Gaunt [Adj.]


Skinny, angular and bony; emaciated; bleak, desolate.

‘Pilot, pivot, gaunt, but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand and grant.’
– Gerard Nolst Trenité, The Chaos

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The Chaos


Dearest creature in creation
Studying English pronunciation,
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse.

I will keep you, Susy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy;
Tear in eye, your dress you’ll tear;
Queer, fair seer, hear my prayer.

Pray, console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!
Just compare heart, hear and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word. Continue reading

Catharsis


‘Using his ideas about the fictional status of art, Aristotle made a particular study of the emotions aroused by tragic drama. This formed the basis for his theory of “catharsis”. Aristotle perceived how tragic drama draws on the audience’s feeling of pity and fear – it was common for Athenian spectators to weep openly at stage performances.

[Aristotle]
“These feelings are aroused particularly when the hero suffers a significant reversal of fortunes such as when Oedipus, in Sophocles’ drama Oedipus Rex, discovers that Jocasta, his wife, is in fact his mother. The tragedy is compounded by the fact that the messenger who reveals Oedipus’ true identity initially came to deliver joyous news.”

Catharsis is the feeling of sympathy aroused in the audience for Oedipus in this tragic moment of reversal. Aristotle argued that the fictional status of the play creates a sense of distance between the spectator and the tragic hero, and that because of this it is possible to enjoy tragedy and take aesthetic pleasure in it.’

– Kul-Want. C. (2012) Aesthetics London, United Kingdom: Icon Books p. 21-22

Ideal Female Bodies (iv)


Swinging Sixties (c. 1960s)

Women in the 1960s benefited from a liberation movement that saw more women in the workplace, gave them access to birth control pills, and gave rise to feminism. “Swinging London” had a profound influence throughout the western world during the 1960s, and it helped usher miniskirts and A-line shapes into fashion.

Supermodel Era (c. 1980s)

Jane Fonda created an aerobics fad in the 1980s, which made women want to be fit. Supermodels like Cindy Crawford typified the ideal body of the era: tall, slim, athletic, but still buxom. This era also saw an uptick in anorexia, which some experts thought might have been tied to the sudden emphasis on exercise.

“I’m no model lady. A model’s just an imitation of the real thing.” ― Mae West

Heroin Chic (c. 1990s)

After the materialism and overexertion of the 1980s, fashion swung the other way. Thin, withdrawn, and pale, Kate Moss typified the heroin chic look in the 1990s. Heroin use actually rose during this time, causing President Clinton to comment on the trend in 1997.

Postmodern Beauty (c. 2000s – Today)

Women in the 2000s have been bombarded with so many different requirements of attractiveness. Women should be skinny, but healthy; they should have large breasts and a large butt, but a flat stomach.

To achieve all this, women have increasingly been turning to plastic surgery. Studies have shown that butt augmentation procedures, patients under the age of 30, and patients citing selfies as a reason for plastic surgery have all increased in recent years.

See other: Ideal Female Body Types Throughout History

Ideal Female Bodies (ii)


Italian Renaissance (c. 1400 – 1700)

Renaissance Italy was an extremely Catholic, patriarchal society. Women were meant to embody virtue and were often separated from men both in public and at home. A woman’s value was linked to her relationship with men, whether it was God, her father, or her husband.

The quality of both a wife’s behaviour and looks were thought to reflect her husband’s status. Beauty in Renaissance Italy meant a rounded body, including full hips and large breasts. Pale skin, strawberry blonde hair, and high foreheads were all thought of as the height of physical beauty.

“Choose neither a woman nor linen by candlelight.” ― Italian Proverb

Victorian England (c. 1837 – 1901)

The Victorian era of England lasted the length of Queen Victoria’s reign. She was the most influential figure of the era, a young queen who became a young wife and mother. Domesticity, family, and motherhood were highly valued in Victorian society, because these values were embodied by Queen Victoria herself.

The style of the time reflected women’s motherly position in society. Women wore corsets to cinch their waists as tightly as possible, creating an hourglass figure. These corsets physically restrained women’s range of motion, flaunting their separation from physical labour. Women also wore their hair long as a symbol of femininity.

“She wore tight corsets to give her a teeny waist – I helped her lace them up – but they had the effect of causing her to faint. Mom called it the vapors and said it was a sign of her high breeding and delicate nature. I thought it was a sign that the corset made it hard to breathe.” ― Jeannette Walls, Half Broke Horses

See other: Ideal Female Body Types Throughout History

Ideal Female Bodies (i)


Ancient Egypt (c. 1292 – 1069 B.C.)

Women in ancient Egypt enjoyed many freedoms that would take thousands of years for women to enjoy again. Ancient Egyptian society was sex-positive, and premarital sex was entirely acceptable. Women could own property independently from their husbands, and could initiate divorce from their husbands without shame. Women could even inherit titles, even become Pharaoh.

Art from this era of ancient Egypt tells us that long, braided hair was an important aspect of female beauty. Braids framed a symmetrical face, and women wore thick black kohl around their eyes. Women are shown as slender, with high waists and slim shoulders.

“No one wants to see curvy women.” – Karl Lagerfeld

Ancient Greece (c. 500 – 300 B.C.)

Aristotle called the female form “a deformed male,” ancient Greece was pretty male-centric. The ancient Greeks were more focused on the ideal male physique than women’s, meaning that it was the men of this time period, rather than the women, who had to live up to high standards of physical perfection. This sounds good, except that this meant women were body-shamed for not looking like men.

Nudity was a common part of ancient Greek society, but sculptures and paintings of nude women were often covered. It is thought that the first important female nude sculpture in classical Greece was Aphrodite of Cnidus, who showed that beauty in ancient Greece meant plump and full-figured bodies.

“Girls are like country roads, the best ones have curves.” – internet meme

Han Dynasty (c. 206 B.C. – 220 A.D.)

Chinese society has been patriarchal since ancient times, which as a result minimized women’s roles and rights in society. During the Han Dynasty period of Chinese history, feminine beauty meant delicate, slim bodies with a radiating inner glow. Women were expected to have pale skin, long black hair, red lips, white teeth, and a graceful walk with small feet. Small feet were an aspect of Chinese beauty that would continue for hundreds of years.

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” – Oscar Wilde

See other: Ideal Female Body Types Throughout History