Classic beauty. What does that even mean? It implies something timeless. Something unchanging. An ideal which remains fixed throughout history.
Recently, this video has been showing up everywhere on the web. It’s worth watching. And it’s worth shoving under the nose of anyone who ever uses the phrase ‘classic beauty’. How can there be a standard of ‘classic beauty’ when the notions of beauty vary between country, era, racial type and culture? These ideals shown in the video are just a few examples, and it’s worth remembering that they are – with the exception of two early ones – white standards of female ‘classic’ beauty.
I was all set to head off on a rant about this video, but earlier today I realised that someone else got there before me and covered issues I’ve blogged about myself in the past on CSSB. Such as how we feel obliged to blame our bodies for things which are only problems in the eyes of the media or fashion industry. And how people assume that those who are ‘blessed’ with a thin body type don’t understand suffering. Or how being thin is something that should be intrinsically associated with celebration.
Learning to love our bodies is a difficult process, because it stands in opposition every message we hear from the media. Of all women, if all girls, learned to love their bodies in ways which couldn’t be challenged, whole industries would collapse, because they would fail and be pointless. Entire industries and business empires are founded upon the principle of training women to want to be something different to what they are. You achieved the plump and curvy look? Congratulations – ‘stick thin’ is the new thing, go lose all that weight you just treasured. Just had breast implants? Tough luck girls, Twiggy is the new fashion icon. Managed to make your skin colour translucent beyond porcelain paleness? Off to the tanning salon with you and don’t come back until you’re the colour of cinder toffee!
It’s the same with clothes and makeup too. No sooner have we invested in mini skirts, than maxi skirts take over. We’ve just learned to love boot cut jeans and suddenly skinny jeans are everywhere. Neon colour one season, pastels the next. It took me 15 years to get over the hell of leggings in my teens but now suddenly they’re back in fashion again. From lip gloss to lipstick, from eye liner to eye shadow, from manicures to false nails – changing trends only exist for one reason; to remind women that they can never achieve perfection and never reach satisfaction in terms of the way they look*[Got something to say? Submit to Project Shandy]*