Today in Senior Seminar we discussed the notion of beauty. Who determines what is considered beautiful? Why is something considered beautiful at one time and not at another?
The idea of Beauty is dependant on the culture and time in which we live. For instance, at one time overweight was considered beautiful. Why? Because someone who was overweight was well fed and thus could produce offspring. Youth was beautiful. Fertility was beautiful. Look at all of the paintings of Rubenesque women from the Renaissance. These women were full figured -- the ideal of health.
It was also during this time that women with fair skin were considered beautiful. Those who worked in the fields were tanned. So those who were fair skinned could have a leisure lifestyle and be well-fed. Marie-Antoinette's mole was not beautiful -- until it ended up on her face. Does this indicate that those who were wealthy were considered beautiful?
Sammlung der Kunstakademie Düsseldorf NRW
I don't know the answer to that, but it does make me consider what has been considered beautiful in more recent years. At one time, tan was considered beautiful (didn't need to work indoors at a typewriter). Now, due to skin cancer, tan is no longer considered beautiful. Now athletic is beautiful - as these people could afford a personal trainer. So, is it related to wealth? Maybe.
Think about what else is determined by wealth - size of houses (McMansions), large cars, spreading lawns.....
The lawn is a rather new idea. Once again, the lawn was an indicator of wealth. Those who were not wealthy grew food. Those who were wealthy could afford formal gardens and lawns. Gardens would be hidden the rear of the house. Now we grow lawns instead of food. We put fertilizers on our lawns and carefully tend them. We water for what? Appearance. The notion of beauty. A notion of beauty that was determined by the wealthy.
Can we (instead of celebrities or the wealthy) decide what is beautiful? Let's take back beauty. Let's determine for ourselves. I have decided to dig up my useless lawn and am planning an urban edible landscape. Food. Food is beautiful.