We are accustomed to a glamorous appearance corresponding to the definition of beautiful. Smooth glowing skin, tamed hair, specific proportions of body, impractically long nails, absence of body hair. "To enhance you looks you need to vanish your natural skin structure and color using product A, then imitate the natural colors by using products B, C, and D. Curl straight hair, straighten curly hair. Shape your body with special undergarments. Look at all this cellulitis on your hips and never leave home again or buy a special product that might erase 2 microns of the unevenness! Your breasts got saggy after giving birth? Better purchase our corrective bra. Plump your ugly thin lips. Sculpt your cheekbones. Straighten your nose. Do Botox, don't scare people with your wrinkles on the forehead!" The shame-marketing strategies have been breeding for so long that the belief that a human body definitely has at least several shameful components had almost become a second nature for us and a solid part of popular culture. Remember those early Gillette advertisements? Lots of popular publishers in cooperation with merchants made a fortune by promoting the ideas of beauty by regularly creating new standards. The template is simple: create a standard, shame those who do not fit in, offer a quick fix, change the standard, repeat.
This system works for those who consume primarily the pop culture. Thinking of what defines beauty in this paradigm leads to a set of solely exterior characteristics, such as proportions, definition, colors, textures. But if we approach the description of beauty from a perspective of a mature person, it would be a drastically different set of traits that might have nothing to do with the absence of wrinkles or quality of hair. For this, I would like to refer to the tools classical culture uses to define female beauty.
I realized that in a strong literature main female characters are typically described through a very extensive set of metaphors and sensual associations. Their beauty can be a seditious and cold marine scene. It can be a still Nordic landscape tortured by the winds and juxtaposed with a constantly changing low sky. A woman can be represented as a tropical fruit that offers so much pleasure and salvation on a hot day and disappears so quickly. A woman can be a warm moist soil that offers a life-giving and life-sustaining power.She can be a revolution. A woman can shine on the background of an ugly epoch or represent the glory of the abundant years. She can be a sacrifice for life or a manifestation of life. We read about her running along the shoreline with tangled hair and sweat dripping from her forehead while she is feverish and desperate to spurt for her own happiness or to run away from misery. We investigate the depth of the conflicted soul tossing between the matters of duty and pleasure that spark her eyes with some demonic grin through which we see some inevitability and obedience to destiny. A woman and her beauty are character and charisma that shine outwards and spark our associations with sensory experiences we have encountered or are intuitively aware of. it is actually challenging to think about uneven skin when you get carried away with the comprehensive, integral, and sophisticated phenomenon that a woman represents.