The Evolution of Beauty

A couple weeks back, I composed a post entitled 'Science Reveals How To Lose Weight And Keep It Off'. The results weren't surprising... research out of Harvard found that calories are the most significant part of the equation. However, what really resonated with a number of readers turned out to be a different topic related to this point:

Weightwise, my take is that we humans have an interesting habit of coming in all shapes and sizes and the most beautiful tend not to fit a particular mold. That said, being healthy--inside and out--is everything.

I received several emails in agreement, and especially enjoyed hearing some of your own stories and challenges. A young woman named Marguerie requested that I post this video to support her 'commitment to improving the self-esteem of girls everywhere.' Sure sounds good to me!  So without further ado, from Dove's fantastic Campaign For Real Beauty:

The Evolution Of Beauty

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That's crazy. Talk about special effects!

Boy, do I have mixed feelings about all this. On the one hand, I agree that our culture has a bad habit of pressuring girls to meet an artificial standard of beauty. There's no question that it does an enormous amount of damage, and that it MUST be reined in.

On the other, I fear that there's a bit of a "you can't fool Mother Nature" problem here. Men are sexually attracted to women who meet some standards of physical beauty. You can't have a rational discussion with those libidos. I'm not justifying them -- those libidos are unquestionably doing harm to society as a whole. But we can't afford to deny their existence. We need to understand them better so that we can compensate for their socially injurious effects.

Similarly, we need to do something about the fact that women are sexually attracted to powerful men. This induces men to go to socially damaging lengths to gain power. We can't change female libidos any more than we can change male libidos, but we should, I think, become more sensitive to this problem as well.

By Erasmussimo (not verified) on 18 Mar 2009 #permalink

It is all the art of the advertising(publicity) and the advertising impact. Bosoms, buttocks, as smiling face of a woman are more "salesmen".
Exactly, recently, they spoke (to the TV) about hen's eggs of breeding and farm; eggs are the similar! Similar for the children of relatives(parents) architects, engineers or workers (!)

I have 2 daughters. I'm going to show them this video. My older daughter is always interested in how effects are created in movies. This is another effect, and it's important for kids to be aware of the fact that it is and how it's created. As far as men's libido and women's attraction to power, that is a broad generalization. Individual men have very different tastes. So do individual women. The definition of power is socially created, and I think there is problem with our social definition, but that's a whole other topic. Social definitions of attractiveness also vary greatly, and tend to be much more narrowly (and differently) defined than the range of preferences among men.

Thanks for the video! I'll be sharing it. I love playing around with images in the GIMP and I know many ways to manipulate images, but this video reminded me of how easily I buy those tricks myself. Thanks

Why would they change her face from sweet to hideous? Meaningless question I guess. I remember Jim Watson once claiming that "thin women are unhappy"

Watson "claimed" many things...

At what point can she legitimately claim that it is no longer a picture of her? My guess is it's right about the point where they resize her eyes...

When I was studying for me doctoral comprehensives (admittedly, many years ago) there was a thead of research articles demonstrating that most human cultures value basically the same components of (at least facial) "beauty".

Does anyone have links to these findings?