Thursday, June 07, 2007

13 Perceptions of Beauty

1. Chinese Foot Binding- An ancient tradition of binding the foot until it was unnaturally arched into the new moon or “lotus” shape, and would fit into the tiniest shoe. Was thought to epitomize femininity and the dainty and graceful foot of a woman. Protested adamantly, finally outlawed 1,000 yrs after it began, caused a number of painful physical problems. Now some still practice by choice, but no woman needs to do it to be considered beautiful.

2. Neck Coils-The Kayan of Mayanmar place metal coils around their neck from the age of 5 onward. The weight of the rings presses the collarbone down and elongates the neck, which has given them the name “Giraffe Women”. This is their perception of beauty adapted from a protective measure. Many younger tribe members have protested and removed their rings, though it is more about the massive tourism that has turned their people into a quasi human zoo than the dangers of the practice.

3. Surgery-it’s become a cultural phenom-put breasts in, suck fat out, nip, tuck, reshape, remold etc. There are some dangers, and sometimes it can be taken too far. The Thriller is gone. Sigh.

4. Lip Plates-there are a few tribes, particularly the Mursi of Ethiopia, who started to wear them originally to avoid being taken as slaves, and are pierced and plated around the age of 15. The plate, made of clay, is taken out when eating, but is considered beautiful-as is the scarification on their stomachs.

5. Tattooing-so many cultures find beauty in body art-including my own, that I may have to make another post about it. Permanent body decoration can symbolize rank, beauty, even an ancestral history. It is also considered highly spiritual and highly erotic.

6. Waxing/laser/shaving-yep, back to the hair issue. It has long been a belief that hairless skin is beautiful skin. The Egyptians shaved their heads and pretty much everywhere else-and wore beautiful wigs in public. We keep the hair on our head-but everything else is fair game. Our eyebrows must be plucked, legs shaved, even areas that few people will regularly see must now be waxed just in case {of course the invention of the thong bikini sort of hurried that evolution along.}
Psychologically, studied beliefs intimate that the hairier you are, the less evolved. A Neanderthal is hairy-Humans are not-thus we seperate ourselves from the ape man. {I don’t like this theory-but it also applies to men-don’t you automatically have a particular view of a man who goes to the beach without waxing the jacket of hair on his back?}

7. Body piercing- like tattooing, is one of the most widespread form of beautification. Several ladies I know either have, or are on their way to getting their noses pierced, looks lovely too I must say. It’s been around forever.
Aztecs, Mayans, Dogons, everybody was piercing something. A nose piercing in the left nostril made childbirth easier. A septum piercing the mark of a warrior. The tongue was in homage to the gods. Piercing the body with metal also repelled the demons. {Good to know}. And don’t get me started on genital piercing-that has been around for a while as well.

8. Make-up- Red dye, henna, these are a few versions of temporary body and facial art. We use make up. We use it hide blemishes and imperfections. To make our eyes seem bigger, our lips fuller and darker, to look younger or healthier. Its actually an enormous process and expense-and we don’t even think about its cultural implications. We do it for men, for ourselves, for the checkout boy at the grocery store. We do it to feel beautiful. But in one form or another-its been around a long time.

9. Muscles. We find muscles attractive-especially when they are all in the right places. Its that whole primitive thing. "He strong man. Got good genes." It is good for both men and women to be healthy and attractive to each other. And pics like these are certainly wonderful inspiration for those of us who write. ;) However, like everything else-we can take this too far. As I found out in my Google search{sheesh}.

10. Skull binding/cranial modification-African tribes, Incan tribes, several cultures have found this form of body modification beautiful. Ufologists have a field day with this one-saying-"We look for beauty in the things we see everyday. What the heck were these people seeing?"
Whatever their reasoning-the effort from birth through adulthood to acquire this unique head shape tells us that its important to them.

11. Transformation. Some people find animals beautiful. Some people feel such a kinship with the spirit of an animal that they wish they were one. Some people go that extra mile. Tattooing, surgery, implants, dental and lip modification. Beauty to them is either in their very uniqueness, or the opportunity to finally show on the outside-whats been hiding within.

12. Corsetting-been around a long time. Men and women have sought that Wasp waist-that handspan-at the price of their health, their spine, and their oxygen intake.
Dont get me wrong I love corsets. I think they are seriously sexy. And I certainly am willing to do a lot to make my waist look smaller. As long as I dont go so far that I get the vapors every five minutes or find I cant stand up without the help of one.

13. The final perception is mine: Laughter. Smiling and laughing make everyone gorgeous. A good belly laugh draws the eye, and rarely fails to bring a smile to the face of everyone within earshot. Its not only the best medicine-its also one of my turn ons. Happiness is sexy!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's so awesome! *mwah*

-Crystal Jorda

10:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an amazing list! Thanks!

10:13 PM  
Blogger Gina Ardito said...

Wow! Great list, but #13 is my fave!

10:35 PM  
Blogger Babe King said...

I like no 13 best (as if you didn't know)

2:40 AM  
Blogger Darla said...

Fascinating what people will do to look good. I loved the photos.

5:47 AM  
Blogger Jennifer McK said...

This was brilliant. The one I didn't know about was the skull modification. Perhaps this is like the shaving. Someone with a bigger cranium is more evolved?
Awesome RG.

7:28 AM  
Blogger Lesley said...

What a great list! The Chinese Foot Binding and the Corset body piercing just makes me CRINGE!!!!!

7:29 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Shirk said...

Ugh, some of those pics make me cringe.

Yours (13) is the BEST!

7:36 AM  
Blogger Emma said...

I'm not going to ask what Feist was doing with that banana. LOL!

The woman with the Gokudo tattoos is gorgeous. Such beautiful work. Great list and happy TT!

7:43 AM  
Blogger Sara Thacker said...

Very interesting list. #13 is my favorite.

7:43 AM  
Blogger Dayna_Hart said...

this is brilliant, RG.

I LOVE this, though the photos made me squeamish :)

7:53 AM  
Blogger Adelle said...

Excellent list! Thanks!

7:54 AM  
Blogger Tempest Knight said...

Ah... yes... The Rock... *sighs* That man's body is a work of art, pure poetry in motion.

8:08 AM  
Blogger Rhonda Stapleton said...

Wow, what a faboo list. I felt like this was a neat cultural experience.

8:35 AM  
Blogger N.J.Walters said...

Fascinating list. I like the last one in the list the best. :-)

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an awesome TT!

And I want that dude on your header. *pants*

My TT is about my To Be Read List.

~ Anya Bast

9:39 AM  
Blogger Debbie Mumford said...

Excellent list ... and pictures to boot!! Wow!

10:23 AM  
Blogger Robin L. Rotham said...

Wow, R.G. -- that's some amazing stuff!

Just out of curiosity, where would you consider the wrong places for muscles? :D And hey, maybe those head-shaping people are seeing aliens...?

The lip plate thing always grosses me right out. Ugh.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Parker said...

Wow, great post! The pictures added to it considerably, too. I guess beauty is truly "in the eye of the beholder."

2:59 PM  
Blogger angeleque said...

Great list.

3:09 PM  
Blogger Elle Fredrix said...

My God. What people won't do in the quest for beauty.

I am so with you on number 13!

3:17 PM  
Blogger Emma Wayne Porter said...

Can you even imagine how much foot binding must have hurt? *shudder*

And as someone whose sold Estee Lauder cosmetics, let me tell you... Volumes could be written about the emotional and psychological attachments some women have to cosmetics. I had one woman who was in at least once a week and I swear to you she believed the color of liptstick she wore had profound effect on her accounting skills (don't ask)

I think she needed more of #13 in her life.

3:17 PM  
Blogger RED GARNIER said...

R.G., thanks for such an amazing, amazing list.

I'm with you on #13! The one and only REAL beauty. =)

4:13 PM  
Blogger Shari said...

Wow, that was interesting! # 13 is my favorite, too.

5:44 PM  
Blogger Amelia June said...

Great list!

I'd add intelligence to sense of humor as my own personal view of beauty. And a nice booty. *snicker*

5:46 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

Great list! I've always wanted to get a tatoo, but have always been too chicken to do it. I agree that #13 is the most beautiful thing. :)

5:48 PM  
Blogger Rhian / Crowwoman said...

this is the coolest RG!! parts made my tummy hurt a little.

7:58 PM  
Blogger Joy Renee said...

This is one I'll remember for awhile. Thought provoking comments and haunting pics.

my tt is a tribute to my husband's grandma who passed on Tuesday.

7:27 AM  
Blogger Karen Erickson said...

Ah such an awesome list! No wonder I love you so much. :)

6:42 PM  
Blogger Lillian Feisty said...

What Karen said. You rock and I can't wait to give you a big old hug in Dallas!

6:44 PM  

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