Ideals of Beauty

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tonight I wrote an article about the history of GI (Government Issue) eyeglasses, horn-rimmed glasses, and geek glasses. I've never written a "fashion" article before. Since I like geeketry (I is one, by the way), I found the research interesting and the article great fun to write.

It made me wonder (once again) about fashion. And then I saw this photo in my Flickr photo file. It's a photo from the Women's Rights National Park in Seneca Falls, NY (click the link to read my post on my blog New York


As a historian and travel blogger, I've addressed the issues of women's fashion before, albeit as a sidenote. For example, I researched and wrote about the Chinese practice of foot binding. And I've long lamented the corset and bustle in women's history.

Why do (mostly) women contort and maltreat their bodies like they do? Today we don't have foot binding or corsets, but there are the fashionable starvation diets and the hideous streetwalker clothing. What drives this?

When I think of fashion out of control, I always think of 18th century France. They led the way in some of the silliest fashions known to mankind. I mean, who would think this was attractive and something that you'd want to do??

SO I don't know exactly what drives people to do such extremes. Then again, I empathize more with the geeks, the social misfits, the countercultural kooks. Yeah, sure, I get a cheap auto insurance rate and don't eat my peas like anyone else... but gee-- I can't imagine EVER wanting to wear 10-foot-high hair or starving myself just so I can look like anyone else. Yet I do recognize the peer pressure to conform to the social group of choice. But I'd much rather be a slave to duct-taped geek glasses than corsets or poofy wigs. That's just me, I guess.

What do you think about fashion? Do you think fashion has more or less sway over us in our modern age?

3 remarks
Mike said...

I hate fashion! I couldn't care less about what I wear. :)

10:54 PM  
Clint said...

My wife, Cindy says she has noticed how much nicer people are to her when she is wearing makeup and a nice dress. Odd, isn't it? Yes, I would say fashion is a powerful force on us humanoids. Great post!

9:46 AM  

Mike- ditto. Unfortunately, I'm also a lady, so I can't get away with it as well as a guy can.... oh well. :D

Clint-- So what do you think, should men start wearing makeup and a nice dress, too? ;)

Yes, fashion (and peer pressure) is, unfortunately, a powerful force on human nature. I suppose it's why we are so easily marketed to!

I am reminded of the letter of James, in his admonition to show impartiality to both the poorly dressed and the well-dressed. And how God does not look at the appearance but at the heart. Wise stuff. :)

Thanks for your comments, guys!

12:58 PM  

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