skinny-as-a-toothpick. The attached photo is of the famed beauty Bianca Cappello. A Venetian noblewoman and Duchess of Tuscany, she is immortalized in the work by Thomas Middleton “Women Beware Women”. Apparently in 1574 thin and bronzed wasn’t the standard of beauty.
Another infamous national geographic picture. Foot binding. According to the attached article the practice of binding women’s feet in china began in 700 a.d. and continued until it was banned in 1911. In addition to being deemed beautiful by men it was also virtually impossible for a women to find a man who would marry her without having her feet bound. Where are the feet binding for men? The processes would start when the girls were young and the bandages would gradually tighten. However, if you were poor then unfortunately then the binding took place later. This meant that the bones of the foot had to be broken in order to keep the foot under the desired three inches.
In a Northwest Africa thin is not pretty. In fact it’s downright ugly. The article i’ve attached even says that mothers will take a comb to their daughters arms in order to simulate stretch marks.
The Murle People of Sudan cover their faces and bodies with intricate scars in order to appear attractive.