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Where do beauty trends come from

Where do Beauty Trends come from?

4-inch lotus feet. Lead-based face makeup. Hairlines plucked to create a longer forehead. Though these may sound like acts from the Circus of Beauty Shop of Horrors, they were all considered common beauty rituals at some point in history. So then just what, you ask, is beautiful?

Dictionary.com defines beautiful as having qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear or think about. Sounds simple enough, but that vague explanation doesn’t tell us what physical beautify really is, and it certainly doesn’t account for the passing beauty trends have followed (and at times I would have to say stalked, hunted down and maimed) people throughout history.
When Beauty Becomes Hazardous to Your Health
If you’d been born a woman in Ancient China, chances are your forefront foot bones would have been broken, bent and then tied into place, so that over time your feet would have stopped growing and morphed into a dainty 4-inch lotus-like appendages. Foot binding was a custom practised on young females in , beginning in the 10th century and ending in the early 20th century.
Think that’s scary? During the Elizabethan era, upper-class women covered their skin with Lead-based makeup, often resting in peripheral neuropathy, gout, anemia, chronic renal failure, and disfiguring scarring. Can you say toxic? The same women also plucked their frontal hairs to lengthen the size of their forehead because, you guessed it, and high foreheads were a turn on.
Beauty trends have come and gone, although, sometimes to our dismay, certain trends have crept back in again. Take Twiggy. As thin as a stick, hence her name, Twiggy would have been considered an anomaly in the age of antiquity, when women were round and supple. But in the 60s, her ultra-thin frame was all the rage. Society finally frowned upon skin and bones, so women put a little meat on their frames until the 90s, when heroin-chic took over and the emaciated look became popular once again.

Where do Beauty Trends come from?
Ginger Garrett, author of Beauty Secrets of the Bible, believes religion has played a key role in setting beauty trends throughout history.
Ancient Greeks and Romans mixed religion and body image with sex. “When husbands went to church, they had sex with the temple prostitute; for them sex was so much at the forefront of the culture and religion and their gods and goddesses had beautiful bodies,” says Garrett. In these times, the focus of beauty was more on the males than the females, as women were rarely encouraged to speak. “Men were supposed to have muscles, and be powerful, like their gods. Women’s ideal shape was heavier than our idea type today, but not obese. It was a very natural standard, with generous hips and belly and relatively small breasts compared to our ideal.”
Christianity caught on, explains Garrett, and suddenly society stopped celebrating the body and began covering it up. A movement called the Gnostics, which taught a hatred of the body, followed. The Greek/Roman worship rituals and their focus on the body was considered evil by the Gnostics, and so they began to teach that everything physical was evil and that beauty was sin. At this time, women were considered child bearers, and wide hips and curves were thought to be attractive on a female because they denoted fertility.
If what Garrett writes about is true, then it appears that Hollywood is the Religion of choice these days.  What people see in the tabloids or on the big screen, from Ashley Simpson’s new nose to Nicole Rich’s skeletal frame, unarguably influence a person’s own sense of self when he or she looks in the mirror. And unless you live in a cave, it’s impossible not to notice that most actresses who achieve overnight stardom slim down before their first awards ceremony, then land a cover spread on Maxim or People so the rest of the world can read about their extreme makeover. And as long as Briny Spears and Paris Hilton are considered more “newsworthy” than the war in Iraq, Hollywood will continue to set the beauty standard for the rest of us common folks, regardless of how unrealistic that standard may be.
But isn’t there something more . . .
While few would argue that society and religion have been influential when it comes to defining beautiful, neither tells us why millions of people from varying cultures or religions find Brad Pitt (or Jessica Alba, or you insert the star) attractive. The answer might be found in the form of a mathematical ratio.
Beauty is Math
In general, the human face is symmetrical. When we look for a mate, or when we observe someone that we find attractive, we are actually looking for symmetry in that person’s facial features, even if only on a subconscious level. Of course, some faces are more symmetrical than others, and this, some believe, could be one of the keys to pinpointing a beautiful face.
The idea of a connection between beauty and mathematics has spanned centuries. The Pythagorean School believed that objects that were proportioned to the golden ratio were more attractive than those that were not. The Golden Ratio is based on sequences of numbers known as Fibonacci numbers and is alternatively known as phi. This ratio can be found in architecture and nature, and many believe that it can also be found in the angles of the human face-or at least, the angles in a beautiful human face.
Dr. Paul S. Nassif, a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon with Spalding Plastic Surgery in Beverly Hills, has studied the idea of beauty and its relation to angles and uses this idea in part when assessing a patient for a plastic surgery procedure. “We use facial analysis as a basis for all surgery, ” says Nassif, “but we have to use our aesthetic eye as the final answer.”
Angles and Lines
Dr. Nassif has written about facial analysis and its use in plastic surgery as well as how it can influence what we find beautiful. To analyze the face, you first break it down into sections. The vertical area of the face is divided into five equal parts while the height of the face is divided into three equal areas, from the hairline to the eyebrows, from the eyebrows to the bottom of the nose and from the bottom of the nose to the chin. Once these divisions have been made, facial areas, such as the eyes and the lips, can be analyzed mathematically.
Where’d you get those peepers?
Everyone knows that you can’t beat a pair of sexy eyes, but just what makes those peepers so attractive? On women, the upper eyelid should cover a small portion of the iris without covering the pupil, while the lower eyelid should be about 1-2 millimeters from the iris. These measurements will help to create a more symmetrical look. Eva Longoria’s eyes follow this pattern of symmetry, as do Kate Hudson’s.
Pucker Up
Say the word lips in Hollywood, or anywhere else for that matter, and chances are the first face to pop in your mind is that of Angelina Jolly. There is good reason for that: Angelina’s lower lip is about twice the size of her upper lip, giving her a perfectly balanced pucker. Perhaps that’s why patients undergoing plastic surgery on the lips often request to have them done like Angelina’s.
The Nose Knows
When it comes to noses, the length from the forehead to the nose should be approximately 115 to 130 degrees on both men and women, while the area from the bottom of the nose to the edge of the lips should range from 90-95 degrees on men and 95-110 degrees on women. Two celebrities with great noses include Brad Pitt and Brooke Shields.
And What if my face isn’t symmetrical?
So you may be staring in your mirror contemplating the lines and angles of your face and feeling sad that, well, they just don’t add up to perfection. If so, don’t fret: Clairol conducted a survey called What is Beauty and found that, according to participants, one specific definition of beauty did no exist. Celebrities from Julia Roberts to Rosie O’Donnell took home votes, with 53% of participants stating that personality makes a person beautiful and 43% of people vot
ing for self-confidence.
So if your angles are off and your lines just don’t add up, don’t fret. Rather than crying over your golden ratio gone bad, keep your chin up and remember that trends in beauty will come and go (and probably return again), so that at some point during your lifetime what you were born with will probably be considered beautiful, even if it hasn’t caught on just yet.
Kathy Murdock is a prolific writer who creates excellent articles on various topics including health and fitness. See more articles of this author at the http://www.body-philosophy.net.

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