History has always glorified women.*
*(On its own terms and conditions which apply.)
From expecting a fair complexion to a perfectly chiselled nose bridge; from an aesthetically symmetrical face to luscious eyes, women’s standards have been defined from time to time and they’re expected to adhere to the same. But, what happens when the standards are not high, but blandly weird? Let’s take a world tour down the history and recall some of the scariest beauty standards and practices which we should be glad don’t exist.
- Poisonous Snow White Skin
Do you remember Sharon’s marble hard face from the sensational movie ‘Catwoman’? Of course, you might! Well, the bad news is that as much as it is scary to watch a woman get driven insane by the need to appear ‘fair’ in a movie, it surely wasn’t fictional back in the 18th century!
Elizabethan ideas of beauty were a far cry from the glowing brown exterior that many of us covet these days. Many women used to coat a thick layer of white paste on their face, which was (I don’t know why!) considered a sign of wealth and rich background. Dark complexion was a sign of labour because it was assumed that those who are rich can never get a tanned skin tone. (Hmm… I wonder what happened to the women now?)It seemed all fair and fine until they realised that the makeup caked on their faces contained high levels of poisonous lead, which if applied for a long duration can cause facial tremors, facial muscle paralysis and extreme hair loss. That is some price for a fair skin!
We all are familiar with Lady Gaga’s peculiar sense of fashion accessories that she is often seen wearing, particularly, footwear. From heels made to look like human skin to heels without a platform, footwear has come a long way.
But if I may, with all the due respect of those who find it hard to wear these ugly heels, I have a good news for you.
You might find 7 inches high heel hurtful, but it is nothing in comparison to what the Venetians used to do. To avoid smothering their expensive and flowing dresses through the muddy streets, they called for the help of chopines, (Wait for it!) wooden platform boots! Soon enough, customization was introduced for personal preferences and chopines became absurdly high up to 24 – inches high!I topple over half an inch heel, I wonder if those who stumbled over the 24 inched footwear ever got their legs back. I’m glad I was born later because back then, the song when your legs don’t work the way they used to before..” would not have been just a song!
- Corsets (or as we call it, ‘Something that Emma Watson refused to wear!’)
If you assume that Hillary’s meme in the restaurant suggesting water to her customer which has “no sugar, no carbs and is fat-free” was funny, well, you’re up for a good news, because the things just got weirder! The trend of having a perfect waist with supple and luscious curves have aways been placed in front of women like a welcome drink.
But what happens when you raise the bar really high? Well, they trip. Back in the days when bras were on the rise for modification, corsets were the new ‘in’ thing! These physically torturing corsets basically forced the body organs inwards in order to reduce the room for any empty space.As if the bone displacement wasn’t cringe-worthy enough, in order to achieve skinny physique, these women choked their own organs until they had the measurements they liked. I’m glad these clutches are off the list because… *coughs* ‘Waist Trainers’ *coughs*
- Hobble Skirts
I remember the first ever time I wore a saree. It was my high school farewell and I was extremely excited! the only problem was that when I started walking, I couldn’t take long steps because of the tight clothing! It almost felt like my legs were tied together!
But that is just one case, correct? Wrong! If we trace the skirts back to the early 1900s, these type of clothing were actually in fashion! The Parisian fashion designer Paul Poiret is often credited for the design of these extremely narrow skirts. the inspiration is often associated with the behaviour of Mrs Hart O. Berg!
She took the first aeroplane flight in October 1908 with Wilbur Wright, where she tied a rope around the bottom of her skirt to keep it from blowing up during the flight. Her act of protecting her dignity spread like wildfire and ended up becoming a lethal trend which caused a lot of casualties because of women falling down at places due to the tight design! I’ll take the saree back please, yes, thank you. No, no, I don’t want the hobble skirt. I love my life. Yes, thank you!
- Arsenic Green Dresses
Science student or not, we all know how poisonous Arsenic is for our body. Kermit the Frog has a famous song which says, “It’s not easy being green”.(Insert Pic 8)men in the 18th century. In 1775 Carl Scheele invented a new green pigment that was soon used widespread, even dyes for the dressed they wore. There was just one problem! The green pigment was not all so natural. It contained the Scheele green pigment which had the tendency of releasing the poison (Ar) on the skin which penetrated the layers and mimicked the oncogenes, causing slow cancer. Once the damage reached deep enough, the effect came to light, eventually leading to their demise. Please, ladies! That is a little too extreme choice for any ball!
Fashion is a statement. The style is what you wear! There is no use of losing yourself in order to become someone you think will be acceptable. If you need, sit and relax, take a day off, take a shower, take ten showers, run five miles, run as long as your lungs can, shout into the void, wear all black, wear all pink, do whatever your heart says. But, just don’t modify this one body which has to take you until the end…
Team India Fashion Blogger!
photo credit: long neck woman, MHS, Thailand