Archive for September 6th, 2007

Beauty is as beauty…

Thursday, September 6, 2007

We live at a time when every part of the body can be redesigned, and we’ve reached a tipping point in our efforts to recreate who we are by recreating how we look. What then is the measure of beauty when we’re designing it?Every culture has parameters for what is considered beautiful. Indian women don saris and bindi; the African Zoë tribe inserts wood planks through their lips when reaching adolescence. Americans make their breasts bigger, their noses smaller, their nails colorful, and their hair blonde. Why do we do this? For social confidence? Peer approval? A sense of belonging?

What we consider “aesthetically enviable” seems to change in milliseconds. Last week, we watched a Miss Teen USA contestant embarrass the nation by decimating a question about geography. Perhaps it is time to redesign the criteria it takes to win beauty contests. Perhaps the revisions should include every type of beauty: the conventional, the unconventional, the hidden, the incongruous, the subjective.

– part of a ‘brief message‘ by Debbie Millman; worth visiting the original message for its accompanying graphic. Her message is published at the recently launched blog, A Brief Message, which aims to write articles about design in 200 words or less.