Tuesday, September 7, 2010

minorandom #7: beauty.

Whew. So it's september already. A few months have passed since the last entry huh?

Again, I am not dead. Neither has there been no inspiration to write. On the contrary, there have been many many insights in this little brain of mine.

It all comes down to the commitmo-phobe I am deep down somewhere in the recesses of my soul *or brain*. A blog is harder to commit to than I thought *big sigh*

However, the 4th monday of the term seem to have sparked the want to write again, however fleeting haha.

My saviour came in the form of women. Well, figuratively speaking. They were the image of beauty for *I might be wrong, I am no expert* Paleolithic European men. Their most prominent features are the phenomenal size of their breasts, bum, stomach, hips and *wait for it*the vulva. You read it right. Exaggerated vulva.

A symbol of fertility? Most probably.

They came from all across Eastern Europe to the Eurasian parts of the world. They usually do not have facial features nor arms. But they were carried everywhere by the then nomadic hunter-gatherers. Maybe even worshipped.

So who are these women I am raving on about?

Why, they are the Venus figurines. Probably the image of an "ideal women" for the society at the time.
How do they look like? Well here's a picture of one of the most famous figurines in the collection:
The Venus of Willendorf. Hardly an ideal in most of today's cultures, huh?

So we were shown a documentary in class which first took a neurological/evolutionary perspective to the development of "art" across the ages, particularly that of human representations, from the Paleolithic age to that of the magnificent ancient Greeks'. The Venus can be seen as one of the earliest evidence of how unrealistic an image people can have of beauty. I mean c'mon... Who in the world can actually look like the Venus of Willendorf?

Fast forward a few thousand years and we go to the most memorable part of the documentary *to me* which shows the stupendous artistry of the ancient Greeks. Their version of distorted beauty: the Riace bronze.

If there were men who had that body, oh my...

However, as pleasing to the eyes they might be, the proportions are just impossible to be imitated by any human man, however athletic.

Personally, I am just in AWE of the ancient Greek artists' sculpting skills. All those thousand of years ago, and such perfection was achieved. It is no wonder to me that the age of Renaissance was modelled after that of the ancient Greek Civilisation. More power to them. Studying ancient Greek history would be heaven. Such intriguing people.

Well this is all well and interesting but how does it related to my post exactly? Well recently I've found that my view of physical beauty is also warped to a certain extent. I've been obsessing over her for the past week:
Daul Kim.

She was a model. A pretty good one. But what's so good about her? Platinum blonde hair and skinny. Hardly realistic *well more so for some than others*. Not many Asians come with blonde hair, if any. Yet I find her inexplicably beautiful. An image of beauty further reinforced by the media and the society at large. I know this, but I'm probably too brainwashed already that I find her the embodiment of feminity, however warped.

Well after getting to know about her, I found out more and the gist is that:

She committed suicide at the age of 20, which was November last year. I preceded to read her blog, and found that she last blogged the day before she was found dead. Judging from her previous blog entries, I'd say she was a pretty interesting woman =)

I find her death tragic though. I hope she's more happy wherever she is *rest in peace*. Her blog:

Okay enough sidetracking. The bottomline for this post is that beauty is subjective, and when we create an image of perfection, it's probably good to remember that it might not be the most realistic =)

So the conclusion from a neurological view?

Well, in the end it all comes down to "the reality is... humans don't like reality." (Spievy, n.d.)

The documentary name is "How Art Made the World", if anyone's interested. Interesting stuff. Educational too.

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