Beauty Comes in Many Shapes, Sizes and Colors
Kind of weird, because the body shape just described actually sounds like a pubescent boy with a couple of cartoonish breasts up top- about as far from the natural woman’s figure as you can get.
Sixty years ago, a body this twiggy and athletic would not have been considered beautiful; instead a beautiful woman had an hourglass figure with hips that would knock you to outer space and breasts that would point the way. Hair was likely set in curlers and didn’t move much at all, and bellies were a okay- men wanted their women to be soft, à la
Four hundred years before that, the ideal beautiful woman was even bigger, with voluptuous breasts and hips and a belly and lumps and bumps and jiggles all over the place. This type of body shape connotes affluence and plenty of food to eat, and the painter Rubens spent his days painting canvas after canvas of these grandiose women with their lovely lady lumps on proud and delicious display.
What does this mean?
It means that a very large part of what humans think of as beautiful is made up. There is no objective standard for beauty; sure we all like symmetrical and healthy humans, but besides that, ideas of beautiful hair color, skin color, makeup, clothes and even body shape is made up by our culture.
Our society creates these “cultural constructs” of beauty for many reasons. In the flapper days, women were exploring a newfound freedom and cut their hair short along with their hems to celebrate it. After
Growing up and surrounded by beauty magazines and TV advertisements, females are taught to constantly compare themselves. Your hair is shiny, but it could be shinier. Your boobs are average size- but don’t you want them bigger? Your legs are pale – didn’t you hear the rumor that tan skin is in?
These may sound like sales pitches, and that’s because they are. The beauty industry in America is a multi-million dollar behemoth that functions only because you feel bad about the way you look. If every woman in this country suddenly loved her natural appearance, our economy might possibly crash. A whole lot of people are making a whole lot of money off the fact that you think your hair should be blonder, your skin should be darker, and your stomach needs a six-pack. People with low self-esteem buy more stuff they don’t need, and many companies want to make sure you stay down.
But now it is time to reclaim feminine beauty as our own. You are beautiful just the way you are, no matter how many advertisements imply otherwise. Learn to love your unique characteristics instead of trying to achieve someone else’s ideal of perfection. If you can do this, your beauty will shine from within- and that is something that cannot be bought or sold.
Shilo Urban is a freelance writer who has relocated to Los Angeles after her previous homes of Seattle, New Zealand, Paris, Maine, and Austin. She is an active member of the West Coast electronic music community and lives to promote the art that she loves and the people who create it.