Well, we're back fresh and rested from the holidays. Sort of. And since it's been two weeks since the last of our free newsletters, I decided to start this year with a bang and a gallery.
May you all have a great year.
I have been a frequent visitor to this website for years; so long in fact that I cannot exactly remember how I first discovered the site. But it has helped me greatly in establishing my ideas and attitudes towards certain aspects in life (alongside other things of course). I thought Id share today my philosophies on beauty, and it all begins with coat pockets.
Coat pockets? Let me explain. In the week before Christmas, I met up with a friend of mine, and when I tried to put something into my coat pocket, I found they were sewn up.
These are the most useless pockets in the history of civilisation! I said.
My friend replied, Hmm, they must be there for fashion.
Indeed, I answered, In the ongoing war between practicality and aesthetics, practicality is losing.
This idea can be viewed in the same way towards our cultures modern standards on beauty. You see lots of companies advertising makeup and hair enhancers and many anti-aging products, and we all know that theyre supposed to make someone look beautiful, but there must have been a reason why we started using them in the first place.
Starting with lipstick, why do we put so much emphasis on our lips? They have their functional purposes, such as aiding us with speech, giving a little protection to our teeth, and help keep food in our mouth when we eat. But our ancestors must have understood the biological indication they gave, because lips are an indicator to our fertility. The bigger and fuller your lips are, the more fertile you are. I believe lipstick was at first a way for infertile women to deceive men into thinking they were more fertile than they actually were. Back then I like to believe people had sex primarily for purpose, and secondarily for pleasure. This formula seems to be reversed for the most part nowadays.
When I learnt the truth behind the lipstick, I turned to other items of makeup as well. Two more things which seem to be idolised as beautiful are fingernails and eyelashes. These have their functions as well, respectively to protect the sensitive skin underneath and to keep harmful foreign objects out of our delicate eyes. According to my research, people coloured their nails and eyelashes to distinguish their social class. Red, in many cultures, was a colour of royalty, so the old kings would usually wear red clothing. Today we see many colours of nail varnish purely for aesthetic reasons. Colouring our eyelids probably also had the same connotation.
The ancient Egyptians had the same idea, as theyre famously depicted with black eye liner. They were probably imitating the image of the Eye of Horus, a sky god who gave protection, and they believed his eye would watch over them. It was probably only the priests, nobles and pharaohs who wore these images; the poor peasants certainly wouldnt have done.
OK, so thats quite a fair bit of background information, but since my philosophies are based on this knowledge, I thought it would be worth mentioning too so you can see my reasoning.
As youve probably already guessed, I put practicality before aesthetics, and reason before passion. But when it does come to judgements based purely on aesthetics (such as when someone asks me Do you think that girl is hot?) I divide my opinion into two categories. I see people either as pretty or beautiful.
If I say I think someone is pretty, then I am going solely on first appearances and impressions. Someone who is pretty stands out in a group of people, and is capable of holding your attention for longer than usual. This is regardless of whether they use makeup or not, and is based just on looks. I am assuming this is what my questioner has in mind when asking she looks nice. Personally Im interested in facial shape, and it is great to see the variety in all the women in the world. No two are the same, unless they follow the depictions in the media, then theyll probably look quite similar; but Ill get to that later.
Most people I know use the word pretty (or its masculine equivalent handsome) to describe people who they think look nice. Not many use the word beautiful. But beauty to me goes beyond appearances, and is so much more than first impressions. I cannot tell if someone is beautiful as easily as I can tell if someone is pretty, because for me, the person must have a beautiful mind as well as a beautiful body, and this is something you cannot find out unless you talk to them and discover the way they think.
To me, a beautiful body is a natural body, in as many respects as possible. That means no makeup, no hair colouring or styling (leave it natural), no enhancements, no tattoos or piercings (yuck), and most importantly, no personal dissatisfactions. These are all things I reject, yet I see so many women who are obviously using such products, and some who I have spoken to say theyre even proud of it.
A cynical but respectable friend of mine, after hearing my views once, said to me So you want your girls to look like woolly mammoths then? He was of course referring to body hair. Though I do not approve of using the term woolly mammoth as a simile, and I did not answer the question until he had rephrased it, my views remain the same natural in as many respects as possible. Whats wrong with body hair? Our oldest ancestors were very hairy since we evolved from primates, and the hair had its purposes, as ours does today. I couldnt care what a woman looks like as long as she accepts what nature gives her, and doesnt constantly strive to improve how she looks.
But again, nearly all women do this. Why? Well, like most problems I come across, I blame it on the media, which plays such a huge part in everyones lives, and in this case it is probably true. Our ethnocentric Western culture seems to praise a youthful image, and we see models throughout our magazines with copious amounts of makeup, styled or coloured hair, push-up bras to make their breasts look bigger, all in the hope to look young and attractive. And as if that wasnt bad enough, theyve been superfluously edited with computers, creating an unrealistic image of so-called beauty for people to follow.
Those who are gullible enough to believe what they see do try and follow this, and meet with little success because it is impossible to achieve without editing yourself with a computer. I think this is why so many women are unsatisfied with the way they look, because the media demands so much of them to look beautiful and sexy, which in our culture seems to be slim, young and shaved.
My advice is Be happy with what youve got. Accept yourself. This is how I live, and I encourage everyone I meet who has issues with themselves to think like this too. I mean, everyones got body issues right? If we all accepted ourselves then we wouldnt have these problems. I know this is an argument which has been used hundreds of times before, but it makes perfect sense. People just find it so incredibly difficult to attain.
I like my philosophy, because if we take away all the makeup and other unnecessary deceptions, everyone is beautiful. I recommend like-minded readers to investigate this documentary, which I found incredibly interesting. It uses anthropology, genetics and a lot of psychology to find reasons for our deepest fears about ourselves.
I know thats a lot to take in, but thats what I think. I have nothing against people who dont think along the same lines, and do not want to force people to think like I do (because that would be arrogant and rude). We all have our own visions about our ideal worlds, and for most of us, its very unlikely it will come around. I dont want to offend anybody with this article.
Thank you very much for reading, and enjoy the documentary should you watch it.
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