We are all aware of how the media affects the standards of beauty. But long before the integration of technology in our lives, the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, and all the hashtagging for OOTDs, the appreciation for beauty is something that has been universal for everyone regardless of ethnicity, race, color, origin, or gender across the globe. It is an industry that has given rise for hairstylists, cosmetic surgeons, designers, models, and makeup artist not only here in the Philippines but all over the world.
The debate for beauty and the pursuit for it will always be an unending battle for those who are unsatisfied with the way they look. Though we can say that conforming to the current trend of beauty will give us a boost in our confidence, more often the path that leads to it gives those who seek it scars, marks, and dissatisfaction.
Volumes and volumes of world history will tell us stories on how beauty has played its role in shaping the course of history, much as it is shaping the current times. There were times when intelligence, political power, and lineage are the measure of beauty. Let’s take Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, Marie Antoinette, Princess Diana, and Queen Elizabeth I. These are women of history who arguably are some of the most powerful and are often referred to as beautiful. We may call them the beauty-trendsetters of their times. If you will compare the physical features of these women with one another, you will see the undeniable differences and yet they are all considered beautiful. This proves how diverse people’s standards for beauty are, always changing and shifting. And in any given time, people find ways on how to adapt to these standards by taking advantage of the available material in their surroundings.
We can go way back in the ancient times, and we will find various evidences on how appreciation for beauty plays a role in the world culture. In ancient Egypt, Kohl and henna are popular remedies for wrinkles. They also use mixtures of resin and beeswax to treat scars and burns. They pay high attention detail to their appearances that they even took beauty aid with them to their graves, believing that they need to look good even in the afterlife. Cosmetics during this time were also believed to have magical powers. Wearing green eye paint was thought to call on the protection of the goddess of beauty, Hathor. Persians also make good use of Kohl. It is applied to the edges of the eyelids to give a darkened effect, similar to modern day’s eyeliner. In Ancient China, staining your fingernails with a certain color would reflect your social class. Gold and Silver means they are royals. In Japan, Geishas use crushed petals of safflower as lipsticks and eyeliner.
These are some simple proofs on what people all over the world do to improve their appearances. This may appear as simple gestures like putting paint on their faces but it holds significant meanings that upholds a piece of history with it.