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The Female Form: 1900-2000 One Hundred Years of Dips and Curves

Face of the Year International Beauty Contest

The Stirring of Sleeping Beauty

Modern Standards of Beauty: Nature or Nurture

Pheromones: The Smell of Beauty

Different Place Different Beauty

Evolutionary Psychology

Beauty and the Menstrual Cycle

The Question of Beauty

Babyness and Sexual Attraction

Female Pheromones and Male Physiology

Face Values

Revolting Bodies: The Monster Beauty of Tattooed Women

Piercing and the Modern Primitive

We must stop glorifying physical beauty

Click Here to Get Gorgeous


When Was the Last Time You Looked Glamorous?

Facial Beauty and Fractal Geometry

The Impact of Family Structure and Social Change

The Reality of Appearance

Sexual Selection and the Biology of Beauty

Venus, From Fertility Goddess to Sales Promoter

Why We Fall in Love

The Science of Attraction

The Biology in the Beholder's Eye

The Science of Attraction by Rob Elder

Your Cave or Mine

All Ah We is One Family

Skin Texture and Female Facial Beauty


Pots of promise

        Medieval noblewomen swallowed arsenic and dabbed on bats' blood to improve their complexions; 18th century Americans prized the warm urine of young boys to erase their freckles; Victorian ladies removed their ribs to give themselves a wasp waist. The desire to be beautiful is as old as civilisation, as is the pain that i t Can cause.

The pain has not stopped the passion from creating a $160 billion-a-year global industry, encompassing make-up, skin and hair care, fragrances, cosmetic surgery, health clubs and diet pills. Americans spend more each year on beauty than they do on education. Such spending is not mere vanity. Being pretty ---or just not ugly -confers enormous genetic and social advantages. Attractive people (both men and women) are judged to be more intelligent and sexy; they earn more, and they are more likely to marry.


Beauty matters most, though for reproductive success. A study by an American scientist logged the mating preferences of more than 10,000 people across 37 cultures. It found that a woman's physical attracti veness came top or near top of every man's list. Nancy Etcoff ,a psychologist and author of "Survival of the Prettiest", argues that "good looks are a womans most fungibleS asset, exchangeable position, money, even love.

Beauty is somethIng that we recognise instinctively.A baby of three months will smile longer at a face judged by adults to be "attractive". Such beauty signals health and fertility: Long lustrous hair has always been a sign of good health; mascara makes eyes look bigger and younger; blusher and red lipstick mimic signs of sexual arousal. Whatever the culture,relatively light and flawless skin is seen as.a testament9 to both youth and health.


Then again, a curvy body, with big breasts.'and a waist-to-hip ratio of less than 0.8- Barbie’s is 0.54 - shows an ideal stage of readiness for conception.Plastic surgery to pad breasts or lift buttocks serves to make a woman look as though she was i n her late teens or early 20s."

Basic instinctl keeps the beauty industry powerful. In medieval time s , recipes for homemade cosmetics were kept in the kitchen light beside those used to feed the family. But it was not until the start of the 20th centuly, when mass production coincided with mass exposure to an idealised standard of beauty (through photography, magazines and movies) that the industry first took off.

In 1909, Eugene Schueller founded the French Harmless Hair Colouring Co., which later became L'Orea1's - today's industry leader . Two years later,Paul Beiersdorf, a Hamburg pharmacist', developed the first cream to bind oil and water . Today, it sells in 150 countries as Nivea, the biggest personal-care brand in the world.

But it was the great rivalry between two women in America that made the industry what it is today. Elizabeth Arden opened the first modem beauty salonl7 in 1910,fo11owed a few years later by Helena Rubinstein, a Polish immigrant. The two took cosmetics out of household pots and pans and into the modern era. Both thought beauty and health were interlinked. They combined facial s wi th diets and exercise classes in a holistic approach that the industry is now returning to.

The emerging beauty industry played on the fear of looking ugly as much as on the pleasure of looking beautiful, drawing on the new science of psychology to convince women that an inferiority complex could be cured by a dab of lipstick.On launching' her famous eight-hour cream, developed for her horses, Arden quipped: "I judge a woman and a horse by the same criteria: legs, head and rear end."
































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