Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Unrealistic Ideas of Beauty

In her article ‘Beauty and Body Modification’, Martin Donohoe gives numerous examples throughout history of unrealistic ideas of beauty. These include the following:
  • In ancient China, the 4-inch "lotus foot" was considered a sign of perfect beauty, leading to the barbaric practice of foot-binding.
  • Women in ancient Egypt, Rome and Persia used applied the heavy metal to make their eyes sparkle since this was considered attractive.
  • In Elizabethan times a woman with a high forehead was considered beautiful and so women plucked or shaved their frontal hairs to achieve this look.
  • During the 18th century, vermilion rouge, concocted of sulphur and mercury, was popular for improving a woman’s appearance. Women knowingly embraced this even though they knew it resulted in lost teeth and gingivitis.
  • From the 14th to 19th centuries, corseting was a popular practice. It involved compressing the bosom and constricting the waist with tightly wound whalebone on a steel frame. This led to difficulty in breathing which caused many women to faint.
Unrealistic ideals of female beauty are seen today in the novel idea that an attractive woman must be thin, and the war against the body that this breeds in such things as unhealthy dieting.

I am told the average woman today devote around 19 minutes per day altering her face. And let’s not forget the whole body modification and tattoo industry.

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