Descriptions of beauty are thrown at us everyday in various and opposing views. While many people stay with the belief that beauty is internal, society’s view of beauty is propelled at us from every angle. Just turn on the television, open a magazine, or surf the web and you will find yourself bombarded by the idea that being sexy and being beautiful are synonyms. Critics argue that this view of beauty is causing our women and even some men to alter their bodies in damaging ways. While I agree that the way today’s society views is damaging and unrealistic, but I also do not believe this is a new occurrence. Throughout history various societies have caused their subjects to do damaging and dangerous things all for the sake of what they called beauty. Beauty has become superficial and a term that is dangerous and used as a weapon to control the mindsets of others.
The word beauty is described in the dictionary as “the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit.” (Merriam-Webster 2012). So why throughout history has the human race associated beauty with physical appearance? The ancient Mayans went to vast lengths to change their physical appearances. Mayan mothers flattened their children’s heads with boards and hung objects in front of their newborn’s eyes to make the baby’s eyes crossed (Frater 2009) Both of these things were highly desirable forms of Mayan beauty but caused serious physical damage to the body. Corsets in the Victorian era were used to mold a women’s body into the curvaceous form they desired. The sacrifice they paid for this look were broken ribs, fainting spells, and in extreme cases, kidney problems from having a corset to tight. Today across the world people still become ensnared in the trap of societal beauty. The Padang women in Burma stretch their necks with long brass coils to attain
Cited: Merriam-Webster. (2012) Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/beauty?show=0&t=1354774384 J Frater. (2009, September 09). 10 facts about the Mayans. Retrieved from http://listverse.com/top-10-fascinating-facts-about-the-mayans/ Marky, C.N., & Markey, P.M. (2012). Emerging Adults’ responses to a media presentation of idealized female beauty: An examination of cosmetic surgery in reality television. Psychology Of Popular Media Culture,. 209-219 doi:10.1037/a0027869 Tao, Huai Sua. (2012, May 22). Long Neck Villages. Retrieved from http://www.ascensionatsea.net/Thailand/Thai_longnecks.htm