Rather than a stable set of features, physical
beauty is an ever-morphing construct. But female
beauty ideals tend nevertheless to have outlines.
These have been most visible throughout history in
the pictures drawn by those self-elected gods we call
artists. History provides us a record, and from it one
basic truth stands out: the ideals women are asked
to embody, regardless of culture or continent, have
been hammered out almost exclusively by men.
Consider, for instance, the ways that figure
shaping has altered over the centuries. Some 150
years ago, women in Europe began wearing bustles
beneath their dresses that greatly enlarged the
profile of their buttocks. More recently, the notion
of sculpting has been applied directly to the body. In
the 1960s, it took the form of dieting, which produced
the sort of extremely skinny figure we associate with
such models as Twiggy. Her thinness connoted
vitality, an escape from the matronhood idealized
by earlier generations, as well as an innocent,
insouciant sexuality that was not dissimilar to a
Roman-era depiction of the Three Graces.
Consumerism, of which diet fads are certainly
a part, has significantly expanded the range of
off-the-shelf options for bodily enhancement. In
the 1980s and ’90s, women frequently turned to
surgery – breast or buttocks augmentation, nose
jobs – and other non-surgical interventions such as
Botox and tanning.
It’s worth noting that if art holds a mirror up
to culture, it has with rare exception failed to reflect
a manifestation of female beauty of the last decade:
the high-performance, muscled athlete. Popular
magazines like ESPN The Magazine’s “Body Issue”
have made gestures in this direction, by putting
women like Serena Williams on the cover. But, in
large part, art seems not to have taken account
of the fact that the athlete has become a figure of
everyday life, not just a pro.
KUNITZ, Daniel. Disponível em: <www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-how-art-hasshaped-female-beauty-ideals-history>. Acesso em: nov. 2018. Adaptado.