Venus of Willendorf: the Image of Beauty and Survival

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Venus of Willendorf: The Image of Beauty and Survival The Venus of Willendorf illustrates the characteristics of a woman in a utopian society because her figure demonstrates a society in which there is a stable food supply, and her most feminine features, breasts, hips and buttocks, are accentuated as a symbol of beauty and survival. According to PBS, “It was discovered on the banks of the Danube River, in Austria, and it was most likely made by hunter-gatherers who lived in the area.” During ancient times, food was scarce. People would eat whatever food they could get their hands on. When there was food available, dopamine, which is a neurochemical that plays a mojor role in reward driven learning, motivated the people to eat as much as they could. Dopamine triggers the chemical DeltaFosB. This chemical is also known as the binge chemical, “A ‘binge mechanism’ is an evolutionary advantage in situations where survival is furthered by overriding normal satiety. Think of wolves, which need to stow away up to twenty pounds of a single kill at one go. Or our ancestors, who needed to store high-quality calories as a few extra pounds for easy transport to survive hard times. Or mating season, when there 's a harem to impregnate. In the past, such opportunities were rare and passed quickly” (Yourbrainonporn.com). The Venus of Willendorf is a depiction of how human nature takes control of the brain in the presence of a food surplus. The Venus of Willendorf is a symbol of vitality, for she would survive during famine. Additionally, the artist who created the Venus of Willendorf was influenced by environment in which he or she lived in. “The people who made this statue lived in a harsh ice-age environment where features of fatness and fertility would have been highly desirable. In neurological terms, these features amounted to hyper-normal stimuli that activate neuron responses in the brain. So in Paleolithic people terms, the parts that mattered most had to do with


Cited: Kettlewell, James. "Rethinking Classic Themes in Art History." James Kettlewell:The Venus of Willendorf. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2012. . Wilson, Gary. "Start Here for an Overview of Key Concepts." Your Brain On Porn. N.p., 12 May 2012. Web. 24 Sept. 2012. . Simmons, Ann M. "Where Fat Is a Mark of Beauty." Editorial. Los Angeles Times 23 Sept. 1998: 1-2. PROFESSOR SCHUTZER 'S WEB PAGE. Pierce College. Web. 23 Sept. 2012. . Duvall, Susan. "Top 10 Countries Celebrating Female Obesity." Top 10 Lists. N.p., 17 Nov. 2011. Web. 23 Sept. 2012. . "GDP per Capita (current US$)." Data. The World Bank, 2012. Web. 23 Sept. 2012. . Streib, Lauren. "World 's Fattest Countries." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 8 Feb. 2007. Web. 24 Sept. 2012. . "Venus of Willendorf: An Exaggerated Beauty." PBS. PBS, 2006. Web. 24 Sept. 2012. .

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