I got a comment on something I find interesting, so I’ll write a bit more about it.
Art is a barometer for society. It doesn’t always give any insights, but it does act as a time capsule for the artist. Society’s views of beauty and sexuality are written all over the great works of history. The smaller works, too. Here’s what I mean.
Raphael is one of my favorite artists from the Renaissance. His paintings depict figures of strength and compassion. His angels and Maddonnas are… chubby, though. Check it out. http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/raphael/
It’s a generational thing, though. This link has nudity, but it illustrates how pinups from three generations ago were much different from ours. http://vintagebeauties.com/vintage/pinups.htm
Now think about the most famous pinup from the 70’s. http://www.cybertown.com/ffposter.html
For people born after 1960, it’s hard to imagine a female ideal larger than Twiggy or Farrah. As time passes, we accentuate the ideal, until we reach the limits of what’s healthy. That’s why an 80’s supermodel was all bones. We’re getting better. Everyone touted Charlie’s Angels as a coming out party for Drew Barrymore as a chubby diva. Too bad she wasn’t chubby. At least supermodels are eating lunch again.
Perception has changed a lot over the years. It’s society’s perception, of course. The Gestalt of all the influences that bombard us everyday forms our sense of beauty. Who says which of those influences affect you? You do, of course. It’s just a chance of time that we were born into two consecutive generations that idealize overly skinny women.
The moral, I suppose, is that if you let Society tell you what’s beautiful, you will undoubtedly miss the greater part of what makes people beautiful.