Sunday, June 10, 2007

A memorable beauty

Every time I'm faced with the topic of feminine beauty, I'm reminded of a class I took at Slippery Rock University. I've since transferred to Chatham, which was ultimately a completely refreshing decision regarding self-worth, but there remain a few benefits regarding the larger university.

After discussing the subject of beauty ideals, the professor (who remains a favorite, and, of course, was only kept under contract for a year and left when I had), looked to the men in the class. They were all riled up after discussing big breasts and tight waists, models and bikinis, Jessica Simpson and other mutants.

My professor laughed along with them, almost cynically, and then his stare intensified. He looked at the class, hard, and stated, "Beauty? That's how we define beauty? What ever happened to the image of a pregnant woman?" They were all silent then, and I think I saw two or three of the boys mature before my eyes.

But really, when did we move from the beauty of producing life, and especially, to simply having the incredible female form, in any form, as opposed to constantly finding ways to adjust it?

Maybe I just have a fetish, but I look at some renaissance art, some Victorian replications of ladies covered in robes and sporting flowing and frizzy hair, some modest photographs of women in dresses buttoned up to their chins, and I see a beautiful modesty that I'm dying to emulate.


  1. Your statement "that I'm dying to emulate" is interesting, since so many women are literally dying to emulate a standard of beauty. So many of us are also dying because of the toll the struggle to become beautiful takes on our bodies.

  2. Hm, that wasn't my intention, and I didn't see it that way, but you're exactly right.

  3. I find it interesting that the predominant dialogue regarding beauty persists in placing so much of the focus on visual beauty. Clearly, visual imagery communicates a message efficiently, and it speaks to us so effortlessly that even the most discerning eye can get caught off guard. Given the fact that we're all constantly inundated with visual messages, I find particular value in the words of those not engaging in the visual conversation at large.