The idea of beauty varies across time and cultures. From the Greeks to the Romans, a variety of factors have been incorporated into standards of ideal appearance. Some of these include class, social status, and race. These factors change as a result of the societal environment and can have an impact on how people feel about themselves.
A common view is that humans have evolved to be attracted to one another. This process is considered an evolutionary mechanism, and has been used to select mates. However, it is important to recognize that the nature of this attraction has also been exploited to harness power.
The ancients were known to use thick layers of cosmetics to enhance their facial appearance. In the Renaissance era, plumpness was considered a sign of wealth. Upper class women tinted their hair and smeared wax on their wrinkled faces. They also hid their faces behind masks of leather or silk.
During the 19th century, the idea of beauty became more selective. The ideal face was defined by art teacher Antoine Mengs, who devised a complicated formula to replicate the Greeks’ beauty. He determined the size of the eyes, the distance from the tip of the nose to the lips, the space between the eyes, and the size of the mouth.
Westerners brought these standards to other countries. They were able to increase their social power by convincing other races that they were less attractive than white people. While the concept of beauty has been subject to a variety of changes, the overall perception has remained consistent.
The era of capitalism has altered the notion of beauty. As a result, the beauty business has evolved beyond makeup and into cosmeceuticals and skin care products. Pricing is also a big factor. Cosmetic surgery is expensive. Beauty products are marketed as individualistic and are mainly profitable to those with capital. Whether these factors contribute to the perpetuation of beauty standards is unclear.
There have been many political and social issues that have affected the way people perceive the perfect appearance. In the 1960s, counterculture emphasized feminine decorations and androgynous looks. By the end of the decade, an emphasis on social protest produced such celebrities as Doris Day and Debbie Reynolds. At the same time, Black Americans began spending more money on beauty products. Today, Black consumers have an estimated spending power of 41 million and are predicted to be a major consumer group in 2021.
The era of mass media and advertising has also changed the definition of beauty. Companies rebranded their products as empowering and feminist, bringing a new audience to their shelves. Despite the fact that the majority of the consumer base is primarily white, Black consumers are still unable to find products that reflect their skin tone and complexion.
It is essential to recognize that there is a wide range of standards of beauty. This multifaceted concept illustrates that the way we perceive and perceive other people can be affected by the societal environment.