The High Importance of Women’s Physical Attractiveness
The theme of fantasy versus reality is a central focus that reappears throughout the film 25th Hour directed by Spike Lee. In this film, the main character Monty is sentenced to seven years in jail for drug dealing. On Monty’s final day of freedom, his father proposes two options for him: driving to the prison to serve his sentence or fleeing to a town so he can make a new life for himself. While pondering on the second option, Monty construes a false view of a wonderful life filled with joy and happiness. He does not take into account however, that fugitive recovery agents will constantly be searching for him, making his life very difficult. Like Monty, many people in today’s society have a distorted understanding of reality. In particular, contemporary American society holds a misconception about the connection between women’s physical attractiveness and personality. Our culture views beauty in a distorted way due to the mistaken belief that outer appearances reflect the type of person a woman is.
Dating back to the Renaissance era during the early 15th century, the ideal “beautiful” woman would have a voluptuous body with a pale ivory skin tone and a wide and high forehead. She would also wear voluminous skirts and blouses with puffed sleeves and low necklines to show off the curves of her breasts. During the Victorian era in the 18th century, the appearance of moles was considered attractive. Women would draw black marks on their faces to simulate these moles. They would also powder their hair white and wear extravagant high wigs with decorated curls. It was not until the roaring 20s when flappers became popular did being slim become an attractive feature. The ideal that skinny women are more physically attractive than voluptuous women was reinforced during the 1960s when Twiggy became a fashion icon. She was 5’6, weighed 91 pounds, and had a thin, boyish figure during the peak of her modeling career. As we entered the new millennium, a “beautiful” woman was considered to be tan, skinny, have fairly large breasts, a symmetrical face, and long, flowing hair. Models such as Giselle Bündchen and Adriana Lima exemplify this look. According to today’s standards, a woman with those “beautiful” features during the 15th and 18th centuries would be deemed as unattractive. Therefore, I raise the questions: who determines what is or is not “beautiful” or attractive and why do we have such a high regard for this phenomenon? If a woman resembles the physical appearance of a popular model, is she automatically considered beautiful?
Our society is bombarded with false information and ideals that the media presents to us. Being considered “beautiful” in the public eye is something many women strive to become. There is a misleading image that success and happiness are associated with beauty. When one walks by a newsstand, it is no surprise that one will find various...