Exoticism in Women

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Vivian Broda
English 201
1/19/13
Essay # 1 Counter-Argument/Alternative Perspective

What is physical beauty? At first I didn’t know what it meant until I started researching and coming down to real definitions and scientific statistics that prove what humans usually define as physical beauty and even further beyond beauty which is, exoticism. I thought it was silly that I didn’t even know what it was because I am very interested in the subject. My entire life I have studied different variations of fashion and beauty. It was interesting to see how it works, who is considered “drop dead gorgeous”, how to emulate those who are seen that way, and comparing those who are seen as proportionate and attracting to the eye versus unattractive and plain/simple looking. To summarize, through my research I have come to find from several sources online that the definition of beauty is a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight. How do humans have these aesthetic senses that define what “beauty” is even? Not every person agrees on what is considered beautiful or even exotic. My focus here is on exoticism, as evidenced by the models of Victoria’s Secret. The concern about the fact that these Victoria’s Secret angels are subtly pressuring young women to look the way they do is analyzed in the last paragraph. Does exoticism of these models lead to detrimental consequences of female consumers?

According to the online dictionary, “Exoticising by definition is a trend in design influenced by some ethnic groups or civilizations since the late 19th century. Like orientalist subjects in 19th century painting, exoticism in the decorative arts and interior decoration was associated with fantasies of opulence. It is ‘the charm of the unfamiliar.’ It can be the representation of one culture for consumption by another.” In the Victoria’s Secret world, the fashion designers, marketers, and owners of the company have decided to represent the company with “exotic” looking women. The facial features of a woman that are considered “exotic” are what appeals consumers to the company. The online dictionary states, “Exotic is an adjective which means being, from, or having the characteristics of another place or part of the world that are different from what a given person lives in.” Exotic women could be considered alien-like because they are unusual, extraordinary, striking, unique, and bizarre. To be specific, we are looking at what catches the eye and which facial features are attracting to the human eye. The truth is that beauty is (most of the time) purely a matter of symmetry and proportion. According to an article published on May 8th by the Daily Science article, Human faces are an important source of social information for attractiveness, symmetry, and “sexual dimorphism” which is the difference in morphology between the male and female members of the same species. It includes differences in size coloration, body structure between the sexes, and how masculine or feminine one’s face is. Sexual dimorphism comes into play when the sexes try to attract one another and what they naturally are sexually attracted to. What traits make a face look attractive? An idea is that both traits are attention grabbing to genetic quality or some other aspect like fertility in women. The “hourglass” curved shape of a woman gives a man the idea that she is fertile which is attractive and creates sexual arousal. Another perspective or idea is that these preferences arise through visual experience as one is born. Women and men are born to be taught what they are supposed to think is attractive in one another. They do not exactly link to biological factors. In a study published on May 7th, a man named Anthony Little showed that the measurements of symmetry and sexual dimorphism from faces are related in humans, both in Europeans and African hunter gatherers. The findings from the...
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