‘The idea that beauty is unimportant is the real beauty myth.’ – Nancy Etcoff
Queen Nefertiti, Ancient Egypt, ca.1370 – ca. 1330 BC
‘Beauty is something very personal that you sense and respond to on a deep level. It’s hard to define, but when you see it, you feel it very strongly and are moved by it. The beauty I love is in people who look real. A beauty that is pure, natural and not glamorized.’ – Calvin Klein
Well, thank you, Mr. Klein, for this inspiring saying which seemingly opposes everything we know. Isn’t is funny, really, that today more than ever images of fabricated beauty are forced upon us. With all the filters and airbrushing and perfect lightning how can we even know what a real human being, and not woman only, actually looks like? The standards are cruel and unyielding, yet no one dares to say this perfection we are supposedly aiming at is nothing but simply boring, lacking personality and uniqueness.
Sappho, Ancient Greece, ca. 630. (612?) – 570 BC
‘Some people prefer to look as if they hadn’t experienced life. My questions is why?’ – Diane Keaton
Paris Bordon, Venetian Women at their Toilet, about 1545.
Ironic as it seems, but in today’s day and age, when we have all the information of this world and it is no more a challenge to learn anything and improve oneself, we remain blissfully ignorant to the beauty myth created by corporations with one aim only: to keep us obedient consumers. Indeed, the story of perfect weight – which is, actually, unnatural – is not the story of beauty but one of obedience. Corporations are keeping us hungry – and instead of accepting ourselves for what we are – imperfect but unique and special, we tend to force ourselves to conform to unrealistic norms in attempt to reach the fleeting ideal of perfect beauty – which is not existing. When we strip off the makeup and undo the imaging, what remains is the average, yet underweight, human.
Today, when we have such an abundance of food, why do we starve ourselves?
Lesley Lawson, a.k.a. Twiggy, famous sixties’ English model, born 1949.
At the same time, men are not supposed to be beautiful. Charming, yes. Masculine, yes. But not strictly beautiful like women are. Moreover, the standards of masculine beauty have not changed dramatically through ages, and are only beginning to happen recently.
Forties’ beauty pageant
Why is it that a woman not being mainstream beautiful goes invisible?
And why is it that mainstream beauty is ever changing, so we end up never being beautiful enough?
What is it that makes us feel so insecure and forces us to conform to the unnatural norms?
What is it that we aim to achieve by streaming to attain beauty?
Portrait of Olimpia Losiowa, 1818-1820.
We realize just how ridiculous these standards are when we explore them through history: from curvalicious renaissance women, to twiggy and today’s Victoria’s Secret models whose only secret is that they are hungry. Really hungry.
Titian, Venus and the Lute Player (1565–1570)
Besides, isn’t it funny how the image of beautiful men has not changed over time – as opposed to constant transformation of female image.
Are women better buyers or are we simply more self-conscious?
What is beauty, in its core?
‘ I don’t know why we narrow the definition of beauty so much that we are all reduced to having complexes and feeling inadequate.’ – Isabella Rosellini
It was once said how beauty is in the eye of beholder and I cannot agree more. Once we distinguish visually pleasing from beautiful we get on the right page, because more often than not we have been drawn to people who might not have been as visually pleasing as the standard we have been succumbed to. Beauty is, in the end, not about symmetry, shape or color, but rather the attitude we have and energy we radiate.
Monica Bellucci, Italian actress, born 1964.
It is how you feel about yourself that shapes and creates your beauty.