Definition of Beauty and Its Portrayal in Art and Fashion Essay

Definition of Beauty and Its Portrayal in Art and Fashion Essay

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How can beauty be defined and how is it portrayed in art and fashion?

Who sets the standards for beauty? What must one do to truly look beautiful? What does feeling beautiful mean? When considering the concept of beauty one must differentiate between the universal and relative perception of beauty. Among the components of universal beauty are harmony, symmetry and utility. However, perception of beauty is also relative, when it is defined by the standards of the time that are subjective to the socio economic values of the era. One of the ways these values are communicated is through images portrayed in art and in modern times through the media. ‘Fashion’ is the carrier of theses values though physical appearance and self-image that define power, rank, acceptability and belonging. Having ‘fashion’ as the medium of these relative values bring advantages and disadvantages. Although there are benefits of matching the fashion of the time, positive self-image and satisfaction with a feeling of acceptance these are temporary because fashion is ever changing. On the other hand not conforming to the contemporary standards can have a detrimental impact on self-image that leads to feeling a sense negative self worth and marginalized. Eating disorders are a powerful manifestation that fashion has on the psyche. The underlying idea of what fashion ‘is’ is value. Amongst all the change of fashion, value remains ever present.
Different Impacts of how values influence beauty in art.
Historically the idea of feminine beauty has reflected the standard and values of that era, “from the Rebenesque women of the 17th century to the contemporary symbols of fashion, different body shapes have been selected for, and associated with, desirable socia...

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...rsity Press.
Linda Smolak, Michael P. Levine, R.S.-M. ed., 1996. The Developmental Psychopathology of Eating Disorders: Implications for Research, Prevention, and Treatment, New Jersey: Psychology Press. Available at: [Accessed April 15, 2014].
Signorielli, N., McLeod, D. & Healy, E., 1994. Profile: Gender stereotypes in MTV commercials: The beat goes on. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 38(1), pp.91–101. Available at: [Accessed April 14, 2014].
Steele, V., 1997. Fifty Years of Fashion: New Look to Now, Connecticut: Yale University Press. Available at: [Accessed April 16, 2014].
Wolf, N., 1991. The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women, New York: Random House.

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