Beauty, monsters and the desirable

Over the past 5 weeks we’ve been learning about what makes something beautiful and what makes something monstrous. It’s actually been really interesting unpicking the attributes that are associated with both and I feel I’ve learnt a lot and will not at things the same way from now.

Something that I thought was most interesting was how beauty products are described as creating ‘Natural’ beauty but when you think about it how is the product creating natural beauty when putting something on yourself isn’t natural at all. These types of adverts also all seem to emphasise the fact that things have to shine and be smooth. For example hair products always go on about how much it’s going to reveal your hairs natural shine and face products are always shown to create a smooth blemish free face.

Overall I’ve learnt that our idea of beauty is very fake and it seems even natural looks have somehow been altered to fit into what is socially accepted as being beautiful.

The flip side Frankenstein's_monster_(Boris_Karloff)of this is the monstrous look which is basically created using the exact opposite of the attributes that create beauty. A large emphasis of what makes something monstrous is placed upon the inorganic body and focuses on the materiality of the body, the textures of the body and the liminality of our bodies.

When you look at any monster from a horror movie they always play on the outer bodies coming out so for example Frankenstein’s monster is bolted together, zombies have flesh and guts on display and numerous monsters bodies leak. As a roundup the inside becomes the outside, things that shouldn’t be on display are put to the front so we canny escape it. It is these concepts that make the monster a monster and make us feel distressed and unnerved by its looks and its presence.

We also looked at fetishism and why we finds things sexy and desirable. One of the things I found most interesting that I never really realised before was how a lot of what we find sexy requires undressing or undoing. For example a strip tease is only found sexy when the woman has her clothes left on, even though some fabrics might be see-through it is the fact that we still have to undress the woman to reveal her fully that we find sexy. Zips, and knots are used a lot in fetish clothing because they prolong the time it takes to get undressed and silky materials are used because they feel nice on the skin. I found this really interesting and it’s that I now recognise.

The constellation subject was quite different to what I had first imagined but I found it very interested and I’m glad I chose it. If someone told me we would spend an hour talking about women’s hair then I may have thought twice about picking it but it’s actually been really interesting and I’ve learnt a lot about why we find certain things beauty and others monstrous.

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