Feminine Beauty When defining Feminine beauty one must decide in which time to define it. At certain times women have felt repressed by the term, usually due to the beauty business’ influence; while at other times Women have found it liberatory: finding it their bonus as females but not their only power. One will also find that a correlation exists between the women’s movement, or lack there of, and society’s feelings about woman and their aesthetic appearance. A woman’s beauty during the 1910s and early 1920’s was not an aspect of one’s life to be contemplated heavily. Woman pre 19th amendment were more concerned with gaining recognition of their equality then how they looked.
Woman felt beauty came from with in and was not a product one could buy. Attractiveness was being strong and powerful: In the late 1910’s and early 1920’s female athletes began to ellipse movie starts as the nations beauty archetypes (Faludi 204) This seems due to the Women’s movement’s influence at the time. Yet when the late 1920s are analyzed one sees a different occurrence. After women achieved the vote in 1920 women, it seems, felt they were equal and were able to be what ever they chose. If they wanted to make them selves up they could.
if they wanted to work, or stay home, or anything else they could. Flapper Jane, the ideal figure of the 1920s, is the object of constant analysis. She is, for one thing a very pretty girl. Beauty is the fashion in 1925 (Flapper Jane, 65). When Reading Flapper Jane one gets a sense that Jane felt that she was equal and her beauty was just something that she did and not something that did her: Women still want to be loved,..
But they want it to be on a 50 / 50 basis which includes being admired for the qualities they possess (Flapper Jane, 67). In the case of the Flapper and the 1920s beauty was not oppressive: In fact Jane says, That women today are shaking of their old servitude.. If they want to wear their heads shaven, as a symbol of defiance against the former fate which foe three millennia forced them to dress their heavy locks in according to male decrees, they will have their way..Hurrah! Hurrah! (Flapper Jane, 67) Post World War II1 saw women being oppressed by the beauty industry. Women were subject to what society determined as beautiful. Exquisite movie stars who were curvy and charming, with pale skin, frosted hair, and a seemingly grand lifestyle were the ideal. Beauty publicists instructed women to inflate their breasts with padding or silicone, to frost their hair with carcinogenic dyes, to make themselves look paler by whitening their face and lips with titanium-to emulate in short, that most bleached medicalized glamour girl of them all, Marilyn Monroe (Faludi, 204) They were pressured to be beautiful at the sake of their health.
This is what we might call a backlash. The women’s movement it should be noted at this time was almost none existent. Betty Friedan’s Problem That Has No Name describes what women were feed as what should be done and how to do it: Over and Over Women heard in voices of tradition and Freudian sophistication that they could desire no greater destiny then to glory in their own femininity. Experts told them how to catch a man and keep him, .. how to dress, look, and act more feminine and make marriage more exciting In 1968 Woman protested the idea of themselves as sex objects. In Atlantic City women demonstrated against the 1968 Miss America Pageant. [It} was the first major action of the current woman’s movement .
we were affirming our mutual feeling of outrage, hope, and readiness to conquer the world. We also all felt, well grown up: we were doing this one for ourselves, not for our men, and we were consequently getting to do those things the men never let us do, like talking to the press or dealing with the mayor’s office. (Morgan, 62) This whole event has been made out to be more anti beauty then it truly was. The women who protested the event were not against the women participating, in fact the protesters proclaimed solidarity with the contestants. The Women’s Liberation Movement chose the Miss America Pageant because it represent to them all the things wrong with society and how it deals with women: The contestants epitomize the role all women had to play in this society, one way or the other: apolitical, unoffending, passive delicate(but drudgery-delighted) things (Morgan, 64) This pageant was the beginning of the bouncing back of the women’s movement and thus beauty being once again liberatory.
The women’s movement became a very prominent aspect of the 1970s. Woman no longer subjected themselves to those health hazardous beauty regiments. in the 1970’s the beauty industry felt that if they were going to make any profits they had to find away to celebrate this new feeling of power woman had. In the winter of 1973 , Charles Revson called a high – level meeting of Revlon executives. He had a revolutionary concept he told them : a fragrance that celebrated woman’s liberation.
The fragrance now know as Charlie was the product of several months of interviewing woman about what they wanted in a perfume. Charlie symbolized that new lifestyle. Revlon executive vice president Lawrence Wechsler recalls, that said you can be anything you want to be , you can do anything you want to do, with out any criticism being directed at you. If you want to wear a pantsuits at the office instead of a skirt, fine (Faludi 205) Immediately Following this period of resurgence again we see a regression in the 1980’s. I don’t know why this keeps happening maybe it’s cyclical nature of time, but once again women are repressed by beauty and sex appeal.
The 1980’s saw the start of a plastic surgery craze. Women were trying all sorts of measures to be the sexy, beautiful, thin , and presumably happy women they saw in advertisements. Now you can be yourself you don’t have to be a powerhouse. (Faludi 201), this is what a mannequin designer Filoso believes is what life is about for woman, he considers this a big improvement over the ’70’s, when women didn’t care about their appearance. Now they not only care feel that they can be and look like anything or anyone they want: Today, woman can look at a beautiful mannequin in a store and say I want to look like her and they can actually can! They can go to their doctor and say,’ Doc, I want I want these cheek bones.’ ‘Doc I want these breasts.’ The question to me is do you actually want to look like a mannequin or yourself.
By this point one should see how Feminine beauty is subjective to the time to which you are referring. I think that the ’90s are part repressive, due to the need to feel beautiful and thin at almost any cost,but are also in terms of beauty. Women not only believe that they can do and be anything they know it. And the beauty industry has seen the American women as a group of very different individuals. We, woman, as a whole are doing our thing and are in liberation we are sexy smart and in the end the makers of our ideal and not the subjects of one. Social Issues.