Monday, April 02, 2007


Men have an interesting idea of Beauty. See The Novelty Girls blog today for a glimpse. It got me to thinking. I and many others in my generation have dieted, starved, worried ourselves into dis-ease and dis-orders because of the current definition of Beautiful. We see the glossy magazines and we think-that is what beauty is. We see the Supermodel shows, the pageants, the accolades given to the most beautiful girl and we kill ourselves trying to mold our unique bodies into one uniform definition. But beauty has never been a static thing-its changed drastically throughout the ages.
The Venus of Willendorf-around 24,000 years old. This was their goddess. This was the definiton of fertility and beauty. Abundant and lush-she kept hunger at bay, and nourished her children

The Dreamer of Malta-found in the Hypogeum and dating to 3000 BC-she was found beside an abandoned shrine with others like her. Another goddess figure, she gives us a peek into another time. A time when people werent spending a small fortune on dangerous diet pills and going on programs destined to fail. And it isnt like this lady had stopped at one too many fast food joints-this was fertility and the symbol of it was woman. Beauty was a woman's softness, curves, a woman's bounty.

Venus of Urbino by Titian {1538}This is one of my favorites. She would not be on the cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition-but she is stunning nonetheless.

Rubens-of course and the other is The Grand Odelisque by Ingres {1814} The winds of change are in the air-but a woman is still soft and sensual.
Flash forward to today. Sure heroin chic is on the far side of the spectrum-but they are still considered by many in the fashion world to be the IT thing.
I do not begrudge a thin woman her due, I am simply trying to make a point. I wonder if back in the days of the Willendorf Venus young girls were stuffed with animal fat and grains, not allowed to do too much work, desperately trying to epitomize the full figure of the goddess in order to attract a man. Ya think?
If we define ourselves by the judgments or whims or perceptions of others, than we miss the point and end up leading lives of quiet desperation. Either judged only by our beauty-or our distinct lack of it-by today's standards anyway.
You are beautiful because you are YOU. Big or small, short or Amazonian, freckles or peaches and cream. Women are beautiful. We have the capacity to create life, we love, we nurture, we dream. We are beautiful because we are sassy, or shy...tattooed or covered in jewels. We are beautiful because we are. You are unique in the universe, there is NO ONE exactly like you...and that is a beautiful thing.


Blogger Diana Castilleja said...

I totally agree. Granted, I'm trying to lose a few pounds so I don't have to wardrobe shop for conference, *wink* but even at 200lbs, I'm at a healthy weight. I'm not there right now, which is my only complaint. :(

I live the Venus btw. I wish Marilyn Monroe had more than her face in immortality. She was normally a size 14, which is so taboo now. *sigh*

12:04 PM  
Blogger Eden Bradley said...

Beautifully said, RG! And thank you for mentioning tattoos. :)
Some of the stuff you wrote about the way we hurt ourselves with diets and pills made me think of Marge Piercy's poem about the Barbie Doll-have you read it? I did a whole paper on it in college. Let me see if I can find it and I'll send it to you.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Portia Da Costa said...

Hey, the Venus of Willendorf... that's *my* figure exactly!!! LOL

12:17 PM  
Blogger R.G. ALEXANDER said...

diana-personal goals for yourself and the desire to be healthy is-well-healthy lol. And I know how you feel. I wouldnt have been such a teen wreck if she'd been the test of beauty then.

Eden-I would love that poem.{so you still have that paper you wrote?}

Portia-LOL-so you're a goddess then arent you? :)

12:42 PM  
Blogger Jass said...

Slowly, the industries that "hawk" beauty are realizing how out of balance they are and are taking steps to rectify the imbalance, like the dove girls, like the organziers of the Barcelona fashion show a couple of months ago that said any woman below 18% body fat couldn't work the show.

I think it's wonderful that you reminded us that the definition wasn't always the waife. We can create a revolution, I hope. If we keep telling each other like it really is. We're real and normal and the current benchmark are the ... I can't say fantasy...maybe fiction. Nice topic RG.

1:59 PM  
Blogger Shelli Stevens said...

Ok that last pic makes me want to vomit. LOL. I love all those different paintings and sculptures. So freaking cool. And I'm totally that first chick with the big hips and bit breasts.

2:42 PM  
Blogger Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

Excellent post! I read somewhere recently that many fashion designers don't like the lines of their clothing to be interrupted by the curves of a woman's body. I thought that was outrageous. What are they designing women's clothes for then? And here we all are trying to fit the designer's ideal which is basically a wire hanger with legs.

2:47 PM  
Blogger Robin L. Rotham said...

RG, I swear I've looked to see if you had a blog before and found none! I can't believe I've been missing you all these months -- especially when you have such important topics!

If I weighed 200, I'd be a totally fit, rockin' hot babe (for me :D).

It seems to me that the ideal of beauty in any era is whatever look is the hardest to attain. Now that plastic surgery is becoming so prevalent, I'd think that "natural beauty" would eventually become hot again. I know I've seen some porn, courtesy of Mr. Robin, that featured only women with their original, unenhanced breasts -- and they were very pretty, much nicer than the rock-hard artificial mountains most of the porn stars are sporting these days.

4:21 PM  
Blogger R.G. ALEXANDER said...

Jass-thank you-and yes I've noticed the attempts to alter our perception. We definitely need to have a stronger push focusing on the beauty within-everyday we dont another young girl injures herself, another woman cries when she puts on a bathing suit...etc.

Shelli-you are gorgeous-inside an out-and yes that lady makes me want to feed her desperately. :}

JAC-I've read about that too. No Wire Hangers ever! LOL

Robin-yay! You're here! I think I need to make my signature bigger LOL-so people can find my blog. You arent the first person to say that.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Tempest Knight said...

I think what we perceive as beauty is all about Hollywood and models. They set standards that are unrealistic. It's up to women to be more empowered and realized that we don't live up to their expectations.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Rhian / Crowwoman said...

oooohhhh - what a great post! I think one of the reasons i've been dubbed the Uber Goddess is because i LOOK like the Venus of Willendorf. Part of my mission in life is breakdown the recent stereotype of female beauty. All my paintings of women show big hips and butts and still excude sensuality.

8:59 PM  

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