You are beautiful.
Glamour is external and can be manipulated at will.
Beauty is internal and is developed overtime.
In one, there is authenticity. Truth. Love.
In the other, there are but mere imitations.
For two words that can be so often interchanged, it’s important we understand that there is indeed a difference.
Today, we opt for what is apparent
Standards of beauty change depending on where and when you are.
What is “beautiful” today, wasn’t always seen as such.
If we’re to get an accurate understanding of what beauty is and has been across time and place, we need to appreciate what qualities have historically been associated with the word.
But, why am I (a male) speaking on such a topic?
Because I can.
And because I love you.
And because I think the culture has fed us lies from jump.
Glamour is external, remember.
So, everyone can see it. It’s easier to posses, to process. Which means it’s also easier to forge, fake, or to duplicate.
We bought the lie.
That “perception is reality.”
This idea that we humans get to determine what's true is a hopelessly arrogant one, though one that’s found useful in your run of the mill moral relativist toolbox.
The problem with this worldview becomes obvious when you simply pause for a moment, and sit with the notion that… maybe… reality is reality.
There is something real that underpins our collective experience.
Truth is truth.
You don’t get to “make your own”, you get to search.
Lies require commitment.
Still, we commit. Though I wonder how much longer can we keep this up.
To continually move the goalposts of what beauty means in every successive generation, to the point where W.A.P. is now the aspiration of young girls everywhere…
We’ve cut off yet another avenue to self realization. To authentic growth.
To the true beauty.
We instead create collective comfort zones that nobody has to leave.
(Sound’s like a bubble to me.)
I.e. the system as currently constructed is not sustainable.
Real beauty is internal, because real beauty is eternal.
But, that’s tough to observe. Or to define. So for this essay, we will focus on the beauty we can see. It’s manifestation within the female form.
Not as a critique, but as a practice in admiration.
I don’t think there is a greater ideal in the universe of aesthetics. A woman’s body seems to be to be the pinnacle of God’s creative endeavors.
The perfection bound within her bosom has been known to start wars, elicit epic poems, create life, and literally drive men insane.
So, what’s changed?
My theory, todays version of ‘beauty’ is no longer rooted in an objective reality.
Beauty in 25,000 BC
Venus of Willendorf is a sculpture that dates as far back as 30,000 years.
She is full bodied, looking absolutely nothing like a model you’d find now.
Yet, she endures as a historically accurate symbol of true beauty at a time when survival was the main objective of human being.
Just think, what was important to humans back then?
And so, what was deemed beautiful was a woman who exuded qualities of childbearing. Enter Ms. Willendorf.
Being voluptuous when food was a scarce commodity, was both a sign of health, and perhaps even of status as well.
Wide hips were desirable, not due to a magazine cut, but because it was rooted in the practical mode of human existence.
The Paleolithic standards of beauty were rooted in a reality that saw childbearing as an ultimate end.
Not a perfect barometer of beauty, but useful nonetheless. It was based on something real, and it was ultimately effective.
I mean, we’re here today right?
Fortunately, we no longer live like savages.
Besides, this isn’t to glorify any era’s interpretation of beauty in favor of another's. Simply to draw a line from where we’ve been, to where we are.
I’ll allow the reader to decide what’s ‘good’ or not.
Renaissance Period (1300–1500)
Another historically renowned symbol of beauty.
The Birth of Venus by Bottecelli marked the genesis of our attraction being decoupled from baby making, and better understood as an avenue for lust.
Of course, the pale skinned, bare bodied muses of his day were not really based on actual women.
But for now, just understand that beauty is no longer about survival. It is about elevating the female form as a vehicle for desire and adoration.
One reason for this change in understanding was the emergence of an advancing civilization beginning to accumulate wealth at scale.
Getting tan was not seen as desirable, because it indicated that you had to work outside. Those who worked fields tended to inhabit the lower castes of the social order. And thus, pale skin beauty standards begin to proliferate.
Beauty had been bleached, then exported via Western Culture.
And to this day, European standards of ‘beauty’ from centuries ago dominate much of the world we live in.
Move into the 1600’s and you still have artwork depicting pale skin, though now paired with the regal opulence of a Queen-like figure.
Opulence had become the new standard.
The emerging facet of beauty was somewhat removed from those who aren’t high born, but still maintained itself a strand of utilitarian function.
Though most women had been largely reduced to political pawns, some were able to supersede these norms and ascend to a place of regal authority.
Beauty and self determination are beginning to intertwine here, and so, the era of political matriarchy was birthed in the minds of modern man.
Victorian Era to Modernity (1800–)
Fast forward to the 1800’s, and royalty gives way to domesticity.
Women’s role had been subdued, though her respectability and power was at an all time high.
Back then, women were objects of reproduction.
More recently, as objects of desire.
Even as matriarchal figures, their power was often capped as they played the role of figurehead.
During the Victorian period, women began to leave the realm of object — and enter into communal life as legitimate contributors to society.
Their impact was still marked by explicit boundaries, but new influence began to open new doors. During earlier periods, the role of a woman was negligible outside of her functions of two things…
Sex and reproduction.
From the archaic humans of 25,000 BC to the relatively modern ones of the 15th century, men had always held the upper hand in terms of cultural influence and political authority.
As the 19th century began to unfold, these rules were being replaced by ones that gave more access to the supposed housewives.
To post-modern ears, the term ‘housewife’ may prove cringeworthy, but in reality, domesticity represented a true decentralization of authority within the home infrastructure.
It became the avenue through which women were empowered to affect the larger community.
“Domesticity was trumpeted as a female virtue… Though [this implied] not weakness or passivity. In fact, her superior cultural strength was drawn from a sense of moral superiority”
Removed from the exploits of public life, women held a position in society that gave them a sort of ethical standing above more commercially inclined male counterparts.
In short, women were above the bullshit.
Not only morally respected, but often allowed a level of covert influence over the wider happenings in community.
Victorian feminists were concerned with being feminine.
Their priorities were with their families, not with personal status.
This meant valuing things like emotional awareness and sexual modesty.
It’s a feminism that was far less combative, opting instead for collaboration with the male “species” in an attempt to further their aims.
Which, again, were to raise a strong family unit.
It was a form of feminism that trumpeted roles inherent to motherhood and extended female influence from the bedroom to the public space.
This woman was heralded as the familial glue, and respected within the greater societal framework for it.
Maybe thats not your cup of tea.
Fair enough, I’m simply laying out the timeline.
Personally, I’d like to move forward anyway.
Ever seen “My Big Fat Greek Wedding?”
Great film. In it, there’s a line which has always stuck with me…
“The man may be the head, but the woman is the neck — and she can turn the head any way she wants”
Beauty, not too long ago, was still rooted in something real.
The desire to build strong communities with meaningful relationships marked the feminine ideal of the period between 1800 and 1900.
Sex symbols are the titans of modern marketing.
Being a Playboy Bunny, Victoria’s Secret Angel, or a friend of Dan Bilzerian has become the desired end for attractive girls across the globe.
The sexual revolution of the 1970s and beyond resulted in the explicit reduction of female autonomy.
No longer does she contain a universe beauty.
Now, she only represents a walking sex organ.
Not reproduction, or inspiration, or family life.
Sex drive has become the primary outlet for feminine expression in the 21st century. And we’re at an inflection point.
(See: only fans)
Pornography is consumed by millions of pre-pubescent brains who have no bearing on what is real, and what isn’t.
At least, not anymore.
Women sell themselves online in an attempt to recoup some of the capitalist gumbo floating around a wildly broken economy.
And really, who can blame them?
When everything is relative, finding what’s true becomes a chore.
It’s easier than ever to take the paycheck, in part because people need it.
This is a recipe for disaster.
We are conditioning a generation of brain dead sex dummies who will enter a world of virtual reality hedonism and robot simulated intercourse on demand.
Is this the pinnacle of beauty?
Today what’s beautiful is no longer rooted in any objective reality, but has instead morphed into a commodity used to control weak minds.
I guess, it’s what we’ve asked for.
Here and now, I think women have a choice to make. Because, really it is up to you to decide how the future goes down.
As the primary selectors of our genetic pool, you bear the responsibility not only to create life, but to sustain it.
Think about this; you are like a filter for the future of humanity.
Your relational and reproductive decisions now will reverberate into the coming generations. And beyond.
All I’m asking, is that you choose wisely.
Our posterity depends on your ability to select partners who will mold the future for our collective good, and not ones who will sully it for their own.
You contain divinity.
You, are beautiful.
Act like it.
You don’t have to be a baby maker.
You don’t have to be ‘respectable’, in some archaic sense of the word.
You don’t have to be pale, or tan, or skinny, or fat, or short, or tall…
You just have to be you.
Because I suspect that the real you, buried deep down, is far more interesting than the mask society has placed about your being… so, be yourself.
And know that it’s enough.