American Beauty

The Beauty of it All

“Don’t judge a book by its cover” is what mother always said, right? If you’ve ever felt guilty for ocular ogling, no need to repent. Scientifically, (and logically) our sight is the first sense used to make an immediate first impression, or to decide on one. How hard is it to know what is beautiful? What makes a “timeless beauty”? Modern media has been making lists of the “hot 100’s” or “most beautiful of all time”, for years now, trying to place a proverbial high point on a general “beauty” gauge. As a vintage vixen, I tend to use history as my text book to see what the popular thinking is and was on, American beauty. Up until the 1910’s the “Gibson Girl” was the ideal of femininity. The “chaste and delicate” woman was one to be revered. This was reinforced by the newly noticed film stars, like Lilian Gish and Mary Pickford. The 1920’s brought about the less virginal, vanities. Vamps and Flappers showed more skin and less caution. Jean Harlow was the film star of the decade. The American woman was more glamorous than ever and it showed..$250 million was spent on perms, alone. The 1930’s brought about a more humble & wholesome look. Wall Street crashed in 1929 and a lot of women went back to basics. Stars like Jean Arthur and Katherine Hepburn embodied the newest, kind of beauty (with help of the Production code). The 1940’s reigned in a new, narrow & masculine look. War-time austerity, shifted our eyes to political propaganda like Rosie the Riveter, for ideas of what the new woman should look like. Bette Davis and Joan Crawford were stars that showed women in places of power, or shall i the “man’s” role. The ’50’s was a divided time. We all know Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield were blonde bombshells that defined definition, in a woman’s body. While Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly were stars of sophistication. The 1960’s turned our perception of beauty, upside-down. At first, this decade of women rebelled against imposed, ideas of beauty. They went natural, got “back to the Garden”, and made their own fashion statements. There was no definitive actress that I can even truly, name as, THE ’60’s “star”. As we see throughout time, beauty is big business and business won out. Media & marketing took the avant garde looks from Edie Sedgwick to Joan Baez & Janis Joplin, and made non-conformity fit for everyone. At this time, the ’70’s roared in with new technology and easy access to cosmetic surgery. With the convenience of modern times, the playing field was leveled. Today’s beauty ideals have become more gentrified. We look to film, music, and magazines to see what is the hottest look, du jour. What was old is now new, again and ever-changing. I must say, beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder. There are many avenues to become aesthetically pleasing, but true beauty lies within. We can be deceived by our eyes, with surgery, airbrushing, hormones, and other high-risk, get-quick pretty, methods. So whatever era you love, size you are, or trend that catches your eye..go ahead and try it out. To be timelessly, beautiful is to be happy and contented inside. 🙂


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